Let’s start with the butter. Then the recipe. Straight form the pages from Milk cooking book.
The ten-minute creaming process, or why milk bar cookies are so damn good
In order to achieve the improbable crispy-on the outside, fudgy-and-slightly-underbaked-in-the-center defining texture of Milk Bar cookie—defying science and gravity-a serious creaming process is required. I will do as far as to say it is the most important step in making a Milk Bar cookie. Making a cookie dough is the first thing that any of our cooks learn how to do. Everyone thinks they know how to mix a cookie, but I disagree.
The basics are as follows:
-Use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Make sure both the bowl and the paddle are at room temperature (not hot out of the dishwasher or dishwater).
-Use room temperature butter (65 to 70 F). Butter that’s too warm will make butter soup; butter that’s too cold will take twice as long to cream properly.
-Beat the butter and sugar(s) together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. (If the recipe calls for glucose, add it with the butter and sugar.) This dissolves the sugar while incoprporating small pockets of air into the mixture. The air pockets develop as the sugar granules cut into the butter and sugar.
-Use either cold or room temperature eggs; room-temperature ones will incorporate more quickly.
-Add the eggs one by one, waiting for each one to be incorporated before adding the next. The paddle on high for 7-8 minutes. The eggs help to strengthen and emulsify the bond.
-If the recipe calls for vanilla extract, add it with the eggs.
-If the butter ever begins to separate or turn into soup on you, throw everything into the fridge for 5 minutes, let butter firm up, and try again.
You can think of this process in terms of how a croissant bakes. Butter is made up of fat, milk solids, and water. As a croissant bakes, the water content in the butter steams the delicate layers of the croissant apart, creating air pockets and a flaky dough. Without the bond between the butter and the flour, there would be no structure to hold the dough around the air pockets.
So works the bond between butter and sugar in the creaming process. The eggs are the insurance for the butter-sugar bond. In the oven, the butter-sugar bond rises and crisps up, rendering the outside of your cookie delicately crunchy texture. But if creaming is not executed properly, unbound sugars bake into a dense, sandy cookie, where excess butter without a bond and without a home seeps out into your cookie.
Signs things are going right:
-The butter mixture is a very pale yellow (with a hint of brown if brown sugar is in the mix).
-The mixture has doubled in size and looks like a cloud: puffy and voluminous, with soft peaks.
-The mixture is slightly shiny and homogenous, with just a little grit from the sugar crystals.
Take the process seriously. Magic doesn’t just bake itself in an oven. You can certainly make delicious cookies even without a mixer, melting butter and mixing the dough with a wooden spoon. But not these cookies.
MAKES 15 TO 20 COOKIES
Side note** in a pinch, substitute 25 grams (I tablespoon) corn syrup for the glucose
225g butter, at room temp
8g clear vanilla extract (see page 21)
50g milk powder
9g cream of tarter
6g baking soda
5g kosher salt
40g rainbow sprinkles
1/2 recipe Birthday Cake Crumble (page 78)
- Combine the butter, sugar, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment and cream together in medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and the eggs and vanilla and beat for 7 to 8 minutes. (See page 27 for notes on this process.)
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, milk powder, cream of tarter, baking soda, salt and rainbow sprinkles. 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 overtaxing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula.
- Still on low speed, add the birthday cake crumbs and the mix in for 30 seconds-just until they are incorporated.
- Using a 2 3/4-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1/3 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 fro at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature-they will not bake properly.
- Heat the oven 350 degrees
- Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment-or Silat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very light brown on the edges (golden brown on the bottom). The centers will show just the beginning signs of color. Leave cookies in the oven for an additional minute or so if the colors don’t match and the cookies still seem place and doughy on the surface.
- Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or airtight container for storage. At room temp, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.
birthday cake crumb
MAKES ABOUT 275 G (2 1/4 CUPS)
100g granulated sugar
25g light brown sugar
90g cake flour
2g baking powder
2g kosher salt
20g rainbow sprinkles
40g grapeseed oil
12g clear vanilla extract (see page 21)
- Heat the oven to 300F
- Combine sugars, flour, baking powder, salt and sprinles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and a mix on low speed until well combined.
- Add the oil and vanilla and paddle again to distribute. the wet ingredients will act as a glue to help the dry ingredients form small clusters; continue paddling until that happens.
- Spread the clusters on parchment paper-or Silat-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.
