Milk Bar Love!

While I was off neglecting my blog all kinds of stuff happened. But since I can’t spend all the time it would take to catch up completely, I’m going to just write about a few cool things that happened.

My awesome friend from NYC sent out some Momofuko Milk Bar treats for my boys’ 9th birthday.

Everyone knows how much I love Milk Bar and how many of their recipes I’ve baked, so it was amazing to finally get to see how mine measured up. I’m happy to say I was pretty much on the mark! The boys, of course, loved everything.

IMG_5179.JPG

IMG_5180.JPG

IMG_5178.JPG

IMG_5177.JPG

Milk Bar: Ritz Crunch

20130321-212400.jpg

I actually have no idea why I’m making this (other than the fact that I had all the ingredients) as I have no immediate plans for it. It is used in the Milk Bar cook book in the Grapefruit Pie recipe, but try as I might I can not work up any interest to make that pie yet. (although the blog post that I linked the recipe to actually made it seem like something I may want to consider later in the summer)

20130321-212810.jpg

The recipe for the crunch alone is super super easy and the same for all of the Milk Bar crunches: corn flake, fruity pebble, pretzel, etc. I will probably end up using this in a new batch of Compost Cookies.

20130321-213015.jpg

You start with a sleeve of crackers. The recipe says to crush them with your fingers, but I have soft lady hands that do not like the feel of sharp crackers in their palms so I use my rolling pin to crush them instead. Crushing things with the rolling pin is super fun, but you do have to be careful because you don’t want to get carried away and pulverize the crackers. They need to be roughly 1/4 their original size.

20130321-213435.jpg

Once you have the crackers all set you just dump in the rest of the dry ingredients: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup milk powder, 1/2 kosher salt.

20130321-213551.jpg

7 tablespoons of melted butter binds it all together and creates tasty little clumps that you transfer to a silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes or until they look toasted and smell buttery.

20130321-213822.jpg

They are in the oven right now and when they are finished I will cool them and store in an airtight container. They will keep fresh at room temp for 1 week or in the fridge or freezer for 1 month.

20130321-215556.jpg

Update: Oh, god. This is NOT going to last in my house. I just went over to the cooling pan and prepared to store the crunch, I noticed big yummy pieces that looked like flakey nut brittle and grabbed one to try. HOLY MOTHER…it was good. So delicious and addictive–it took me completely by surprise. I handed my sweet husband a piece and he did the holy shit double take. Tiny G even approved. Yum, yum, yum.

20130321-220924.jpg

20130322-134718.jpg

20130322-134738.jpg

Bagel Bomb PS:

So the second batch of bombs is in the oven right now. I was able to do the whole process, egg wash, sprinkling with bagel mix, etc. (little G is asleep with Daddy)

Here are a few pictures that I didn’t have last time:

Cream cheese plug in a dough round:

20130317-235200.jpg

Bring each corner up, seal around the plug then roll the ball around in your palms to smooth into a dinner-roll shape:

20130317-235239.jpg

Egg wash time!:

20130317-235335.jpg

My everything bagel mix was just enough for two batches of bombs, or 16. (C and I ate 2 each already even though neither one of us was particularly hungry!)

I am already obsessed with ways to customize these. Clearly I need a fresh batch of mother dough (once I wash my mixer bowl) then I can try these guys with strawberry/cream cheese plugs and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Yummmmm….

Ok, the second batch just came out of the oven and they are perfect! They stayed much more round than the first batch and there was NO oiliness. They were completely dry the whole time and browned really nice and evenly. I can’t wait to have some with my littles in the morning over coffee and chocolate milk!!

20130318-002616.jpg

Bagel Bombs Part 1

20130317-193415.jpg

Ok so I have the mother dough on stand-by. The only thing that kept me from making bagel bombs sooner was a trip to the store to get the dry ingredients for the everything bagel mix. I didn’t want to skip this step because I love everything bagels and wanted to make the recipe exactly as is for my first time.

20130317-193701.jpg

Once the mix was made I got to work on the cream cheese plugs. The cream cheese was creamed alone in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment while I cooked the bacon. A slice was a little less than an ounce and the recipe calls for 1 3/4 ounces. I love bacon and so does my family (especially my Moomers) so I used 3 slices. I know I just said that I wanted to follow the recipe exactly but I thought that since I had more bacon and therefore would have more bacon fat that I should use the full package of cream cheese (8oz.) instead of the 7 the recipe called for.

