Thursday, February 10, 2011

Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Bars

Well it was bound to happen one of these days. I've been at this cooking blog thing for almost a year (anniversary is soon!) and I had my first failed recipe attempt. I hate to fail. In fact, if you know me at all, you quickly pick up on my self-deprecating humor that I inevitably fall back on in social settings which, at the core, suggests that I set the standard pretty low so when I exceed it, everyone around me will be impressed and I will not have - you know - failed anyone.

This uneasiness with failure probably explains why I like cooking and baking. Not experimental cooking and baking -- that could lead to too many errors which could lead to a failed outcome and I just can't have that. So instead I follow the recipes verbatim -- ok, maybe with a tiny change here or there -- and so far, the outcomes have been close enough to perfect for me. (Did you catch that Alabama reference? Great song.)

Enter the Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie. I was so excited because as I mentioned earlier, I visited Ma Peche while in NYC and got to grab dessert from the Milk Bar as well. I was so excited to find this recipe for their famed cookie, complete with detailed instructions and timed mixing cycles perfectly laid out. And lo and behold if they didn't turn out the opposite of large and thick and deliciously salty and sweet. They spread more than I thought cookies could by-definition spread. They were incredibly flat. And they were more salty than sweet. I had to rename them Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Bars instead of Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookies. (When I do fail, I try to make it look like I didn't fail by changing the names of things (and sometimes the rules) so that it applies.)

I did everything as it said even refrigerating overnight but I don't know what happened. Maybe I needed a bigger pan. Maybe my baking soda and baking powder were old (I do have the tendency to ignore expiration dates on food) or maybe! Oh! Maybe! It's a conspiracy and they purposefully botched the recipe so you could only get the REAL Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie from the actual Milk Bars! I bet that's it . . . and this way, I only partially failed. But only because I was led down that path by the conniving minds of others. See how I do that? Pretty impressive right?

Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Bars
The Amateur Gourmet (I'm ignoring the fact his look normal in his pictures.)


1 c butter (unsalted preferably)
1 c granulated sugar
3/4 c light brown sugar
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsps Kosher salt (I would drop this down a bit -- mine were pretty salty especially since you use salty snack food.)
1 1/2 c your favorite baking ingredients (options: chocolate chips, Raisenettes, Rollos, Cocoa Krispies. I used Milk Duds thinking they were the size of TicTacs.)
1 1/2 c your favorite snack foods (chips, pretzels, etc. I used Pretzels)

1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for two to three minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides with a spatula.

2. On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.

3. When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Mix 45 - 60 seconds just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

4. On the same low speed, add in the hodgepodge of your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30 - 45 seconds until they evenly mix into the dough. Add in your favorite snack foods last, paddling again on low speed until they are just incorporated.

5. Using a 6 oz. ice cream scoop, portion cookie dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan.

6. Wrap scooped cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour or up to 1 week.

DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape. (This is a lie, mine did not hold their shape even though mine were refrigerated for 24 hours.)

7. Heat the oven to 400 F. Take the plastic off your cookies and bake 9 to 11 minutes. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread (no kidding).

At 9 minutes, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for the additional minutes if these colors don't match up and your cookies still seem pale and doughy on the surface.

8. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before transferring to a plate or an airtight container or tin for storage. At room temp, they'll keep five days. (This step could also be - 8. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before slicing them into bars and transferring them to a plate . . .)

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