Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar

Update Review, May 2017

By now you know that in October, I visited New York, where I experienced much that the Momofuku empire has to offer: dinner at Nishi (swoon, those butter noodles!) followed by soft serve and cake truffles at Milk Bar (seriously, the best sprinkles ever!).  We also each snag a cookie to take with us, for, uh, breakfast.  I've reviewed these cookies before, so, this is just an update.  
Blueberry & Cream Cookie. $2.25.
"Sugar cookie dough, bits of milk crumbs and morsels of dried blueberries transform into a cookie that tastes just like the top of a blueberry muffin!"

Yeah, oops, I took a bite first.  Sometimes even I forget to snap a photo before I dig in ...

In general, I do not like cookies.  Momofuku Milk Bar cookies however are an exception.  These things are so buttery, so sweet, so rich ... that they just aren't "cookies".  I had this in a hotel room, so I wasn't able to warm it up and make it slighly soft and gooey, but I can only imagine how much better it is that way.

So, the cookie.  Very sugary, buttery base.  The sweetness isn't *just* sweet though ... accented with brown sugar and white chocolate for a more complex experience.  The little bits of dried blueberry momentarily convince your brain that it is totally ok to eat one of these for breakfast, since, uh, its like a blueberry muffin?

I enjoyed my cookie (perhaps for breakfast) quite a bit, but I wished I had been able to warm it up, or crumble it on top of ice cream ...
Confetti Cookie. $2.25.
"Just like the milk bar b’day truffles and layer cake, this sugar cookie is full of birthday sprinkles, birthday crumbs and that familiar old fashioned vanilla flavor!"

The confetti cookie was the seasonal selection while we were in New York, and Ojan snatched it up for himself to try something new.

He may have beat me to it (ahem!), but at least he saved me a bite?  And a very, very good bite it was.

It may not sound like a very exciting cooking, particularly when compared with the other creative options, but I think it was actually my favorite.  A sweet, buttery, sugar cookie base.  Crunchy little sprinkles.  And then .... the birthday crumbs mixed in!  The crumbs were just fantastic and kicked it up a zillion notches.

I was pretty sad not to get more than a single bite though.

Original Review, November 2015

Many years ago, at least ... 6? 7?  I visited New York, and learned about Momofuku Milk Bar.  Being a dessert girl, I was drawn in by the creative offerings, including a pie that everyone raved about (crack pie), and soft serve ice cream made from the sweet milk left in the bottom of your cereal bowl (cereal milk).  These signature items from Momofuku Milk Bar are ridiculously well known at this point, but they were just becoming a rage at the time.

I don't recall exactly what we got on that visit, but I do remember both Ojan and I loving the cereal milk soft serve, and I was smitten by the cake truffles.  I didn't write a blog then, but I did rave about it to a friend over IM, saying, "Basically, everything I had a Momofuku Milk Bar was incredible.  If you are ever in New York, you definitely need to go!!!"

A few days later, we were at a party at a friend's house (still in New York), and someone brought Momofuku Milk Bar cookies.  I remember trying the blueberry and cream cookie and being blown away.  You may recall, I'm not really that big of a cookie person, but these were something else.

Flash forward a few years, to 2011.  Christina Tosi, the pastry chef, published a cook book, and went a book tour, stopping in SF.  I went to one of her talks, and found her to be really engaging.  She told so many stories about her work in the kitchen, how she crafted recipes, etc.  Her love of baking was infectious.  I really enjoyed her talk, per personality, and obviously, her treats.  She brought samples. 

The interesting thing is she didn't just bring finished products, she also brought "crumbs".  Crumbs are building blocks to many of her recipes, and the cookbook includes recipes for a number of types of crumbs.  You'll find the crumbs on top of, and in between layers of, her epic layer cakes.  You'll find them inside the cookies.  The cake truffles are rolled in them.

I started with the plain milk crumbs.  These are used for the "cream" element in the blueberry and cream cookies.  They were really tasty to just snack on, basically like buttery shortbread, with a milky, creamy taste.

I moved on to the cornflake crumbs.  These weren't as good to just eat on their own, but I see how they have their purpose in the cornflake cookies.

And finally, the birthday crumbs, like the milk crumbs, but, with rainbow sprinkles inside.  Ridiculously tasty just to nom on.

I was pretty hooked at this point.  And then I had the Crack Pie for the first time.  My world changed.  Seriously, stop what you are doing now, if you somehow haven't had Crack Pie, go get some.  If you are in New York/Washington DC/Toronto, go to Milk Bar.  If you are elsewhere in the US, order it online.  Pay the ridiculous overnight delivery fee.  It is worth it.  It is an earth shattering pie, aptly named.

Anyway, I don't claim to have discovered Milk Bar early, but, it was long before they shipped nationwide, before Christina Tosi was on Masterchef, and before you could buy the cookie mix at Williams-Sonoma.  I loved it then, I still love it now, so I dug up these notes to share with you.

Oh, and if anyone is interested in sending me a cake, I've never had any of Momofuku's Milk Bar's cakes, but the Birthday and Dulce de Leche Cakes look like the best versions ever of these classics.  (I'd settle for a Crack Pie or any of the cake truffles too).