20130317-193743.jpg

I was a little nervous pouring still-warm bacon grease into the softened cream cheese and at first it was an oily mess. Then the miracle of emulsification occurred and it turned cohesive and glossy, like buttercream. Bacon buttercream. Swoon.

20130317-193901.jpg

Next in was the bacon, sugar, salt and scallions. I really need a digital kitchen scale because I have no g.d clue how much 2g of scallion greens is–so I chopped up a few pieces until it looked about right. (I’m guessing about half a tsp. is about right, but since the pieces are big-ish it’s hard to gauge that way)

I decided to freeze the finished mixture in the deep freeze for 30 or so minutes so I can scoop out more firm balls instead of an oozy puddle.

Once the plugs freeze for a few hours (may take less in the badass deep freeze) then I can go on to the next step: baking the bombs!!!! We will have bagel bombs for breakfast!!!!

Everything Bagel Mix:

3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbs white sesame seeds
2 tsp black sesame seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 Tbs dried onion
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Mix, store in an airtight container. Keeps for 6 months or so.

Bacon, Scallion, Cream Cheese Plugs:

1 3/4 smoky bacon
7oz cream cheese
2 g scallion greens
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Cook bacon until auburn and crunchy. Remove, chop. Save bacon far. Cream cheese on medium, add fat, mix til blended. Add rest of ingredients then mix briefly. Scoop into 8 even lumps, freeze til solid 1-3 hours. Once frozen they are ready to be used or can be stored for up to 1 month.

To be continued….

Confetti Cookies

20130312-195506.jpg

I have loved every cookie I have made from the Milk Bar cook book. I love the giant chewy cookies the recipes produce and am not really sure I can go back to “normal” cookies. I used to scoff at prep work for baking. Freeze the dough first? Pfffft….but now I don’t mind starting the process ahead of time. My favorite thing is to start around G’s bedtime so I can prepare the dough, throw it in the freezer, then clean up from the day (random baby toys, discarded snacks, dinner dishes) for the hour it needs to get ready for the oven. Milk bar cookies have a super high butter-to-flour ratio so if you threw them right in the over without freezing the scooped-out dough first they would melt into a sad cookie-puddle.

20130312-193444.jpg

One of the unique aspects of the Milk Bar technique is the addition of crumbs. They literally have a section in the book on how to make different flavored crumbs. After living with kids for 7+ years I never imagined I would have to do anything special to have crumbs laying around but in this case they are used to create depth and texture in cookies and cakes and can be sprinkled on dessert plates or on top of ice cream.

20130312-193414.jpg

This is the second cookie I’ve made that has required a crumb mix-in (the first being the chocolate-chocolate cookie) and I almost forgot to add the crumbs in before I baked the cookies. I’m glad I remembered because I do think it adds to the flavor. You get little chunky-sandy bits of vanilla and sprinkles that almost tastes like little leftover birthday cake pieces when you take a bite of a soft snickerdoodle-inspired cookie. (the difference between a plain sugar cookie and a snickerdoodle is the addition of cream of tartar. On a classic snickerdoodle you roll them in cinnamon-sugar but that is omitted for this cookie.

Confetti Cookies:

Yield: 15-20 large cookies (I got 18)
Cook Time: 18 minutes (in my oven it’s more like 13-15 so keep a close eye, they are meant to come out still very pale!)

Ingredients:

(for the confetti cookies)

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbs. glucose (or 1 Tbs. corn syrup–do not omit!!)
2 eggs
2 tsp. clear vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cups milk powder
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
1/2 recipe of birthday cake crumb, recipe below

For the birthday cake crumb:

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. tightly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbs. rainbow sprinkles
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (all I had on hand was canola…just make sure it’s a clear-colored oil)
1 Tbs. clear vanilla extract

Directions:

(for the crumb)
Heat oven to 300 degrees.

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 until well-combined.

Add the oil and vanilla and mix to combine. The wet ingredients act as a glue to allow the dry ingredients to form clusters. Continue to mix until that happens.

Spread the clusters on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally, as needed. Mine actually only took 18 minutes or so. Take them out of the oven before they harden; they should remain slightly moist to the touch. They will harden as they cool.

Let the crumbs cool completely before using or storing. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature or up to 1 month in the refrigerator or freezer.

Cookies:

Combine the butter, sugar and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix for 7-8 minutes. At the end of 7-8 minutes the mixture should very pale yellow and doubled in size. It should be very shiny, homogenous, fluffy and resemble a cloud. (See notes below.)

