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Milk Bar Blueberry-and-Cream Cookies

by on January 11, 2010 · 20 comments

Last summer we went to New York where I made a special trip to Milk Bar to try some of their famous cookies. Out of the three I bought — Compost, Peanut butter and Cornflake Cookies, my favorite was the Compost Cookie which by now you probably know includes potato chips, pretzels and coffee grounds. Mmmmm, coffee grounds. It was then that I decided Christina Tosi, the pastry chef at Milk Bar, was a genius.

Blueberries-and-Cream Cookie

Blueberries-and-Cream Cookie

When I got back to Austin, I tried to clone the cookie. The clone was tasty, but not as special as Milk Bar’s. Rather than obsess over cloning a bakery cookie (a problem that always results in wasted money and stomach upset) I resigned myself to the idea that Milk Bar’s C. Tosi had special ovens, different ingredients, and no doubt a few tricks she’d developed and/or learned from Wylie Dufresne and David Chang. I could monkey around with the recipe for weeks and probably never get it right, so I put the cookie out of my mind and moved on.

So I’d forgotten about Milk Bar, then this weekend I got an email from a reader telling me to watch this old video of Milk Bar’s pastry chef making Blueberry-and- Cream Cookies (Martha’s favorite) on the Martha Stewart Show. The recipe had a lot of comments, but reviews were mixed. Some people thought it was too complicated, others complained about the 2 teaspoons of salt (I’m pretty sure they were using very coarse, large Diamond crystal salt) and most people used something other than glucose for the glucose – one of the secret ingredients in the Blueberry Cookie that the Christina Tosi said gave the cookie an interesting mouth feel.

Watching the video and looking at this recipe was an inspiration. It’s really fun to learn about baking techniques that go beyond creaming the butter and sugar and it was generous of Milk Bar share the recipe on Martha Stewart’s website. To show my appreciation, I decided to round up the ingredients (glucose, milk powder, dried blueberries) and make the cookies myself.

They’re different alright. The cookie itself has a milky white chocolate flavor and a creamy but firm center and a crunchy edge. It’s on the sweet side, but I think that might have to do with the dried blueberries I bought which were sweetened and just not very good. The overall texture was fascinating.

Overall it was a fun experiment and I would love to hear about other home bakers’ experience with this recipe. If I had more time and didn’t need to keep the kitchen tidy (we’re in transition), I’d probably get creative with ingredients and play around more. At least I now have some glucose to mess with.

By the way, I found the glucose in the cake decorating aisle at Michael’s craft store. It’s a popular ingredient in the UK where I believe it’s derived from honey, but the kind I bought (Wilton) was derived from corn (of course) and VERY sticky, and much thicker than corn syrup.

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Published on January 11, 2010

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily January 11, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I saw those cookies at Milk Bar and didn’t try them! I’m so disappointed in myself. These look great. I’m watching the video right now. What does glucose do to a cookie? I’m curious. Maybe she’ll explain in the video.

Emily January 11, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Ah, chewiness.

Anna January 11, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Emily, it did make them chewy but they also seemed really stiff and more candy-like in the center. I’m not sure what the milk crunch did besides add flavor and it really didn’t dissolve into the dough that much. The little speckles are the milk crunch. But I liked what the glucose did to the dough. I might try using it in place of corn syrup somewhere. Glucose is also supposed to help the cookies stay fresh.

Ari January 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Just my opinion; the words “compost” and “glucose” do not belong in a cookie recipe!

Cheryl January 11, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Look great, but those compost cookies sound amazing!

Anna January 11, 2010 at 8:44 pm

LOL. Ari, that was pretty much the consensus on the Martha Stewart site.

gloria January 12, 2010 at 9:52 am

Just the name of these cookies makes my mouth water!

Barbara January 12, 2010 at 11:24 am

Sorry you can’t get the compost cookies right- they sound wonderful.
I haven’t made the Blueberry and Cream cookies, but I will! They look lovely.

