Momofuku Milk Bar Exam no. 16 {chocolate chip layer cake}

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This dessert is a long overdue post. A really fantastic, fun recipe that is apparently Christina Tosi's favorite cake in the Milk Bar cookbook. Hence, you can imagine how nervous I was to make it! Like a samurai assistant forging a sword for his master (except this sword is edible). Yet it turned out to be as great as I could have imagined. 

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As the name entails, the base of this recipe is a chocolate chip cake yet of course as with any Milk Bar recipe there's always a twist. This one includes a passion fruit curd, chocolate crumbs, and coffee frosting. It all comes together to create an incredibly unique cake. One that I am glad to have checked off my Milk Bar Exam list!

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To me, the most exotic part of this cake was the passion fruit curd. Which was easier to say than make, primarily due to the passion fruit purée. So the search for passion fruit purée turned into a field trip to Harlem where I finally found it at the third Latin grocery store. Passion fruit purée (or technically pulp) success! If you can find it at a grocery store, stock up because purchasing it on Amazon can get pre-tty pricey.

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I've gotten so used to making these Momofuku Milk Bar cakes so I don't find the assembly as daunting as I used to. But it still helps to be organized and do as much prep ahead of time as possible. Pretty much everything besides the coffee frosting can be made the day before. Here's a more step-by-step breakdown of the whole process:

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The final product is quite a show piece! Truly something to make for a birthday or because it's the Monday after Thanksgiving and you need a little Cyber Monday oomph. The flavor combination seems bizarre at first, even I was apprehensive. But I dare you to try this cake out and not like it. I found that it was even better a couple days afterwards, when all the components of the cake really get to meld together into one delicious treat!

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chocolate chip layer cake makes 1 (6-inch) layer cake; 5 to 6 inches tall; serves 6 to 8

  • 1 recipe Chocolate Chip Cake
  • ⅓ cup (60g) passion fruit puree
  • 1 recipe Passion Fruit Curd
  • ½ recipe Chocolate Crumb
  • 1 recipe Coffee Frosting
  • ¼ cup (40g) mini chocolate chips

special equipment

(1) Put a piece of parchment or a Silpat on the counter. Invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment or Silpat from the bottom of the cake. Use the cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. These are your top 2 cake layers. The remaining cake “scrap” will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake. - layer 1, the bottom - (2) Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a Silpat. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring. (3) Put the cake scraps inside the ring and use the back of your hand to temp the scraps together into a flat even layer. (4) Dunk a pastry brush in the passion fruit puree and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the puree. (5) Use the back of a spoon to spread half of the passion fruit curd in an even layer over the cake. (6) Sprinkle half of the chocolate crumbs evenly over the passion fruit curd. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place. (7) Use the back of a spoon to spread one-third of the coffee frosting as evenly as possible over the chocolate crumbs. - layer 2, the middle - (8) With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall—high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Set a cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process for layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top). - layer 3, the top - (9) Nestle the remaining cake round into the frosting. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Give it volume and swirls, or do as we do and opt for a perfectly flat top. Garnish the frosting with the mini chocolate chips. (10) Transfer the sheet pan to the freeze and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. (11) At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the acetate, and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. Let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (wrapped well in plastic, it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days). (12) Slice the cake into wedges and serve. .

Chocolate Chip Cake makes 1 quarter sheet pan cake

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 115g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (60g) light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup (110g) buttermilk
  • ½ cup (75g) grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups (185g) cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) kosher salt
  • Pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)
  • ¾ cup (150g) mini chocolate chips 

(1) Heat the oven to 350°F. (2) Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high again for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more. (3) On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. Don’t rush the process. You’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for the liquid. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. (4) On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. If you see any lumps of cake flour in there while you’re scraping, mix for another 45 seconds. (5) Pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a Silpat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Give the bottom of your sheet pan a tamp on the counter tip to even out the layer. Sprinkles the chocolate chips evenly over the cake batter. (6) Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 30 minutes, gently poke the edges of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests. (7) Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.  

Passion Fruit Curd makes about 360g (1½ cups)

  • ½ cup (100g) passion fruit puree
  • ⅓ cup (65g) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 gelatin sheet [used ½ teaspoon powdered gelatin]
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks, 170g) butter, very cold
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt

(1) Put the passion fruit puree and sugar in a blender and blend until the sugar granules have dissolved. Add the eggs and blend on low until you have a bright-orange-yellow mixture. Transfer the contents of the blender to a medium pot or saucepan. Clean the blender canister. (2) Bloom the gelatin. (3) Heat the passion fruit mixture over low heat, whisking regularly. As it heats up, it will begin to thicken; keep a close eye on it. Once it boils, remove it from the stove and transfer it to the blender. Add the bloomed gelatin, butter, and salt and blend until the mixture is thick, shiny, and super-smooth. (4) Transfer the mixture to a heatproof container, and put in the fridge until the curd has cooled completely, at least 30 minutes. The curd can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; do not freeze.  

Chocolate Crumb makes about 350g (2½ cups)

  • ⅔ cup (105g) flour
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) cornstarch
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar
  • ⅔ cup (65g) cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter, melted 

(1) Heat the oven to 300°F. (2) Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until mixed. (3) Add the butter and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters. (4) Spread the clusters on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool. (5) Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. Stored in an airtight container, they will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.  

Coffee Frosting makes about 200g (1 cup)

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 115g) butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (40g) confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup (55g) milk
  • ¾ teaspoon (1.5g) instant coffee powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1g) kosher salt

(1) Combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow. (2) Meanwhile, make a quick coffee milk: whisk together the milk, instant coffee, and salt in a small bowl. (3) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. On low speed, gradually stream in the coffee milk. You are essentially forcing liquid into fat, so be patient. The butter mixture will clump up and separate upon contact with the coffee milk. Do not stream more coffee milk into the butter mixture until the previous addition is fully incorporated; keep the mixer on and remain patient. The result will be a wildly fluffy coffee frosting, pale brown and super-shiny. Use immediately.

momofuku milk bar exam no. 14 {compost cookies}

compostcookie Of all the Momofuku Milk Bar cookies, this one is the most daring. If you love desserts that have a salty-sweet combination then this one is FOR YOU.

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This cookie has EVERYTHING. potato chips... chocolate chips... pretzels... those chips that happen when butter and scotch have a baby...

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Now, I love salted caramel and have been dipping my Ruffles chips in Häagen-Dazs since I was four but even I was a bit scared with how they would turn out. Not because of the components themselves, but because when I had this cookie from the actual Milk Bar store, I found it a bit underwhelming. The ingredients list on the label said there were potato chips (my favorite!) and graham crackers (another favorite!) yet I couldn't taste any of these in the cookie. It was a bit disappointing but I still ate it... kinda like when you realize the Real Housewives episode you're watching is a rerun but you watch it anyway because it's still pretty entertaining.

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So after I finished making these, I taste tested one of my cookies and realized, this is no rerun, this is the deluxe season set with director's commentary! That analogy doesn't really make any sense but essentially I'm trying to tell you that they are pure salty-sweet decadence. And you should make them as soon as humanly possible (after you finish that episode you're watching of course).

The key to this dough is to not overmix the batter, otherwise the individual pieces of salty snacks become crushed in the buttery cookie dough and lose their beauty. I think that since the Milk Bar mixes their batter in such large batches, the machinery overdoes the mixing (I'm sorry Milk Bar, I still love you!). To avoid this, I even saved a handful of pretzels and potato chips to press into the top of each cookie dough mound before baking. Even compost should be beautiful.