Cookies

The cookie menu at Momofuku Milk Bar has not changed in years.  The selection of 5 I tried on my visit many years ago is exactly what is still offered today.  They came up with some winning recipes, and haven't messed with them.

As I've said in many other reviews, I'm not normally a big fan of cookies, but these are truly great cookies.  The soft, gooey textures, the amazing flavors, just set them apart from all other cookies.

They are pricey at $2.25 each at the shop, but they are large, and, some of the most unique flavors I've ever had.  You can also order online for delivery nationwide, and, the cookies do seem to freeze pretty well.  Williams-Sonoma also carried cookies mixes for some flavors, although they seem unavailable now.
Compost Cookie®.
"Packed with pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch and chocolate chips, this cookie strikes the perfect balance between salty & sweet."

The Compost Cookie® may be Milk Bar's most famous, or at least, the name sure is (so much so that they registered it).  Does it sound appealing?  Well, not if you stop reading at "compost".  But if you read on to "salty & sweet", then, yes!

The base is ridiculously buttery, ridiculously sweet, ridiculously gooey.  It is a thin, gigantic cookie.  That alone is great, but then it is loaded up with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coffee grounds, graham crumbs, pretzels, and chips.  Yes, all of that.

Unfortunately, I didn't detect any chips or pretzels in mine, which resulted in it being more of a sweet overload.  I needed the salty, I wanted the crunch.  It was still pretty tasty, but you need to be in the mood for serious amounts of butter and sugar to enjoy it.  Coffee grounds did add a nice bitter component.  My 3rd favorite overall, and one I'd eat again, but not as special as some of the others. 

I froze several of these, but they were not as good post-freezing, as they lost their soft gooeyness.  In general, cookies freeze well, but this one I wouldn't recommend freezing.  The sugar and butter delicious flavor is still there, but the lovely softness is lost.
 Cornflake-Marshmallow-Chocolate-Chip Cookie.
"Our play on the classic chocolate chip cookie with crunchy cornflakes, gooey marshmallows & mini chocolate chips!"

There is a reason butter is the first ingredient listed for this one.

Another thin cookie, ridiculously buttery, ridiculously sweet, ridiculously gooey.  The base seems very similar to the Compost Cookie.

I liked it as a chocolate chip cookie, and I loved the addition of the marshmallow, it gave a really nice flavor and texture.  But, I hated the cornflake!  It was a super strange texture to have in the cookie, as it was kinda soggy, and flavor-wise it totally didn't work for me.  My least favorite of all the cookies.
Chocolate Chocolate Cookie.
"Chocolate cookie dough with cocoa powder, 55% chocolate, chocolate crumbs and a hint of salt- a cookie that’s dense and fudgy like a brownie and very, very chocolate-y!"

This was a thicker cookie, not thin like the first two, but still very soft and gooey.  I think the texture of the cookies is my favorite aspect of Milk Bar's cookies, and I'm sure it is due to the butter content.

This one, like the others, was very buttery.  Ir reminds me more of a brownie than a cookie. The  chocolate flavor was not very intense though, which surprised me given all the chocolate used, and the deep brown color.

I tried these a few more times, and always remarked on how the chocolate flavor just wasn't that strong.  They did freeze well, and were good, but just not amazing, and not really my thing.  4th pick of the 5, and not one I really wanted more of.
Corn Cookie.
"A milk bar cult favorite – the familiar flavors from cornbread transform into a sweet, buttery cookie!"

This was the thickest cookie, not nearly as soft, more crunchy.  In fact, not gooey at all.  It tasted like ... cornbread or a corn muffin.  Except a cookie.  And very buttery cornbread at that.

It was not very sweet.  It had a smaller diameter than others due to the thickness, but was still a massive cookie overall, and weighed a ton.  It was really strange to have cornbread as a cookie, but it was very flavorful.

It took a while, but this cookie totally grew on me.  Think of all the goodness of buttery corn bread or a corn muffin, but ... as a cookie.  Strange, but it totally works.  My second favorite, and I'd gladly eat more of these.  The thicker style, and less gooey, made it more amenable for freezing too.
Blueberry & Cream Cookie™
"A cookie that tastes like the top of a blueberry muffin- we take our sugar cookie dough, add bits of milk crumbs & morsel of dried blueberries!"

Speaking of muffins, the Blueberry & Cream Cookie™, like the corn cookie, is also muffin inspired.

This one was thicker than the Compost and Cornflake cookies, but thinner than the Double Chocolate and Corn, somewhere right in the middle.  Same with the texture, not as gooey as the thin ones, not as crisp as the thicker ones.

It had little dried blueberries and the signature milk crumbs throughout, as various size chunks.  I loved the chunks of milk crumb, and the intense pops of blueberry flavor.

This was like a blueberry pie or blueberry muffin ... but as a cookie.  Just like the corn cookie, it isn't how you traditionally expect to taste these flavors, but, it works.  Why NOT turn delicious things into cookies?

I loved this one, my favorite overall.  It was not as sweet or gooey as the Compost or Cornflake, but that just made it possible to eat more of it, and it was still plenty sweet and gooey.

But, like the other softer styles, it was not as good after freezing, as it lost some soft goeyness.
Momofuku Milk Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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