Summer in a cookie

I meant to make these last summer.

However in that lesson of detail that I seem to learn over and over again, I learned that dried corn and dehydrated/freeze-dried corn are definitely NOT the same thing.

And then I got distracted by something shiny and what are decidedly summer cookies (in my head at least) didn’t seem appropriate when I remembered again in winter.  Luckily, I’d bookmarked this wonderful creation of Christina Tosi’s and, when reorganizing cookbooks, found it again.  In the introduction to the recipe in her book, Milk Momofuko Milk Bar, Ms Tosi explains that she hoarded this recipe for years.

And I totally understand why.  Go ahead and leave your political viewpoints about corn at the door on this one and just give in to the simple deliciousness.

Because I can’t ever seem to leave well-enough alone and my stalking  research on Ms Tosi suggests she’d support some tweaks, I adapted these cheery cookies ever so slightly by adding lemon zest and dried blueberries.  I also scaled them down quite a bit.

They’re soft, chewy and slight crispy  and remind me of sunny summer afternoons after a day spent at the beach or pool.  I think they’d be even more delicious with a scoop of blueberry ice cream or Milkbar’s own sweet corn cereal milk ice cream sandwiched in between a couple.

Corn Cookies

adapted from Christina Tosi, Milk Momofuko Milk Bar

Ingredients

Makes about 2 dozen smaller or 1 dozen large cookies

Note–I use the weight not volume measurements for this recipe.

  • 16 TBS, 2 sticks, 225g room temp butter
  • 1 1/2 C, 300 g granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/3 C, 225 g flour
  • 1/4 C, 45 g corn flour
  • 2/3 C, 65 g freeze-dried corn powder (I found freeze dried corn on Amazon but later saw it at Bristol Farms and used a coffee grinder to make the powder)
  • 3/4 tsp, 3 g baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp, 1.5 g baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp, 6 g kosher salt
  • zest from large lemon (or 2 small)
  • 1/2-1 C dried blueberries (depending on taste)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, corn flour, corn powder, baking powder, soda and salt.  Set aside.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar using the paddle attachment of a standing mixer or an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes.
  3. Scrape-down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and beat for 7-8 minutes.
  4. Reduced the mixer speed to low and add the zest.  Then add the flour mixture, combining until the dough just comes together (no more than a minute).  Fold in the dried blueberries by hand.
  5. For smaller cookies, use about a one ounce scoop (the original recipe calls for a 2  3/4 ounce scoop) and scoop dough out, placing on to a cookies sheet lined with parchment.  Leave a couple inches between each dough mound.
  6. Either pat, or use the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar to flatten-out the dough.  Wrap tightly and cool in fridge for a minimum of  an hour, but up to a week.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Arrange chilled dough on parchment-lined baking sheets (they’ll need more room between them then when you put them in the fridge).  Leave 2 inches in between each.
  9. Bake for 18 minutes.  Cookies will puff, crackles and spread.  Done cookies will be faintly browned on the edges but bright yellow in the middle.
  10. Cool completely on sheets before transferring to a plate, storage container or your mouth.

SPRINKLES!

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.

Soundtrack

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

Confetti Cookies

from the Momofuko Milk Bar cookbook

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.