Putting on the peanut butter ritz

After we moved into Via Corona, it was nearly three months until we had a kitchen. All things being equal, it wasn’t a huge day-to-day issue (this coming from the person who plans, shops and cooks most of the food so, take the statement for what it is). Not wanting to completely bankrupt our reno budget with crazy take-out bills,  one of our first orders of business after moving in was to hit up the grocery for ready to-go-snacks.

That Friday night at the grocery may have been the first time TD and I ever shopped for snacks together.  I learned a lot.  Like the fact that dude loves those packets of crackers and peanut butter.  And even weirder, also loves those packets of peanut butter filled cheese crackers.

I’m not sure what he learned about me.

That was also the night we came home to a raccoon sitting in the middle of our driveway.  Just hanging out, as they do.  Little did we know that this was just the beginning of our adventures with Via Corona’s resident small mammal population (let’s just say we’re pretty sure the raccoons are running a discoteque under our deck).

But back to the peanut butter crackers (I bet the raccoons like those too).  When I saw Christina Tosi’s recipe for crunchy, salty and sweet ritz crunch, I knew I had to put it in a peanut butter cookie.

Warning: ritz cracker crunch is dangerous stuff.  I ended up just throwing the entire batch into this recipe for the sole purpose of keeping myself from eating the leftovers.

The result was an ultra-cripsy but ultra-tender and flaky peanut butter extravaganza.  Most likely due to the high fat-to-starch ratio, they were also very delicate.  While they probably wouldn’t survive a care-package trip across the country, this batch (unlike the corn cookies) did make it into work.  They were gone before 10:00 AM.

For the cookie, I just futzed with an old school Betty Crocker recipe for peanut butter cookies.  The original recipe calls for a shortening to butter recipe of 1:1.  I used all butter.  If you like a cakier peanut butter cookie, go the shortening and butter route.

Peanut Butter Ritz Cookies

For the ritz crunch (recipe from Christina Tosi)


  • 1/2 sleeve (50g) ritz crackers
  • 1/4 C (50g) sugar
  • 2 TBS (10g) milk powder
  • 1/4 tsp (1g) kosher salt
  • 4 TBS (50g) melted butter


  1. Heat oven to 275 degrees
  2. Pour the ritz into a medium bowl and crunch them to desired size (I went dime-sized pieces and smaller). Add the milk powder, sugar and salt.  Toss to mix.  Add-in the butter and toss to coat.
  3. Spread the clusters on a parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake for 20 minutes, giving the pan a good shake every 8 minutes or so.  Allow to cool completely.  Try not to each entire batch before they go into the cookies.

For the peanut butter cookies


  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 C peanut butter
  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking sode
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Mix sugars, peanut butter, shortening, butter and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients
  2. Carefully fold-in the ritx crunch
  3. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm
  4. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  5. Shape or scoop dough into 1 1/4″ balls. Place about 3 inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet
  6. Flatten slightly with the bottom of a cup or mug dipped in sugar
  7. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
  8. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet and cool completely before storing



Milk and Cookies Cookies

Why yes, I have been playing with Christina Tosi’s recipes.  How did you know?  This is the first week of two  with riffs on my favorite blueberries and cream cookies.

This idea started with a “what if” while I was standing in the kitchen at about 5:00 AM one morning.  It’s amazing the number of ideas that have taken seed standing in my kitchen at 5:00 in the morning.

What if, I wondered, I replaced some of the dry milk powder in the cookie streusel with malted milk?  Then, what if I switched out the white chocolate for semi-sweet.

And used chocolate chunks in place of dried blueberries.

Sometimes it’s good to get caught up in the what-ifs.

What happened was some very tasty milk and cookies cookies.

As I’ve shared before, Christina’s Tosi’s cookies are as much about technique as they are ingredients.  If this is a turn-off for you, there is another way.  Target now carries packaged Milk Bar mixes.  Though I have mixed feelings about this, the packaging is cute and its hard to not like anything that comes from Target (as a West coaster the Lily Pulitzer debacle went right over my head).