{love watching cookies bake}

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compost cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar makes 15 to 20 cookies

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks, 225g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup (150g) light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons (50g) glucose [can substitute with 1 tablespoon corn syrup]
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) vanilla extract
  • 1⅓ cups (225g) flour [King Arthur’s bread flour]
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.5g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (150g) mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup (100g) mini butterscotch chips [I used regular because I'm convinced mini do not exist]
  • ¼ recipe (85g, ½ cup) Graham Crust, recipe follows
  • ⅓ cup (40g) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2½ teaspoons (5g) ground coffee
  • 2 cups (50g) potato chips [Cape Cod recommended]
  • 1 cup (50g) mini pretzels [Snyder's recommended]

(1) Combine the butter, sugars, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes. (2) Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. (Do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you will risk overmixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. (3) Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham crust, oats, and coffee and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the potato chips and pretzels and paddle, still on low speed, until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix or break too many of the pretzels or potato chips. You deserve a pat on the back if one of your cookies bakes off with a whole pretzel standing up in the center. (4) Using a 2¾-ounce ice cream scoop (or a ⅓-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature—they will not bake properly. (5) Heat the oven to 375°F. [I always do 350°F] (6) Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes [13-15 minutes is plenty]. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if that’s not the case. (7) Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. At room temp, cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

Graham Crust makes about 340g (2 cups)

  • 1½ cups (190g) graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup (20g) milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick, 55g) butter, melted, or as needed
  • ¼ cup (55g) heavy cream [can be omitted]

(1) Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients. (2) Whisk the butter and heavy cream together. Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as a glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1½ tablespoons) butter and mix it in. (3) Eat immediately, or deploy as directed in a recipe. The crust is easiest to mold just after mixing. Stored in an airtight container, graham crust will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or for 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

momofuku milk bar no. 12 {confetti cookies}

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These confetti cookies are a cause for celebration... say for a wedding, birthday, graduation, or perhaps the BIRTH OF THE NEW PRINCE OF CAMBRIDGE!

I admit, I have been completely overcome with royal baby fever. I know I know, all babies are precious and unique and AHHH Kate Middleton just gave birth and looks beautiful! Her hair! Her wedges! Polka dots! Am I obsessed? No no... AHHH royal baby's first princely duties are a-DOR-able!

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All joking aside, these cookies are really perfect for any occasion. They're chewy, buttery sugar cookies dotted with colorful specks of sprinkles. Definitely perfect for adults and children (and babies) alike.

I actually made these to congratulate a coworker on his recent wedded bliss. Make them for someone in your life to let them know how precious and unique (and adorable) you think they are.

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confetti cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar makes 15 to 20 cookies

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks, 225g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ (300g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (50g) glucose
  • 2 [large] eggs
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) clear vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups (400g) flour [King Arthur's bread flour]
  • ⅔ cup (50g) milk powder
  • 2 teaspoons (9g) cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) baking soda
  • 1¼ teaspoons (5g) kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (40g) rainbow sprinkles
  • ½ recipe Birthday Cake Crumb

(1) Combine the butter, sugar, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes. (2) Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, milk powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and rainbow sprinkles. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minutes. (Do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you will risk overmixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. (3) Still on low speed, add the birthday cake crumbs and mix in for 30 seconds—just until they are incorporated. (4) Using a 2¾-ounce ice cream scoop (or a ⅓-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature—they will not bake properly. (5) Heat the oven to 350°F. (6) Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes (Mine were done at 13-14 minutes). The cookies puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very lightly browned on the edges (golden brown on the bottom). The centers will show just the beginning signs of color. Leave the cookies in the oven for an additional minute or so if the colors don’t match and the cookies still seem pale and doughy on the surface. (7) Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. At room temp, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freeze, they will keep for 1 month.

Birthday Cake Crumb makes for 275g (2¼ cups)

  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons (25g) light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • ¾ cup (90g) cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (20g) rainbow sprinkles
  • ¼ cup (40g) grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) clear vanilla extract

(1) Heat the oven to 300°F. (2) Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until well combined. (3) Add the oil and vanilla and paddle again to distribute. The wet ingredients will act as glue to help the dry ingredients form small clusters; continue paddling until that happens. (4) Spread the cluster on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch; they will dry and harden as they cool. (5) Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or scarfing by the handful. Stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

momofuku milk bar no. 11 {bagel bombs}

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Sometimes savory is better than sweet. And since it's been a bit of a sweets overload on this site, this was a great palette cleanser.

These bagel bombs are little pockets of dough filled with bacon-scallion cream cheese and sprinkled with an everything bagel mix of sesame, poppy seeds, onions, and garlic. I cannot express to you how delicious they are! You will want to harbor them all to yourself.

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{people of the world... SPICE UP YA LIFE!}

I made these on Sunday while watching Andy Murray take the Wimbledon final. Did I feel a little guilty making these treats of fatty doughy goodness while witnessing such physical feats of tennis... not once I bit into the first of my two bagel bombs.

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I was quite intimidated by this recipe at first-- yeast doughs seem to scream 'EXPERT level only'. There's usually specific water temperatures involved and double proofing to be done, yet this recipe was very straightforward. The dough has only four ingredients (one being water) and comes together in several minutes with the help of a stand mixer.

The cream cheese plugs were fun to make too. In the cookbook, Christina also suggests a veggie version with dill and cucumber which sounds amazing! I've search the blogosphere and others who have tackled this recipe have taken liberty with the filling too... next time I will add some fresh jalapenos to mine.

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Once all the parts are made, these come together in a snap. I would recommend baking them at a higher temperature than the cookbook states (350-375°F as opposed to 325°F) to get your bagel bombs a more golden brown hue.

Once they're out of the oven, make sure to eat them while they're still warm or heat them up a bit in the microwave before stuffin' yo face!

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bagel bombs from Momofuku Milk Bar makes 8 bombs

  • ½ recipe Mother Dough, proofed
  • 1 recipe Bacon, Scallion, Cream Cheese Plugs, frozen
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon (4g) water
  • 1 recipe Everything Bagel Mix

(1) Heat the oven to 325°F. (2) Punch down and flatten the dough on a smooth, dry countertop. Use a dough cutter to divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Use your fingers to gently stretch each piece of dough out into a mini pizza between 2 to 3 inches wide. (3) Put a cream cheese plug in the center of each dough circle. Bring up the edges of each round and pinch to seal so that the cream cheese plug is completely contained, then gently roll the ball between the palms of your hands to ensure the bomb has a nice, round, dinner roll-y shape. Arrange the bombs 4 inches apart on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet. (4) Whisk the egg and water together and brush a generous coat of egg wash on the buns. Sprinkle a heavy even coating of the bagel mix all over the bagel bombs—every possible inch, except for the bottoms, should be coated. (5) Bake the bagel bombs for 20 to 30 minutes [After 15 minutes, I raised the temperature to 375°F as they were on the paler side]. While in the oven, the bombs will become a deep golden brown and a few may have cream cheese explosions. Continue baking until you see this happen! Not to worry—serve them as is or use your fingers to tuck the cream cheese back inside the bagel bomb. Bagel bombs are best served warm out of the oven—or flashed in the oven later to warm and serve. If you can’t finish them all right away, once they are cool, wrap them well in plastic and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.  

Mother Dough makes about 850g (2 pounds)

  • 3½ cups (550g) flour [King Arthur bread flour]
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) kosher salt
  • ½ packet or 1⅛ teaspoons (3.5g) active dry yeast
  • 1¾ cups (370g) water, at room temperature
  • grapeseed oil

(1) Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer—do it by hand, using the dough hook like a spoon. Continue stirring by hand as you add the water, mixing for 1 minute, until the mixture has come together into a shaggy mass. (2) Engage the bowl and hook and have the machine mix the dough on the lowest speed for 3 minutes, or until the ball of dough is smoother and more cohesive. Then knead for 4 more minutes on the lowest speed. The dough should look like a wet ball and should bounce back softly when prodded. (3) Brush a large bowl with oil and dump the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough proof at room temperature for 45 minutes. (4) The dough is ready to be used as directed in the following recipes. If you do not plan to use your mother dough the day you make it, you can store it in an airtight container at least twice its size in the fridge for up to 3 days. Take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature 30 to 45 minutes before using.  

