My office thinks I'm trying to make them fat. I'm not really. I'm trying to keep myself from getting fat. It's not malicious, it's just selfish. I like to make savory things and I'm even getting the hang of this baking thing. The problem is, if I leave that stuff hanging out in my apartment, with only Will and myself to eat it, it's going to get eaten. Upside Down Pear Cake for dinner suddenly seams like a GREAT idea. And so I bring the food in, and it is eaten, and amongst the "Thanks for the treats!" emails I always get one or two about how I'm trying to sabotage a diet or two. Funny, that didn't stop my office from giving me a lovely gift certificate to the Broadway Panhandle as a wedding gift. And it certainly didn't stop me from buying equipment, taking it home, and then making the office a little something as a thank you.
I am a cookie bottom burner. The first batch will be okay, just a little dark, but every batch after that, once the oven really gets going, will come out with solid black underside. The cookie will rock, if you can deal with that slightly burnt aftertaste due to that blackened bottom. I was standing in the elevator the other week with a coworker, Jason, who had received a roll of silicone that was to be placed on a baking sheet. He regaled me with the wonders of it, the non stick surface, and the perfectly cooked cookies that came off them. I wanted to bake a perfect cookie. After my shopping trip, my new SilPat lying on my kitchen counter, I knew exactly which cookie I wanted to perfect too.
A fan of the David Chang empire--as evidenced by the great time I had at Momofuku Noodle Bar--I have long been customer of Momofuku Milk Bar. It's a little place tucked behind Momofuku Ssam Bar on East 10th St, there are tables you can lean on but no chairs, and there isn't an alcoholic drink to be had. It's one of my favorite places to take out of town guests (Holly, Mike, Amira, I'm looking at you!) because after a night of drinking in the East Village, there's something so awesome about going to a bakery that is still open at 11pm for cookies and milk. These aren't your run of the mill desserts either. There's a cookie with cornflake and marshmallow. There is PB & J soft serve. The milk is flavored to taste like cereal, so you immediately feel like you're about five years old, in your footie pajamas, sitting in front of Saturday morning cartoons while you drink it. And then there is my very favorite cookie. The Compost Cookie. It is a cookie filled with wondrous things, chips, pretzels, a true monument to the American Junk Food Diet, all in one cookie. It manages to be sweet and salty all at once, finally bringing these two distinct camps of snackers together. This is a wonder cookie. It would be mine.
Now the recipe for the Cereal Milk you can actually find on Martha Stewart's website, apparently she did a whole feature on the place. You can even find their recipe for their famous "Crack" Pie (it is the East Village after all). But the Compost Cookie, that recipe is a guarded secret, it's not even in the Momofuku cookbook I'm coveting. One intrepid blogger, however, took it upon himself to make his own knock off recipe. God bless Greg Johnson at the Oatmeal CookieBlog. When a recipe calls for "Roughly crushed" junk food, that means I get to take a bag of Fritos and beat the hell out of it. That part was fun. Since I basically didn't change this recipe at all, and Greg obviously did a lot of work creating it, I'm not going to repost the recipe here, you'll just have to follow this link to his site and you'll see the exact recipe I used.
They were a huge hit. I got seven "Yum" emails, and zero "Why are you doing this to me?" emails, which I will take as a double complement. One woman who had a meeting and no time to eat grabbed one and said it saved her life. Salty, sweet, a tribute to all processed food, and a life saver. You see? Wonder cookie.
Editors Note: After writing this blog an interview with David Chang was written saying that Milk Bar pastry chef Christina Tosi is working on a cookbook. I am nearly mad with joy and anticipation! Also while I have your attention, a few people have complained about how hard it is to add this blog to their RSS Feed. I have put a tool in the right hand column to make it easier! Have a great weekend all!