Jennifer January 12, 2010 at 11:29 am

I read the comments (at M. Stewart’s site) about the blueberry and cream cookies. Maybe I am just picky, but I hate it when people leave comments that HAVEN’T made (or even tasted) the recipe. That recipe seems to have a lot of comments about how the recipe looks like “a lot of work.” How is that a helpful comment? I think it’s one thing if someone MAKES the recipe and says it wasn’t worth the work, that I can totally get, but to diss a recipe based upon conjecture is just wrong.

Katrina January 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I was just going to stop and say they look great and how fun for you to find all those ingredients and make them. That’s all I was going to say, but now after reading Jennifer’s comment, I’m not going to say it. ;)

Sue January 12, 2010 at 2:50 pm

This makes me think that you were closer to the compost cookie than you thought. It looks like they do make ingredients to put in the cookies. I vaguely recall you being a little discouraged about having to make stuff to put in them.

Jennifer January 13, 2010 at 8:52 am

Katrina,
Oh, I don’t mean comments here! I just mean the comments on recipe sites. On blogs there’s way more lee-way, but when I look at the comments at allrecipes, or recipezaar, or Martha Stewart’s website (where it’s just a recipe and not a story about a recipe, if you know what I mean…) it’s just frustrating when the commenters rate a recipe poorly that they haven’t made.
Jennifer

Anna January 13, 2010 at 9:04 am

Jen, I know exactly what you mean and it’s a pet peeve of mine too. That is, when people go on a recipe review site that uses star ratings and give 5 stars to something before they make it. “Oh, that looks great!” is fine and I love reading comments. But saying “Oh, that looks great” and then rating it 5 stars when you haven’t actually tried it is really annoying for people who use stars as a measure of how well a recipe worked. Anyway, Katrina’s just joking with you ;).

Katrina January 13, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Jennifer, yep, it was a joke that I knew Anna would get because I knew she feels that way. Anna is one of my favorite people to tease.
Oh, hi, Anna. ;)

And for the record, I TOTALLY agree with both of you!

Katrina January 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Oh and hey, Jennifer, I just looked up your blog and didn’t know it was you. What happened to you? You used to do TWD! And you haven’t blogged for a good months! Hello? I loved your blog and hearing about your GREAT kids and such.

Jennifer January 13, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Katrina and Anna,
Sorry, I was worried that I offended Katrina and didn’t want to make her feel bad!
I did blog for quite a while and mean to get back to it. I’ve just been swamped; I went back to school this last fall and feel like that takes all my brain power.
Jennifer

Lana January 14, 2010 at 11:41 am

I finished baking these earlier this morning. I had to make these cookies because they certainly were different to put together. The cookies turned out looking very similiar to the picture, and that does not happen very often for me. They are crisp on the edges and chewy in the center and I was surprised how much you could taste the white chocolate. I will probably make these again since I did buy the glucose and white chocolate but because of the extra steps would probably only bake for special occasions. They were fun to make and taste great.

Anna January 14, 2010 at 11:49 am

Lana, thanks for trying the recipe and reporting back. Like you, I could really taste the white chocolate. It was one of the primary flavors. Just for fun, I used some of the glucose in a chocolate chip recipe. It had the same effect in the chocolate chip version. I haven’t posted it yet, though

kitty62 January 15, 2010 at 1:35 pm

For the record, my comment is based on the fact that i just finished making a batch of these cookies, lol ;-)
Just wasnt into racing around town looking for glucose, so I substituted the glucose with Karo syrup(light color) and used salted butter and omitted most of the added salt, other than that I followed the recipe to the ‘T’. I tried them just slightly cooled and then totally cooled. The cookie was crispy on the edges and chewy on the inside (middle). This is exactly the way I like a cookie to be. The taste was another story. I didnt hate them, liked them better totally cooled, just not sure how much I liked them. My boyfriend absolutely loved them! So now I am curious to try them with glucose, because i did like the cookie’s texture.

kitty62 January 17, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Day 2: These cookies were still crisp along the edges and chewy on the inside. I liked the flavor very much on the second day, still just not sure about the taste of the blueberries….think i will try dried cherries next time. Boyfriends still loves them. They are a good breakfast cookie with coffee ;-)

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