Bacon, Scallion, Cream Cheese Plugs makes enough for 1 recipe bagel bombs

  • 1¾ ounces (50g) bacon, the smokier the better [about 3 strips]
  • 7 ounces (200g) cream cheese [or just use the whole 8 ounce block, what am I going with 1 ounce of cream cheese?]
  • 2 g scallion greens, thinly sliced [2 scallions]
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt

(1) Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it’s auburn brown and crunchy. Remove it from the pan and chop it into small pieces; reserve it and, separately, the bacon fat in the pan. (2) Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream it on medium speed. Pour in the reserved bacon fat and paddle to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chopped bacon, scallions, sugar, and salt and paddle briefly to incorporate. (3) Scoop the cream cheese mixture onto a quarter sheet pan in 8 even lump. Freeze until rock hard, 1 to 3 hours. (4) Once the plugs are frozen solid, they are ready to be used, or they can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.  

Everything Bagel Mix

  • ¾ teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon (6g) white sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons (4g) black sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons (4g) poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon (4g) dried onions
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1g) garlic powder

Mix together the salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried onions, onion powder, and garlic powder in an airtight container. The mix keeps forever in the pantry, but it is best used within 6 months.

momofuku milk bar exam no. 8 {cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookies}

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I have to admit something... this is not my first time making these cookies. It's actually my third.

The first two times were 'test runs' aka I was craving them too badly to bother documenting them. They are that good. Some may say they're addictive, but I swear I can totally stop at ANY TIME... I just like to keep some extra cookie dough in my freezer for emergencies only I promise. If you find yourself baking a batch to share/blog, and then needing to do this another two, three times that's completely normal. And once I get off this sugar high next week, I will totally explain to you why.

{cornflake- chocolate chip- marshmallow}

These are probably unlike any cookie you've ever had before. Before Momofuku Milk Bar, my idea of a cookie fell into the typical chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or sugar cookie variety. Which I still love but they seem so simple now that I've tackled some of Tosi's recipes. In this cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookie, each component adds something utterly unique: the nuttiness/crunch of the cornflakes, the richness of the chocolate chips, and the gooeyness of the marshmallows. The cookies also have a nice salty-sweet balance which only adds to their habit-forming nature.

{still love my stand mixer, Dolly}

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Now, these aren't the prettiest looking cookies, but let's face it cookies aren't really the beauty queens of desserts. Yet what this no-frills cookie lacks in looks, it makes up for in the ability to envelop you in a cookie haze. The recipe does require a little extra work as opposed to your standard cookie dough but that obviously  has not deterred me from making it multiple times.  I think you'll find the extra effort worthwhile as well. Make sure to add a couple extra marshmallows to the tops of the cookie dough mounds before baking... trust me. Just, YES.

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cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar makes 15 to 20 cookies

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks, 225g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup (150g) light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups (240g) flour [King Arthur bread flour]
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.5g) baking soda
  • 1¼ teaspoons (5g) kosher salt
  • ¾ recipe (3 cups, 270g) Cornflake Crunch
  • ⅔ cup (125g) mini chocolate chips
  • 1¼ cups (65g) mini marshmallows

(1) Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes. (2) Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. (Do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you will risk overmixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. (3) Still on low speed, paddle in the cornflake crunch and mini chocolate chips just until they’re incorporated, no more than 30 to 45 seconds. Paddle in the mini marshmallows just until incorporated. (4) Using a 2¾-ounce ice cream scoop (or a ⅓-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature—they will not hold their shape. (5) Heat the oven to 375°F. [I found this too high, 350°F for mine] (6) Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes [Way too long; check at 12-13 minutes]. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. At the 18-minute mark, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown toward the center. Leave them in the oven for an additional minute or so if they aren’t and they still seem pale and doughy on the surface. (7) Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temperature, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

Cornflake Crunch

  • 5 cups (170g, ½ of a 12 ounce box) cornflakes
  • ½ cup (40g) milk powder
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) kosher salt
  • 9 tablespoons (130g) butter, melted

(1) Heat the oven to 275°F. (2) Put the cornflakes in a medium bowl and crush them with your hands to one-quarter of their original size. Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt and toss to mix. Add the butter and toss to coat. As you toss, the butter will act as glue, binding the dry ingredients to the cereal and creating small clusters. (3) Spread the clusters on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, at which point they should look toasted, smell buttery, and crunch gently when cooled slightly and chewed. (4) Cool the cornflake crunch completely before storing or using in a recipe. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the crunch will keep fresh for 1 week; in the fridge or freezer, it will keep for 1 month.

momofuku milk bar exam no. 7 {banana cream pie}

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Banana pudding, Bananas Foster, banana bread... Southerners really do have a knack for turning anything remotely healthy into a decadent treat. You could put this banana cream pie at the top of that list. I'm not sure if it's purely Southern, but it's pretty darn delicious.

This was my first attempt at making and eating banana cream pie. When it comes to pies, I generally stick to either pecan pie or ones with berries. Again, this cookbook is proving to be a godsend for my culinary ignorance. My tastebuds are forever indebted.

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A traditional banana cream pie usually has a buttery pie dough or a graham cracker crust but I really liked the chocolate crumb crust here. It was not too sweet and provided a deep flavor that went so perfectly with the bananas. Plus you get to give a little oh-it's-no-big-deal shrug when people ask... "you made the cookie crumbs for the crust too?"

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I had so much fun making this pie. While a Momofuku Milk Bar recipe, this banana cream pie reminded me of something a grandma would make, the BEST grandma ever... maybe it was also the whipped cream delirium.

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banana cream pie from Momofuku Milk Bar makes 1 (10-inch) pie; serves 8 to 10

  • 1 recipe Banana Cream
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Crust
  • 1 banana, just ripe, sliced

Pour half of the banana cream into the pie shell. Cover it with a layer of sliced bananas, then cover the bananas with the remaining banana cream. The pie should be stored in the fridge and eaten within a day of when you make it.

Note: Tosi keeps her decorations to a minimum but I figured she wouldn't mind if I took some creative license. As you can see, I topped mine with about ¼ cup of whipped cream, some more sliced bananas, and a sprinkling of the chocolate crumbs. You could also use chocolate shavings, brûléed bananas, let your Milk Bar imagination go bananas (I had to).

Banana Cream makes about 775g (3 cups)

  • about 2 (225g) rrrrrripe bananas (like completely black and disgusting-looking on the outside-- trust me. I found the easiest method is to let the bananas ripen on the counter, freeze them, and then let defrost in the fridge the day before you make the pie. They'll squeeze right out like toothpaste.)
  • ⅓ cup (75g) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (55g) milk
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 gelatin sheets [used 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin]
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) butter
  • ½ teaspoon (25 drops) yellow food coloring (10 drops were enough for me)
  • ¾ cup (160g) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (160g) confectioners’ sugar (reduced to ½ cup, which was plenty sweet!)

(1) Combine the bananas, cream, and milk in a blender and puree until totally smooth. (2) Add the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and yolks and continue to blend until homogenous. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan. Clean the blender canister. (3) Bloom the gelatin. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water. Let sit for about 10 minutes. (4) Whisk the contents of the pan and heat over medium-low heat. As the banana mixture heats up, it will thicken. Bring to a boil and then continue to whisk vigorously for 2 minutes to fully cook out the starch. The mixture will resemble thick glue, bordering on cement, with a color to match. (5) Dump the contents of the pan into the blender. Add the bloomed gelatin and the butter and blend until the mixture is smooth and even. Color the mixture with yellow food coloring until it is a bright cartoon-banana yellow. (It’s a ton of coloring, I know, but banana creams don’t get that brilliant yellow color on their own. Womp.) (6) Transfer the banana mixture to a heatsafe container, and put in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes—as long as it takes to cool completely. (7) Using a whisk or a mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar to medium-soft peaks. (When you pull the whisk away from the whipped cream, the mounds of cream hold their shape softly.) Add the cold banana mixture to the whipped cream and slowly whisk until evenly colored and homogenous. Stored in an airtight container, banana cream keeps fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge.