- 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.
Page 100. Page 78. Page 27. Page 100 again. Wait what did I forget from page 27? Back to page 100. Extended to page 101. 300 degrees cake crumbs. 375 degrees cookie mix. 350 degrees for recipe from cooking book. In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, add butter, white sugar and glucose syrup. First time, I didn’t whip right. Nor did I add the egg and vanilla when called for and I also didn’t use clear vanilla but Mexican vanilla. This batch either garbage. Maybe a “gutter sundae”. Tastes like cereal. Nothing like a snickerdoodle in fun colorful light cookie fashion. More like actual confetti. Paper confetti really. Round two. Oven temp correct. Timer started as cookies are expanding. Eighteen minutes and they look raw. Maybe I didn’t pre-heat the oven? Dunno. There was beep from my oven indicating the preheat complete. I am sure of it. I am having fun. I stare quizzically the cookies that have been chilling patiently in the fridge over night. I start again. I am obsessed with cookies and a recipe like this.
Someone made the infamous “crack Pie” for me once and explained the recipe was quite involved to say the least. I had no idea. The Milk Bar cooking book was gifted to me recently along with a confetti cookie mix and tin with instructions. Tin could also double as a cookie jar, I suppose. I am often teased for posting so many cookies on the Instagram. I can’t help it! They deserve the posts for either being exceptionally technically beautiful (macaron) or just by right of being delicious and often times being both beautiful and delicious (gooey chocolate chip) cookies. For sure these two to often be amongst the curated candid photos featured on my gram.
I make several batches. Time and temperature vary and changes due to my oven. I am basically playing around now with the recipe. I also don’t have clear vanilla and opt to use what I have on hand. I also don’t get the butter whipping right first. I switch styles of butter. Organic American and then to French butter. French has less moisture. If you haven’t seen Chef Ludo video of him in France making butter, it is an art. Here’s the video clip. Beurre Bordier. Butter matters. The process in and outside of the cookies. Again, see page 27. Back to the cookies. The cookies taste more like cereal, Fruity Peebles real to be specific, than they do a snickerdoodle sprinkles style cookies, first batch anyway. After all the test batching and being silly changing the recipe that is so beautifully and technically laid out for me, looks like this. I decide to go for the clear vanilla and make the cookies the right way after a few rounds of modifications and mess-ups . Take a look at the right and wrong ways photographed below. Some are Nikon dslr photos and some with my iphone6.
This first round looks like this. Very flat and similar to that of a cereal cookie I have in my recipes. Perhaps that is why I immediately go to the fact that these little rounds taste and look like cereal.. The butter separation is the problem and/or the order for which I add the ingredients..
Here I go again..
I use butter from Brittany, France and still Mexican Vanilla. Again, this is what I have on hand.. I want to break the rules and see what happens..
Next round.. I decide yellow sprinkles only.. will this matter? French butter again with Mexican vanilla..
these seem to be the best so far..not as pretty..colored sprinkles look so much cooler..
first the cake crumb. Also, with yellow sprinkles..
Now, with clear vanilla..and I have a clear idea of how these cookies are actually supposed to taste.
My oven isn’t pre-heating.. slightly warm.. I test three cookies on recipe recommended temperature. They are underdone. I taste. Taste delicious. Pilot light seems to be out. So, at the moment the oven is not working. Strangely, I don’t know how to light my oven pilot light and the next appointment with the gas company is available for another week. For safe measure, I put these perfectly batched cookies in the freezer. They can hang out with other wedding cake stacked neatly waiting for consumption, a fondant bow tie, my mink hat, a black wool Missoni dress, and a bottle of vodka until I can proceed with the baking once pilot is lit. Yeah, hang out for a day. Sadly, the dough is almost gone! It is absolutely tasty and I can’t wait to bake. I am a cookie dough eating monster. No cookie stack photographs to be seen from this best round.
So, all in all as you can see, (unfortunately not taste unless you were one of the lucky two) some cookies look much more delicious than others. Milk Bar is an excellent cooking book full of fun and very involved recipes and deliver nothing less than a whimsical masterpieces most certain to cater to our inner child, even when not perfectly executed by the maker.
Following the recipe is key. The recipe is a recipe for a reason.
Until Next Time..
I’ll be eating and photographing Birthday Cake Truffles and attempting the infamous Crack Pie…