Milk and Cookies Cookies

adapted from Christina Tosi’s Blueberries and Cream Cookie recipe

for streusel


  • 1/4 C nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 C malted milk powder
  • 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 3 TBS sugar
  • 2 TBS cornstarch
  • 3/4 TBS coarse kosher salt
  • 6 TBS (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 ounces chopped semi-sweet or dark chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Combine milk powder, malted milk powder, flour, sugar, cornstarch, and coarse salt in medium bowl; toss to mix evenly.
  3. Add butter; stir with fork until clusters form (you may have to break up the dough–it will be wet and sticky).
  4. Spread mixture evenly on prepared sheet. Bake until crumbs are dry and crumbly but still pale.  Start checking at 10 minutes–will probably need 20 minutes. Cool milk crumbs completely on sheet.
  5. Using a double boiler or microwave, melt chopped semi-sweet chocolate.
  6. Pour over browned crumbles and toss with a fork until crumbs are coated (this is easiest if you do it on the same cookie sheet used to bake them).
  7. Toss every few minutes until streusel is completely cooled.
  8. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

for cookies


  • 2 C (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 C plus 2 TBS (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 C plus 2 TBS glucose (corn syrup can be substituted)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 2 TSP baking powder
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • 1 TSP coarse kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 C Milk Crumbs (click for recipe)
  • 12 ounces chopped semi-sweet or dark chocolate


  1. Combine butter, both sugars, and glucose/corn syrup in large bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and pale, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add eggs; beat on medium-high speed until mixture is very pale and sugar is completely dissolved, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; beat on low speed just until blended, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.
  4. Add Milk Crumbs; mix on low speed just until incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer.
  5. Stir in chopped chocolate just until evenly distributed (dough will be very sticky).
  6. Using 1/4-cup ice cream scoop for each cookie, drop dough onto 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 24 hours.
  7. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled until baking time.
  8. Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line 2 large (18×12-inch) rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
  9. Transfer 6 chilled dough scoops to each sheet, spacing at least 4 inches apart (cookies will spread). Bake cookies, 2 sheets at a time, until golden, reversing sheets halfway through baking, 20 to 22 minutes total.
  10. Repeat with remaining chilled dough, cooling and relining sheets between batches. Transfer cookies to racks; cool completely.
  11. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Store in airtight containers at room temperature.

…but the kitchen sink

Where the hell have I been?


Let’s make some compost cookies!  I think any kid who has ever had an interest in baking has tried-out the garbage cookie “recipe.”  You know, throw everything that seems like it might taste good into a batch of basic dough.  Note–the picture below is right before I wrapped them to cool-down.  For baking they need a little more room.

Christina Tosi of Milk fame absolutely did this.  And then she grew up and made a living out of it.  I wish I’d thought of that!

I’ve listed the original recipe below.  But come on, this cookie recipe begs for improvisation.  In addition to the listed ingredients, I threw in some chocolate covered pomagranate seeds and chunks of chocolate-covered-peanut-butter-filled pretzels.

Oh, and I guess I should admit.  I just used store-bought graham crackers instead of making the crust.  I’m a slacker.

If you like this, you might also like these

Blueberry and Cream Cookies (a TMH favorite)

Confetti Cookies

Compost Cookies

Christina Tosi from Milk, 2011

You can also find some of the recipes from the book on the milk momofuko milk bar site.


  • 225 g (16 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
  • 200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 150 g (2?3 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar
  • 50 g (2 tbs) glucose
  • 1 egg
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 225 g (1 1?3 cups) flour
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 1.5 g (1/4 tsp) baking soda
  • 4 g (1 tsp) kosher salt
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) mini chocolate chips
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) mini butterscotch chips
  • 1/4 recipe (1/2 cup) graham crust (recipe below)
  • 40 g (1?3 cup) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 5 g (2 1/2 tsp) ground coffee
  • 50 g (2 cups) potato chips
  • 50 g (1 cup) mini pretzels


  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 over mixing 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 (or graham cracker crumbs if you are lazy like me), 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 over mix 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. Portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan (I used about 1 1/2 TBS per cookie, Christina Tosi is more of a go big or go home kind of girl and recommends using a 2 3/4 ounce scooper). 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.
  6. 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 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 2 cups


  • 190 g (1 1/2 cups) graham cracker crumbs
  • 20 g (1/4 cup) milk powder
  • 25 g (2 tbs) sugar
  • 3 g (3/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • 55 g (4 tbs) butter, melted, or as needed
  • 55 g (1/4 cup) 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 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 table- spoons) 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.


You know that scene in The Truth about Cats and Dogs where Janeane Garofalo tells the caller “you can love your pets, you just can’t looove you pets?”