Chocolate Crust makes 1 (10-inch) pie crust

  • ¾ recipe (260g, 1¾ cups) Chocolate Crumb
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon (0.5g) kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) butter, melted, or as needed

(1) Pulse the chocolate crumbs in a food processor until they are sandy and no sizeable clusters remain. (2) Transfer the sand to a bowl and, with your hands, toss with the sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and knead it into the sand until it is moist enough to knead into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14g (1 tablespoon) butter and knead it in. (3) Transfer the mixture to a 10-inch pie tin. With your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the chocolate crust firmly into the tin, making sure the bottom and sides of the pie tin are evenly covered. Wrapped in plastic wrap, the crust can be stored at room temp for up to 5 days or in the fridge for 2 weeks. 

Chocolate Crumb makes about 350g (2½ cups)

  • ⅔ cup (105g) flour
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) cornstarch
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar
  • ⅔ cup (65g) cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter, melted

(1) Heat the oven to 300°F. (2) Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt n the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until mixed. (3) Add the butter and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters. (4) Spread the clusters on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool. (5) Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. Stored in an airtight container, they will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

momofuku milk bar exam: bonus points {birthday cake truffles}

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Waste not, want not.

That was the principle behind this recipe. Because, can I admit something to you... remember that delicious Apple Pie Layer Cake I made a couple weeks back? Well, I might have thrown away most of the leftover brown butter cake scraps from that-- and I've regretted it ever since! With any Momofuku Milk Bar cake, there's bound to be leftovers. But don't do what I did, the guilt is just too much to handle.

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Instead, when I found myself with leftovers from last week's Birthday Layer Cake, I decided to repurpose it Tosi-style. Hence the idea to transform all the remnants from the birthday layer cake into birthday cake truffles. It's almost worth making the entire cake just to make these truffles... actually it is most definitely worth it.

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While there's a recipe in the book for carrot cake truffles using the leftovers from the carrot layer cake, there's none for the birthday cake. No worries, I've actually tried the birthday cake truffles at Momofuku Milk Bar, so I figured I could piece together the recipe myself. And I have to say, I am quite proud of myself cause these little treats are delicious! It's all the ingredients of the birthday layer cake plus white chocolate-- of course they are!

The best part is, since you're just working with leftovers there's no baking involved. These took me less than 30 minutes to mix, roll, and coat. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Resist (from eating them all in one sitting).

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birthday cake truffles inspired by Momofuku Milk Bar makes about 15 cake truffles

 

  • scraps from Birthday Cake
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon rainbow sprinkles
  • 3 ounces white chocolate
  • about ¾ cup Birthday Crumbs, finely ground in a food processor

(1) Crumble the Birthday Cake scraps into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla extract, and sprinkles. Combine until moist enough to knead into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, add more milk one tablespoon at a time. (2) Using a tablespoon, portion out about 15 even balls, each half the size of a Ping-Pong ball. Roll each one between the palms of your hands to shape and smooth it into a round sphere.  (3) Put the ground birthday crumbs in a medium bowl. With latex gloves on, put 2 tablespoons of the white chocolate in the palm of your hand and roll each ball between your palms, coating it in a thin layer of melted chocolate; add more chocolate as needed. (4) Put 3 or 4 chocolate-covered balls at a time into the bowl of birthday crumbs. Immediately toss them with the crumbs to coat, before the chocolate shell sets and no longer acts as a glue (if this happens, just coat the ball in another thin layer of melted chocolate). (5) Refrigerate for at least 5 minutes to fully set the chocolate shells before eating or storing. In an airtight container, the truffles will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge.

momofuku milk bar exam no. 5 {birthday layer cake}

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The birthday cake is the most anticipated dessert. I mean, there's a whole ceremony dedicated to it. People light it on fire, they sing a song around it, they feel obligated to put all their hopes and dreams into one wish upon it. Plus it usually includes sprinkles!

This is the mother of all birthday cakes. Everytime I show this recipe to someone, they get so excited, almost giddy with childlike joy. And with good reason because the finished product is gorgeous-- a showstopping funfetti cake made from scratch.

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Now I really had to trust Tosi with this one, some of these ingredients had me a bit... apprehensive. When it comes to cooking and baking, I pride myself on using as natural of ingredients as possible. But Tosi swears that certain products are necessary for that 'boxed cake mix' taste. Hence the vegetable shortening and the clear imitation vanilla extract... they're necessary so I didn't skip them, I just went incognito when I bought them.

Oh, can we just pause for a minute to talk about this...

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My new KitchenAid stand mixer. Ain't she a beaut? My wonderful, gracious, beautiful, perfect mother surprised me by getting it for me. She's the best. My mom's pretty great too. I have to say I'm pretty obsessed with this new addition in my life and if you don't get why, then you just don't know love.

I've even decided to name her... which is where I could use your help. I can't pick a name so I'm asking you to vote for your favorite! It's the same as naming a baby, except this one churns out beautiful cakes, cookies, and bread instead of drool and spit-up.

[polldaddy poll=6978216]

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This birthday cake was made for an especially special birthday girl, Anne Larimer! Welcome to the 25 Club my friend.

I was lucky enough to get a slice of this cake before it got demolished, and ahh it's so good. It really is like a funfetti cake but made even better due to the crunchy texture from the birthday crumbs. These crumbs are becoming my favorite snack food.

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And make sure not to waste the leftovers from this recipe... repurpose them into birthday cake truffles!

birthday layer cake from Momofuku Milk Bar makes 1 (6-inch) layer cake; 5 to 6 inches tall; serves 6 to 8

  • 1 recipe Birthday Cake
  • 1 recipe Birthday Cake Soak
  • 1 recipe Birthday Cake Frosting
  • 1 recipe Birthday Cake Crumb

(1) Put a piece of parchment or a Silpat on the counter. Invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment or Silpat from the bottom of the cake. Use the cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. These are your top 2 cake layers. The remaining cake “scrap” will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake - layer 1, the bottom - (2) Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a Silpat. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring. (3) Put the cake scraps in the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer. (4) Dunk a pastry brush in the birthday cake soak and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the soak. (5) Use the back of a spoon to spread on-fifth of the frosting in an even layer over the cake. (6) Sprinkle one-third of the birthday crumbs evenly over the top of the frosting. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place. (7) Use the back of a spoon to spread a second fifth of the frosting as evenly as possible over the crumbs. - layer 2, the middle - (8) With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall—high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Set a cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process for layer 1 (if 1 of you 2 cake rounds in jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top). - layer 3, the top - (9) Nestle the remaining cake round into the frosting. Cover the top of the cake with the last fifth of the frosting. Give it volume and swirls, or do as we do and opt for a perfectly flat top. Garnish the frosting with the remaining birthday crumbs. (10) Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. (11) At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the acetate and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. Let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (wrapped well in plastic, it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. (12) Slice the cake into wedges and serve.

Birthday Cake makes 1 quarter sheet pan

  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick, 55g) butter, at room temperatue
  • ⅓ cup (60g) vegetable shortening
  • 1¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (50g) light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup (110g) buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup (65g) grapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) clear vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (245g) cake flour
  • 1½ teaspoons (6g) baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (50g) rainbow sprinkles
  • Pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) rainbow sprinkles

(1) Heat the oven to 350°F. (2) Combine the butter, shortening, and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more. (3) On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. Don’t rush the process. You’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for the liquid. There should be no streaks of fat of liquid. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. (4) On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and the 50g (¼ cup) rainbow sprinkles. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. (5) Pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a Silpat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining 25g (2 tablespoons) rainbow sprinkles evenly on top of the batter. (6) Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests. (7) Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

Birthday Cake Soak makes about 60g (¼ cup)

  • ¼ cup (55g) milk
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) clear vanilla extract

(1) Whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small bowl.

