Wednesday 27 September 2017

Compost cookies

I didn't make it to the east coast on this latest trip to the US, but I transported myself there in a California kitchen by making Christina Tosi's famous compost cookies. Tosi is chef and owner of Milk Bar, Momofuku's bakery offshoot in New York City (and now scattered all over the country... and Canada). Her creations include crack pie - which is as advertised - and these similarly addictive cookies.

Potato chips, butterscotch, pretzels, graham crackers, oats, ground coffee... more is more here - sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy... These have it all. The name is deceptive, implying something just thrown together without much thought but there's a science to these, a precision that speaks to the process Tosi goes through to create. She's an alchemist, engineering quite possibly the perfect cookie. They don't look like much but believe me, they're memorable, and appeal to adults and kids alike. They're especially fun to make with kids as they get to crush up potato chips and pretzels, and sample all the sweet stuff along the way - shout out to Linus, my able apprentice, and his mum for the beautiful photos.

Compost cookies
Adapted from a recipe by Christina Tosi, via Gourmet Traveller 

It's important to use ground coffee not instant coffee in this recipe as the latter will apparently dissolve disastrously into the dough. For glucose, you could substitute corn syrup or brown rice (malt) syrup. For butterscotch chips, which aren't as readily available in Australia, I'd use more chocolate chips (white or dark) or perhaps chop up some caramels. Just note before starting: you'll need to refrigerate the cookies for at least one hour before baking, so allow for that in your prep time. They're worth the wait, I promise.

225g / 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature  
200g / 1 cup sugar  
150g / 2/3 cup light brown sugar  
50g / 2 tbsp liquid glucose 
1 egg 
½ tsp vanilla extract 
225g / 1 1/3 cups flour  
½ tsp baking powder 
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 tsp sea salt
150g / 3/4 cup chocolate chips  
100g / 1/2 cup butterscotch chips  
40g / 1/3 cup rolled oats 
2½ tsp ground coffee  
50g / 2 cups potato chips (Kettle Chips, or similar)
50g / 1 cup mini pretzels     

graham crust  
80g / 1/3 cup Graham cracker crumbs or crushed digestive biscuits   
10g / 1 tbsp milk powder  
15g / 1 1/2 tsp sugar  
15g / 1 tbsp butter, melted  
30ml / 1 tbsp pouring cream 

For graham crust, toss cracker crumbs, milk powder, sugar and 1/8 tsp salt with your hands in a bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients. Whisk butter and cream in a small bowl to combine, add to dry ingredients, toss until small clusters form and set aside.

Beat butter, sugars and liquid glucose in an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, scrape down sides of bowl, add egg and vanilla and beat until very pale and fluffy (7-8 minutes). Reduce speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sea salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute - be careful not to overmix. Mixing on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, Graham crust, oats and coffee and mix just until incorporated - about 30 seconds. Add chips and pretzels and beat on low speed until just incorporated, taking care not to overmix or break too many of the pretzels or potato crisps.  

Scoop portions of cookie dough with a 70ml ice-cream scoop/1/4 cup measuring cup (or just use your hands to roll a ball about that size) onto trays lined with baking paper. Pat tops of cookie dough domes flat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to a week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature – they will not bake properly. 

Preheat oven to 180C. Arrange the portions of chilled dough 16cm apart on oven trays lined with baking paper and bake until faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the centre (18 minutes). The cookies will puff, crackle and spread. 

Cool completely on trays. Store in an airtight container for 5 days or in freezer for a month.


1 comment:

  1. Alice, these were good cookies. Linus still talks about them. You better come back and make some more. :)