So, I may just loooove Christina Tosi of Milk Bar (yeah, the Momofuko one).  This blog already has a couple of her recipes–the famous crack pie and, what would easily qualify as one of my top five favorite cookies recipes, blueberries and cream cookies.  However, it wasn’t until I procured and purchased her cookbook, Momofuko Milk Bar that the true romance started.  I literally read the book cover to cover in one sitting.  I laughed (a lot).  A cried a little.  I licked the pages.  Anyone who has ever read a cookbook will tell you that even in the most scientific of recipes, the author’s voice comes through.  Ms. Tosi?  Is really funny.  And really real.  And, like me, she really loves sprinkles.  Like, a lot a lot.

Her recipes are quirky.  It makes sense, she worked for Wiley Dufresne, the grand puba of molecular gastronomy.  And, some of her ingredients are a little out-there.  However, as she reminds we, the humble reader quite often, Amazon.com makes finding freeze-dried corn as easy as finding candy corn.

Like many bakers, much of the diversity in her baked goods are variations on a single “mother” recipe.  This week and next, the mother recipe is a snicker doodle dough base.

Which brings us back to the sprinkles.  Sprinkles within sprinkles in fact.  We start with sprinkle scrapple.

Think really colorful streusel-type stuff.

That gets baked in the oven until golden brown.  Set it aside and try really hard not to eat it all right away.  You’ll need some for the cookies.

Next, we have a little fun with chemistry.  I found glucose syrup at Surfas, our local restaurant supply nirvana.  But, it can also be ordered from Amazon.

The glucose syrup replaces some of the sugar in the recipe.  And, after a marathon 7-8 minutes of creaming, creates a completely different texture than the regular sugar-butter combo.  It reminded me a lot of marshmallow fluff.

Another quirk of Tosi’s is the use of bread flour in her cookie recipes.  She believes the additional gluten content helps to create that perfect crispy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-insideness for cookies.  The recipe calls for the flour to be added and mixed in on low-speed until just combined.   I found that hand-folding from this point on is more effective.  At this point the rainbow scruples is incorporated.

The recipe specifies the size of scooper to use when shaping the cookies.  I went smaller.  Do what you want.  Once scooped, line up the dough half-domes on parchment-lined baking sheets, flatten (I used the bottom of a pint glass dipped in sugar so the dough wouldn’t stick).  Then, wrap each sheet in plastic and let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour.  This allows the butter to get cold and will help both the texture and shape of the final product.

Finally,  FINALLY, into the oven.  And, just because one can never, ever have too many sprinkles,  I topped each little dough disk with some extra rainbow goodness before popping them into the oven.

These cookies were incredibly fun, if not time-consuming to make.  And, the speed at which they disappeared was ridunculous.


Really, is there anything other than disco to listen to while baking with sprinkles?

Confetti Cookies

from the Momofuko Milk Bar cookbook


For the Birthday Cake Crumb

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Cookies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons glucose (or 1 tablespoon corn syrup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (original recipe calls for clear vanilla extract)
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2/3 cup milk powder
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
  • 1 heaping cup of Birthday Cake Crumb


For the Birthday Cake Crumb
  1. Heat oven to 300ºF
  2. Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt,and sprinkles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a 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 clusters on a parchment lined (or silpat) sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should be slightly moist to the touch; they will dry and harden as they cool.
  5. Let the crumbs cool completely before using in recipe!
For the Cookies
  1. Combine the butter, sugar, and glucose (or corn syrup) in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and almond extract, and beat for 7 minutes (Set a timer!)
  2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the bread flour, milk powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and rainbow sprinkles; mix just for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. On low speed (or by hand…do it by hand), add the birthday cake crumbs and fold until the flour mixture is just incorporated.
  4. Using a medium sized scoop (or about 2 tablespoons per cookie) portion out the dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat using the bottom of a 3″ glass or mug. If the dough is sticky, first dip the surface in sugar, then flatten, repeating for each cookie.
  5.  Wrap the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do NOT bake your cookies from room temperature, they wont bake correctly.
  6. Heat oven to 350ºF
  7. Arrange the chilled dough on parchment (or silpat) lined pan, no more than 8 per pan. Bake for 11-13 minutes. They should be lightly browned on the top, and golden brown on the bottom.
  8. Let cookies cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.