Birthday Cake Frosting makes about 430g (2 cups)

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 115g) butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (50g) vegetable shortening
  • 2 ounces (55g) cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon (25g) glucose
  • 1 tablespoon (18g) corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) clear vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups (200g) confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
  • pinch (0.25g) baking powder
  • pinch (0.25g) citric acid

(1) Combine the butter, shortening, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. (2) With the mixer on its lowest speed, stream in the glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla. Crank the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is silky smooth and a glossy white. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. (3) Add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid and mix on low speed just to incorporate them into the batter. Crank the speed back up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until you have a brilliant stark white, beautifully smooth frosting. It should look just like it came out of a plastic tub at the grocery store! Use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Birthday Cake Crumb makes for 275g (2¼ cups)

  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons (25g) light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • ¾ cup (90g) cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (20g) rainbow sprinkles
  • ¼ cup (40g) grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) clear vanilla extract

(1) Heat the oven to 300°F. (2) Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until well combined. (3) Add the oil and vanilla and paddle again to distribute. The wet ingredients will act as glue to help the dry ingredients form small clusters; continue paddling until that happens. (4) Spread the cluster on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch; they will dry and harden as they cool. (5) Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or scarfing by the handful. Stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

momofuku milk bar exam no. 4 {corn cookies}

corncookies_1 Corn is genetically modified. Corn is nutritionally empty. Corn is the devil's carb.

If you agree with any of these statements, stop reading and start making these cookies. You will change your ways, I promise. Because corn is delicious. Seriously guys, these cookies are THE BEST. If you like corn muffins or corn pudding, you will love these cookies. Add to the hitlist of Momofuku Milk Bar Exams thus far.

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The corniness in these cookies comes from corn powder and corn flour.  I got the corn flour at Whole Foods but the corn powder was a little harder to find. Christina Tosi makes her corn powder by grinding freeze dried corn in a blender... but the two Whole Foods I went to surprisingly didn't have freeze dried corn. It can be found pretty readily on Amazon but only in multiple packs and I don't really need 3 pounds of freeze dried corn. So when I found a packet of freeze dried corn at Fairway, I jumped for joy (literally, it was on the very top shelf). You can also buy them online on Just Tomatoes or just buy the corn powder straight from the Momofuku Milk Bar website. Just buy them somewhere, anywhere, for the love of God. Because I really want you to make these cookies.

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Once you track down the ingredients, this corn cookie dough was one of the easiest recipes to put together. Less than 10 ingredients and only uses one bowl.

Upon finishing a sample cookie I had baked, my friend Anne Larimer proclaimed, "I'll take five more please!" I consider that a corn cookie conquest.

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{corny corn love}

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corn cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar makes 13 to 15 cookies

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks, 225g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups (300g) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1⅓ cups (225g) flour [King Arthur bread flour]
  • ¼ cup (45g) corn flour
  • ⅔ cup (65g) freeze-dried corn powder
  • ¾ teaspoon (3g) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.5g) baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons (6g) kosher salt

(1) Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes. (2) Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, corn flour, corn powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. (3) Using a 2 ¾-ounce ice cream scoop (or a ⅓-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature—they will not bake properly. (4) Heat the oven to 350° F. (5) Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 [12-13 for me] minutes, they should be faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center; give them an extra minute if not. (6) Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temp, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

momofuku milk bar exam no. 3 {apple pie layer cake}

applepielayercake So last year, I was at pub trivia night in Brooklyn and one of the questions was: Name all four members of the band, The Black Eyed Peas.

Ok... well Fergie, obviously. Um, Will.i.am. Alright, we got this. Uh, gosh what's his name... the one with the, you know, I...... and that's as far as we got. Because NOBODY could remember what the other two even looked like. Answer: Fergie, Will.i.am... Taboo and apl.de.ap. Ohhhhhh... yah, I totally didn't know that.

What I do know is that it makes for a nice segue into this apple-de-app dessert, Apple Pie Layer Cake aka Momofuku Milk Bar Exam no.3! no.1 was cookies, no.2 pie, and now CAKE. But Momofuku Milk Bar cakes are unlike any other cake I've ever seen or made. Christina Tosi is like the Betty Crocker of the future, so of course her cakes are assembled in a cake ring, wrapped in acetate sheets, and presented with their sides unfrosted.

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Although I usually like a perfectly frosted cake, I'm marveled by this presentation. It reminds me of a trifle in which you see each layer of the individual components of the dessert. But let me tell you, I had a bit of a doozy tracking down the equipment.

  • 6-inch cake ring: Ok, I just bought this one off Amazon so not that hard.
  • acetate sheets: ??? You'd think in a city like New York, I'd have no problem finding them but when I went to Michael's they told me to try Staples. I went to Staples and they said 'maybe Michael's?' Needless to say, I Amazon-ed these last minute as well and was biting my nails with worry, afraid that they wouldn't arrive in time for me to make this cake for my friend Emily's birthday.

But they did and I sighed in relief and I made this cake and my friends all ate it. All's well that ends... with cake. So word of advice, if you're planning on making any Momofuku Milk Bar cake, make sure you locate all the necessary parts at least a week before you need them. Now, I'm not gonna lie. There's a lot of parts to this cake. Just make sure you have everything prepared and stay really organized (the finished cake has to freeze for 12 hours before being served, so it's not a last minute dessert).

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All in all, it took me about 4.5 hours of work... not that bad. Just turn on a nice album and go to cake-town. It goes without saying that this cake is totally worth it. Each component is delicious on its own (the pie crumbs are my new fav snack) but together they are just apl.de.ap heaven.

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{time to eat leftovers... and to get a manicure}

 

apple pie layer cake from Momofuku Milk Bar makes 1 (6-inch) layer cake; 5 to 6 inches tall; serves 6 to 8

  • 1 recipe Barely Brown Butter Cake
  • 1 recipe Apple Cider Soak
  • 1 recipe Liquid Cheesecake
  • ½ recipe Pie Crumb
  • 1 recipe Apple Pie Filling
  • ½ recipe Pie Crumb Frosting

special equipment:

  • 1 (6-inch) cake ring
  • 2 strips acetate, each 3 inches wide and 20 inches long

(1)  Put a piece of parchment paper or a Silpat on the counter.  Invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment or Silpat from the bottom of the cake. Use the cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. These are your top 2 cake layers. The remaining cake “scrap” will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake - layer 1, the bottom - (2)  Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a Silpat. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring. (3)  Put the cake scraps inside the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer. (4)  Dunk the pastry brush in the apple cider soak and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the soak. (5)  Use the back of a spoon to spread half of the liquid cheesecake in an even layer over the cake. (6)  Sprinkle one-third of the pie crumbs evenly over the liquid cheesecake. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place. (7)  Use the back of a spoon to spread one-half of the apple pie filling as evenly as possible over the crumbs [drain as much of the liquid as possible]. - layer 2, the middle - (8)  With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall—high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Set a cake round on top of the filling and repeat the process for layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top). - layer 3, the top - (9)  Nestle the remaining cake round into the apple pie filling. Cover the top of the cake with all of the pie crumb frosting. Give it volume and swirls, or do as we do and opt for a perfectly flat top. Garnish the frosting with the remaining pie crumbs. (10) Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. (11) At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the acetate and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. Let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (wrapped well in plastic, it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days). (12) Slice the cake into wedges and serve.

Barely Brown Butter Cake makes 1 quarter sheet pan

  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick, 55g) butter
  • 2 tablespoons (40g) brown butter
  • 1 ¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (60g) light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup (110g) buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup (65g) grapeseed oil [used canola]
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups (180g) cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) kosher salt

Brown Butter To make the brown butter, place 2 tablespoons of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and top with a microwave-safe plate.  Microwave for 3 to 5 minutes.  The butter will pop while browning.  Check the butter, and if not browned enough, microwave again in 1 minute increments.  While the brown butter is cooling, stir periodically to incorporate the caramelized bits of butter.  Cool completely.

(1)   Heat the oven to 350° F. (2)   Combine the butters and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl of the bowl once more. (3)   Stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla while the paddle swirls on low speed. Increase the speed to medium-high and paddle 5 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. You’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for it, so if it doesn’t look right after 6 minutes, keep mixing. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. (4)   On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together an any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix on low speed for another 45 seconds to ensure that any lumps of cake flour are incorporated. (5)   Pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment,  or just line the pan with a Silpat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests. (6)   Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

Apple Cider Soak makes about 60g (¼ cup)

  • ¼ cup (55g) apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • pinch (0.25g) ground cinnamon

(1)   Whisk together the cider, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Liquid Cheesecake makes about 325g (1¼ cups)

  • 8 ounces (225g) cream cheese
  • ¾ cup (150g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (6g) cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) milk
  • 1 egg

(1)   Heat the oven to 300° F. (2)   Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. (3)   Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until the slurry is homogenous. (4)   With the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg slurry. Paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. (5)   Line the bottom and sides of a 6x6 inch baking pan with plastic wrap [the idea of this scared me, so I used aluminum foil]. Poor the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but still be jiggly and loose in the dead center. If the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more. And 5 minutes more if it needs it, but it’s never taken me  more then 25 minutes to underbake one. If the cheesecake rises more than a ¼ inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately. (6)   Cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set. The final product will resemble a cheesecake, but it will be pipeable and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume. Once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Apple Pie Filling makes about 400g (1¼ cups)

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 medium (300g) Granny Smith apples
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) butter
  • ⅔ cup (150g) light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • ½ teaspoon (1g) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon (1g) kosher salt

(1)   Fill a medium bowl halfway with cold tap water. Juice the lemon into it. Fish out and discard any seeds. You will use this lemon water to keep your apple pieces looking fresh and pert. (2)   Peel the apples, then halve and quarter them. Put each apple quarter on its side and cut a small slice down the length of the apple to remove the seeds and core. Cut each apple quarter lengthwise into thirds and then crosswise into fourths, leaving you with 12 small pieces from every apple quarter. Transfer these pieces to the lemon water as you go. (3)   When you’re ready to cook, drain the apples (discard the lemon water) and combine them in a medium pot with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly bring a boil over medium heat, using a spoon to gently stir the mixture as it heats up and the apples begin to release liquid. Reduce the heat and simmer the apples gently for 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to cook the apples so much that they turn into applesauce. [I had a lot of liquid left, so I fished out the apples and reduced the remaining liquid by half for about 5 to 6 minutes. It created a more caramel-y apple filling.] (4)   Transfer to a container and put in the fridge to cool down. Once completely cooled, the filling can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week; do not freeze.

Pie Crumb Frosting makes about 220g (¾ cup), or enough for 2 apples pie layer cakes

  • ½ recipe Pie Crumb
  • ½ cup (110g) milk
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (40g) confectioners’ sugar

(1)   Combine the pie crumbs, milk, and salt in a blender, turn the speed to medium-high, and puree until smooth and homogenous. It will take 1 to 3 minutes (depending on the awesomeness of your blender). If the mixture does not catch on your blender blade, turn off the blender, take a small teaspoon, and scrape down the sides of the canister, remembering to scrape under the blade, then try again. (2)   Combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. (3)   On low speed, paddle in the contents of the blender, After 1 minute, crank the speed up to medium-high and let her rip for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. If the mixture is not a uniform, very pale, barely tan color, give the bowl another scrape-down and another minute of high-speed paddling. (4)   Use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Pie Crumb makes about 350g (2¾ cups)

  • 1½ cups (240g) flour
  • 2 tablespoons (18g) sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 115g) butter, melted
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (20g) water

(1)   Heat the oven to 350° F. (2)   Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until well mixed. (3)   Add the butter and water and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters. (4)   Spread the clusters on a parchment or Silpat lined sheet pan. Bake for 25 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should be golden brown and still slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool. (5)   Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. Stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

 

momofuku milk bar exam no. 2 {grasshopper pie}

grasshopperpie1 I always say I'm not a chocolate person but the fact is... of course I am. Who am I kidding. Chocolate is great. Chocolate AND Mint is fantastic. So I'm not sure why I was hesitant to make this Grasshopper Pie but I was. It's just not something I usually jump to make when I'm in a baking mood or crave at night during my ladytimes. But that's the beauty of this wonderful endeavor I've decided to take on. I get to learn on a constant basis that I have no idea what's good for me.

Make this pie NOW. Especially since today is Galentine's Day. Celebrate ladytimes!

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Anytime you start with a graham cracker crust you can't go wrong. Add a mint cheesecake and brownie layer and... I'm just preaching to the choir here, right?

Despite the fact that this pie requires a few separate components, it was actually pretty easy to put together. And as I've found with most of Christina Tosi's recipes, really fun! Serve cold, frozen is even better.

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grasshopper pie from Momofuku Milk Bar makes 1 (10-inch) pie; serves 8 to 10
  • 1 recipe Brownie Pie, prepared through step 8
  • 1 recipe Mint Cheesecake Filling (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons (20g) mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup (25g) mini marshmallows
  • 1 recipe Mint Glaze (recipe follows), warm
(1) Heat the oven to 350°F. (2) Grab a sheet pan and put your pie tin of graham crust on it. Pour the mint cheesecake filling into the shell. Pour the brownie batter on top of it. Use the tip of a knife to swirl the batter and mint filling, teasing up streaks of the mint filling so they show through the brownie batter [I wanted to keep the layers separate so I didn't do this]. (3) Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips into a small ring in the center of the pie, leaving the bull’s-eye center empty [I literally made a bull's eye in the center of the pie, using a ½ measuring cup]. Sprinkle the mini marshmallows into a ring around the ring of chocolate chips. (4) Bake the pie for 25 minutes. It should puff slightly on the edges but still be jiggly in the center. The mini chocolate chips will look as if they are beginning to melt, and the mini marshmallows should be evenly tanned. Leave the pie in the oven for an additional 3 to 4 minutes if this is not the case. (5) Cool the pie completely before finishing it. (You can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pie to the fridge or freezer directly out of the oven if you’re in a hurry.) (6) Now the pie needs to be Jackson-Pollocked with mint glaze. Make sure your glaze is still warm to the touch. Dunk the tines of a fork [I found a small spoon to work better] into the warm glaze, then dangle the fork about 1 inch above the bull’s-eye center of the pie. (7) Transfer the pie to the fridge [freezer is better] so the mint glaze firms up before serving—which will happen as soon as it’s cold, about 15 minutes. Wrapped in plastic, the pie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
 
Brownie Pie makes 1 (10-inch) pie; serves 8 to 10
  • ¾ recipe (255g, 1½ cups) Graham Crust [I love graham crust, so I just used 1 full recipe. Why not?]
  • 4½ ounces (125g) 72% chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup (150g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (40g) flour
  • 3 tablespoons (25g) cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
  • ½ cup (110g) heavy cream 
(1) Heat the oven to 350°F. (2) Dump 210g (1¼ cups) graham crust into a 10-inch pie tine and set the remaining 45g (¼ cup) to the side. With your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the crust firmly into the pie tin, covering the bottom and sides of the pan completely. Wrapped in plastic, the crust can be refrigerated or frozen for up to 2 weeks. (3) Combine the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and gently melt them together on low for 30 to 50 seconds. Use a heatproof spatula to stir them together, working until the mixture is glossy and smooth. (4) Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip together on high for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy and pale yellow and has reached the ribbon state. (Detach your whisk, dunk it into the whipped eggs, and wave it back and forth like a pendulum: the mixture should form a thickened silky ribbon that falls and then disappears into the batter.) If the mixture does not form ribbons, continue whipping on high as needed. (5) Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment. Dump the chocolate mixture into the eggs and briefly mix together on low, then increase the speed to medium and paddle the mixture for 1 minute, or until it is brown and completely homogenous If there are any dark streaks of chocolate, paddle for a few seconds longer, or as needed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. (6) Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and paddle on low speed for 45 to 60 seconds. There should be no clumps of dry ingredients. If there are any lumps, mix for an additional 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. (7) Stream in the heavy cream on low speed, mixing for 30 to 45 seconds, just until the batter has loosened up a little and the white streaks of cream are fully mixed in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. (8) Detach the paddle and remove the bowl from the mixer. Gently fold in the 45g (¼ cup) graham crust with a spatula. (These crumbs will add little bursts of flavor and texture into the pie filling.) (9) Grab a sheet pan and put your pit tine of graham crust on it. With a spatula, scrape the brownie batter into the graham shell. Bake for 25 minutes. The pie should puff slightly on the sides and develop a sugary crust on top. If the brownie pie is still liquid in the center and has not formed a crust, bake it for an additional 5 minutes or so. (10) Cool the pie on a rack. (You can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pie to the fridge or freezer directly out of the oven if you’re in a hurry.) Wrapped in plastic, the pie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.  
Graham Crust makes about 340g (2 cups)
  • 1½ cups (190g) graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup (20g) milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick, 55g) butter, melted, or as needed
  • ¼ cup (55g) heavy cream
(1) Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients. (2) Whisk the butter and heavy cream together. Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as a glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1½ tablespoons) butter and mix it in. (3) Eat immediately, or deploy as directed in a recipe. The crust is easiest to mold just after mixing. Stored in an airtight container, graham crust will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or for 1 month in the fridge or freezer.
  Mint Cheesecake Filling makes enough for 1 grasshopper pie 
  • 2 ounces (60g) white chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons (20g) grapeseed oil [used canola]
  • 2 ½ ounces (75g) cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons (20g) confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) peppermint extract
  • ¼ teaspoon (1g) kosher salt
  • 2 drops green food coloring [only 1 drop]
(1) Combine the white chocolate and oil in a microwave-safe dish and gently melt the mixture on low for 30 to 50 seconds. Use a heatproof spatula to stir the chocolate and oil together, working until the mixture is glossy and smooth. (2) Combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and stir together on medium-low speed for 2 to 3 minutes to blend. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. (3) On low speed, slowly stream in the white chocolate mixture. Mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until it is fully incorporated into the cream cheese. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. (4) Add the peppermint extract, salt, and food coloring and paddle the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes, or just until it is smooth and leprechaun green [I kept mine more minty green]. (You may need to scrape the bowl down once midmixing.) No point in making ahead—you don’t have any use for it otherwise and it will make it trickier to swirl in later.   
Mint Glaze makes enough for 1 grasshopper pie
  • 1 ounce (30g) white chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons (6g) grapeseed oil [used canola]
  • scant ⅛ teaspoon (0.5g) peppermint extract
  • 1 drop green food coloring
(1) Combine the white chocolate and oil in a microwave-safe dish and melt the chocolate on low for 20 to 30 seconds. Use a heatproof spatula to stir the oil and chocolate together, working until the mixture is glossy and smooth. (2) Stir in the peppermint extract and food coloring.

momofuku milk bar exam no. 1 {blueberry & cream cookies}

blueberrycreamcookies1 This cookie was actually the first item I ever tried at Momofuku Milk Bar (thus starting this obsession). For a place known for its eccentric Crack Pie® and Bagel Bombs, these blueberry & cream cookies look deceptively simple. Ohhh but think again! Imagine a chewy, buttery cookie dotted with blueberries and white chocolate and multiply those flavors by 1000! You're gonna love this cookie.

The thing I really appreciate about the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook and Christina Tosi is that she's very clear with her directions as well as the specificity of her ingredients. I'm a recipe/cookbook connoisseur and I hate when chefs leave out the specifics-- Tosi keeps no secrets. She's very direct in the intro pages about EXACTLY what brands she uses for her butter, flour, sugar, chocolate, fruits, etc.  which is a tremendous help to an obsessive nit-picker like myself. I'm going to try my darnest to listen to her suggestions and adhere as closely as possible to each recipe. My new motto is: What Tosi Wants, Tosi Gets. She would probably be mortified and slightly disturbed by my cult-ish devotion but I've tasted her Kool-Aid (cookies) and I'm just not going back!

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What makes these cookies stand out are a handful of key changes. Since this was my first Momofuku Milk Bar endeavor for y'all, I was a bit nervous. Milk crumbs? Glucose? I've never baked with these ingredients before. But it all makes sense. The milk crumbs (a combination of mostly butter, milk powder, and white chocolate) give the cookies an additional oomph in the creamy, milky department. And the addition of glucose (which I previously only associated with my dreaded year of organic chemistry) is now my new best friend and the secret to what keeps these cookies nice and chewy.

Most of my ingredients I procured at either Trader Joe's, Fairway, or Whole Foods, but the glucose I actually purchased at Michael's. The directions say that corn syrup can be substituted for the glucose but speaking from experience now, I can say that glucose is WAY stickier and less sweet than corn syrup (and thus probably produces a better chewier texture).

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As hard as it is, resist from eating all the cookie dough before baking. Or eat half then bake half. Compromise.

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blueberry & cream cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar makes 12 to 17 cookies

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks, 225g) butter, at room temperature [preferably Plugra, I used Whole Foods brand-- sorry Tosi!]
  • ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup (150g) light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • ¼ cup (100g) glucose [can substitute: 2 tablespoons (35g) light corn syrup]
  • 2 [large] eggs
  • 2 cups (320g) flour [preferably King Arthur bread flour]
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1g) baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Milk Crumb, recipe below
  • ¾ cup (130g) dried blueberries [can be bought at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's]

(1) Combine the butter, sugars, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes. (2) Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. (Do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you will risk overmixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. (3) Still on low speed, add the milk crumbs and mix until they’re incorporated, no more than 30 seconds. Chase the milk crumbs with the dried blueberries, mixing them in for 30 seconds. (4) Using a 2 ¾-ounce ice cream scoop (or a ⅓-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour [I did overnight], or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature—they will not bake properly. (5) Heat the oven to 350° F. (6) Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes [Mine were done at 15-16 minutes, don't overbake!]. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center; give them an extra minute or so if that’s not the case. (7) Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temp, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.  

Milk Crumb

  • ¼ cup (20g) milk powder [non-fat dry milk]
  • 2 tablespoons (20g) flour
  • 1 tablespoon (6g) cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon (12.5g) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon (1g) kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (¼ stick, 27.5g) butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons (10g) milk powder
  • 1 ½ ounces (45g) white chocolate, melted

(1) Heat the oven to 250° F. (2) Combine the 20g (¼ cup) milk powder, the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Toss with your hands to mix. Add the melted buter and toss, using a spatula, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters. (3) Spread the clusters on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. The crumbs should be sandy at that point, and your kitchen should smell like buttery heaven. Cool the crumbs completely. (4) Crumble any milk crumb clusters that are larger than ½ inch in diameter and put the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the 10 g (2 tablespoons) milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixtures. (5) Pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are enrobed. Then continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.

Happy Birthday Katherine!

katherineandme While most of you are probably busy wrapping (or buying) last minute presents, I have a special place in my heart for Christmas Eve for several different reasons. Not only is it my parents' anniversary (27th this year!) but it's also my friend Katherine's birthday!

Happy Birthday Katherine! I hope it's the best yet xo

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For her early birthday this year, I made Katherine these strawberry cheesecake cupcakes. Her favorites are strawberry and cream cheese frosting (as coincidentally are mine) so these were the perfect surprise birthday treats!

And if you know Katherine, you will know she is THE sparkle, glitter, sequin queen. So in lieu of topping them with strawberries or graham cracker crumbs, I sprinkled some edible silver glitter and colored sugars on top. They were incredibly delicious and fun!

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I adapted the proportions of this recipe quite a bit as it made way too much graham cracker crumbs and cream cheese frosting. The recipe below is how I would suggest the cupcakes should be made-- this is now one of my favorite cupcake recipes!

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes adapted from Joylicious

  • 2 sleeves of graham cracker crumbs (about 18 whole crackers)
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sour cream/Greek yogurt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped (and more for garnish)
  • Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe below

(1)  Preheat oven to 350° F and line 20-22 muffin tins with cupcake liners.  (2)  Mix graham cracker crumbs with butter using a food processor.  Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the crushed graham cracker into the bottom of each prepared muffin tin.  Press down using a ¼ measuring cup and bake for 3-5 minutes or until slightly browned.  Remove immediately from oven and set aside to cool. (3)  In a medium bowl beat the egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks appear, about 3-4 minutes, be careful not to overbeat. Set aside. (4)  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. (5)  In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy and then add the vanilla. (6)  Next, add half the flour mixture and incorporated on low speed until it’s almost all incorporated. (7)  Then mix in the sour cream/yogurt. Add the remaining flour and mix until just blended. Don’t over mix. (8)  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter until combined, do not over mix the egg whites or the cake will fall flat. Add remaining egg whites and fold in the chopped strawberries. (9)  Fill each muffin tin almost to the top and bake for about 20-22 minutes depending on your oven. You can test to see if they are done by sticking a toothpick through the center and seeing if it comes out clean.  

Cream Cheese Frosting 

  • 1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(1)  In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. (2)  Add the sugar slowly in small batches, beating on low speed until incorporated. Once all sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy. (3)  When ready to serve, spread icing on cupcakes or use a pastry bag with a star tip. Garnish with freshly cut strawberries and graham cracker crumbs and serve.

Makes about 20-22 cupcakes

rise and shine!

Yes, we all know it's 'the most important meal of the day' but... do you eat breakfast?

I admit that for a long time, I did not. Mostly because I am not much of a morning person. Still not. When I did start eating breakfast, it was more like, grab a Special K bar before heading out the door. Even now, I'm not a huge breakfast fan unless it involves my sister's oatmeal pancakes or a nice crab cakes benedict (anything with poached eggs really).

The issue with breakfast is I want something that's energizing, not too filling, and of course yummy. These days, my very fancy breakfast usually consists of anything that's easy to grab-and-go like these oatmeal applesauce blueberry muffins (which I waxed poetics about in my NY Diet). These muffins are the perfect on-the-go, nutritious breakfast. Seriously, I love these. I even eat them as a sweet treat after dinner. Bake a batch over the weekend then refrigerate them so you'll be sure to have breakfast all during the week... if they last that long.

Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins adapted from Joy the Baker 

  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ¼ cups oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup low-fat buttermilk (I used soymilk)
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

(1)  Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases or spray with nonstick cooking spray. (2)  In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. (3)  In a medium bowl whisk together the applesauce, milk, sugar, oil, egg and vanilla. (4)  Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist. As with most batters, it's better to not overmix; a few lumps of flour are fine. (5)  Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full (about ¼ cup). (6)  Bake for 16-18 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before taking out and cooling on a wire cooling rack.

Makes 12 muffins

have a holly, jolly (Lincoln) Christmas!

2011 has been the year of my first grown-up Christmas. The first year I got my own Christmas tree in my own apartment with my very own golden pinecone star! Sexy Sallie (the name we bestowed on our tree) is the first real pine tree I've ever had and I have to say, the smell of a real pine tree is unmatched. Look at Sallie in all her glory...

Another first for me this Christmas was my first holiday work party. And lucky for me, I had not just one holiday party but two! The first was a lovely lunch last Friday hosted for the entire staff and volunteers of the museum. It was a wonderful affair held at the Temple of Dendur with entertainment provided by staff members (!!!).  Now, the second party was a smaller, less formal affair for our department planned by the PPC (Party Planning Committee) of which yours truly is a member. Here is the invitation we sent out for our holiday party:

Now I know what you're probably thinking... 'Umm, are they having a Lincoln-themed holiday party?' I can feel your jealousy burning and let me explain.

(1) It's actually a Civil War-themed holiday party, thank you very much (2) Our Vice President of External Affairs is a pre-eminent Abraham Lincoln scholar and we were all hoping the theme would inspire a certain holiday bonus (still waiting on that btw) (3) think Little Women. The soundtrack alone sold me.

Most of the staff outside of the PPC were still skeptical about the theme but once party time arrived, everyone got into the 1864 holiday spirit!

As a representative of the South, I thought it would be fitting to bring something with true southern roots. So I made these delicious red velvet bars. Exactly the same as red velvet cake but more portable and party-friendly sized. So yummy, just like anything slathered in cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet Bars

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 
  • 1 ounce red food coloring (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

(1)  Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Butter and flour an 8″x8″ baking pan. (2)  In a small bowl, slowly stir together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and vanilla into a thick paste until no lumps of cocoa remain. Set aside. (3)  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. (4)  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. (5)  With the mixer off, add in the cocoa mixture, then turn the mixer to medium and beat the two mixtures together until they are one uniform color. (Be careful not to get 'red-handed'!) (6)  Slowly add in the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed, just until combined.  Do not overmix.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir up the batter with a rubber spatula once or twice just to ensure all of the flour has incorporated from the sides of the bowl and there isn’t anything stuck on the bottom of the bowl.  You’ll want one uniformly colored red batter. (7)  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the brownies.  Allow brownies to completely cool in the pan on a baking rack, about 45-60 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

(1)  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and cream cheese until soft and fluffy. (2)  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar ½ cup at a time; allow the sugar to mix in before adding the next ½ cup. (3)  Once all of the sugar has been added, add the vanilla and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds and scrape down the sides of the bowl. (4) Frost brownies in the pan, cut into 12 bars, and serve, or remove the entire batch from the pan to a cutting board, cut into 12 bars, frost, and serve.

Oh how I love the holidays! And tomorrow evening I will be heading to the best place to spent one's holiday season... HOME!!! I am just so excited. Because as much as I love my grown-up Christmas, there's nothing like being a kid on Christmas morning!

xo Margaret

some things are just M.F.E.O.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies get no love. except from me.

I understand, they're not the prettiest cookies, they're somewhat healthy, and there's nothing more disappointing than biting into what you think is a delicious chocolate chip cookie only to be fooled by some impostor raisins! But when I was at the MAC store on Thursday for Fashion's Night Out, they were handing out these tiny cookies on silver platters. Instead of opting for the chocolate-chocolate chunk or the snickerdoodle, I went in for the oatmeal raisin... And since that morsel, I have been craving oatmeal raisin cookies non-stop!

So what better way to inaugurate my new kitchen than with this yummy Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe! I'm still slowly settling into my new apartment. My bedroom is in need of a major makeover (which I will probably post about soon) but for the first time ever I have my own bathroom and my roommates are so sweet. The location is also close to the Met so I've been walking to work everyday!

I foresee lots of happy memories (and tummies) coming from this kitchen.

These oatmeal raisin cookies are super easy to make. You don't even need a mixer, just a good wooden spoon, some elbow grease and plenty of LOVE.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • ½ cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • 1 ½ cups quick-cook rolled oats
  • ½ cup raisins

(1)  Preheat oven to 350°F. (2)  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together, set aside. (3)  In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Slowly stir the flour into the butter/sugar mixture. Add in the oats and raisins. (4)  At this point you can either chill the dough for an hour in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them. You could also bake them right away, if you’re impatient (like me!), but I do find that they end up slightly less thick. (5)  The cookies should be two inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake them for 7 to 8 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. (6)  Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

 

does this count as dinner?? 

b-a-n-a-n-a-s!

As an extension of my last health-kick post, I decided to make this Whole Wheat Banana Bread. During hot summer days, the shelf life of bananas seems to be as short as Snooki's skirts. I usually only buy them two or three at a time (bananas, not Snooki's skirts) and even then must eat them immediately. So what to do with some truly sad, overriped bananas?

Turn those ugly duckling bananas...

into a beautiful swan banana bread.

I adjusted this Cooking Light recipe by swapping half of the flour with whole wheat flour and added a bit of cinnamon for a nice aromatic punch. The texture was a bit denser with the addition of the whole wheat but the flavor was delicious. In the future, I may mess around more with this basic recipe maybe with some flax seed meal, different spices, or replacing the butter with oil. either way you make it, banana bread is bound to be YUM!

Whole Wheat Banana Bread adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • ⅓ cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used vanilla Greek yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(1)  Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8 ½ x 4 ½-inch loaf pan. (2)  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, stirring with a whisk. (3)  In a small bowl, combine the banana, yogurt and vanilla; mash together. (4)  Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). (5)  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana/yogurt mixture and blend well. (6)  Slowly add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Make sure not to overmix the batter, a few specks of flour should still be seen. Spoon batter into the loaf pan. (7)  Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

on another note, I'd like to say to my friend

Happy Birthday Morgan!

 

Can't wait to see and celebrate with you (hope you like banana bread!). I hope everyone's looking forward to the long Labor Day weekend ahead. I'll be heading to Nashville/Murfreesboro to see some old familiar faces. SO excited!