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the flour, milk powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and sprinkles. Mix just until the dough comes together, not longer than 1 minute and don’t walk away during this step, just to make sure that you don’t overmix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

With the mixer on low speed, add the birthday cake crumbs and mix in for about 30 seconds, just until incorporated.

Scoop the dough onto a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan using a 2 3/4 ounce ice cream scoop (mine is a #16), or use a 1/3 cup measuring cup. Flatten the cookies slightly and wrap the pan in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour, I refrigerated mine overnight.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. (I normally do 345 because my oven runs hot)

Arrange the chilled dough on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet. I only bake 6 at a time. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes they should be very lightly browned on the edges. The centers will just slightly show a change in color. Leave the cookies in the oven for another minute or so if they seem doughy or the colors aren’t quite right. They will look slightly dry at the edges but and be just beginning to brown, but still be pretty pale.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to store. At room temperature the cookies will keep for 5 days.

*Recipe from Christina Tosi via Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook

20130312-192710.jpg

Thoughts on Banana Cream Pie

20130302-132454.jpg

My husband convinced me to practice restraint and not cut the pie last night, so I just cut a slice to try it out.

Sadly, I think that the color just freaks me out too much to be able to love the pie. Pies are already at a disadvantage with me because when given the choice I will choose a chewy cookie or a fluffy cake any day over a slice of pie. This didn’t really apply to Crack Pie because it was so freaking tasty, but with banana cream I’m just like…meh.

Another issue I had was that although the cream filling set really nicely and seemed to be the right texture, the crust was hard for me to get out. I like a good cohesive crust and this just isn’t happening here. My cutting skillz could be suspect, so I will see how the slices my honey cuts look.

I love banana and I love pudding-y, creamy fillings so I am not disappointed here, but I may try the banana cream out in the other Milk Bar recipe it’s featured in: banana cream cake. (yes, Oprah’s favorite cake)

The funny thing is, the yellow color just made me want to make a fresh batch of corn cookies (the first recipe I tried and one of my favorites so far) instead of trying a new recipe.

Aside from just wanting to make more cookies, I’m not sure what new adventure awaits me in the Momofuku Milk Bar cook book. When I feel like I’ve sufficiently conquered it I will either go on to the Bouchon cook book or try out something from a Martha Stewart book my sister in law recently gifted me.

I do have to say, I do feel bread whispering in my ear so that just may be the next big project. My sweetie and I have been talking for months about making bread baking our ‘couple’s bonding time’–he bought me some bread cook books and a baguette pan for my birthday and I think it’s just about time. I sampled some yummy Easy Tiger sourdough at Whole Foods the other day and it definitely planted a seed.

What’s going on in your kitchen this weekend?

Mustard Pie

20130301-215629.jpg

This evening after dinner I started on my banana cream pie.
Since I was using frozen bananas instead of fresh, I was a little nervous at how things would turn out.

20130301-215607.jpg

I put the bananas in the blender and added heavy cream and half & half instead of heavy cream and milk because I was out of milk. Next in was cornstarch, salt, sugar and egg yolks. After it was blended it went into a medium saucepan to be whisked and thickened. In the cook book it said that the mixture will “resemble thick glue, bordering on cement, with a color to match” and she was totally right. At that point I thought maybe the darkness of the defrosted bananas wouldn’t matter.

20130301-220004.jpg

A bit of bloomed gelatin and butter went into the blender with the bananas for round two of mixing. After it was all ready it was time to add yellow food coloring. This is one of the issues I have with the book: I am a bit of an ingredient snob because of my holistic background and some of the stuff she uses (food dye, crap cereals…) gives me a bit of anxiety. But I gamely tossed in more and more yellow until I had squeezed most of the bottle in there. Ew.

20130301-220248.jpg

It was looking a bit like baby poop yellow curry but I didn’t worry since I knew I’d later be mixing it with heavy cream and powdered sugar and it would probably lighten up. I threw it in the deep freeze to rapidly chill and got to work on the crust.

20130301-220428.jpg

20130301-220511.jpg

20130301-220532.jpg

The first time I made one of the Milk Bar pies (Crack Pie) I felt like I didn’t add enough butter, like maybe the oat crust was too dry when I tried to press it into the pie plate. So this time I added more butter until it formed a really cohesive ball. This may not have really been necessary since the Crack Pie crust was later baked and it was perfect. But this crust was definitely prettier although maybe I should have baked it a bit. Instead I just followed the recipe. (except I did add some graham crumbs because I was worried I didn’t have quite enough chocolate crumbs to make a good crust)

20130301-220735.jpg

By the time the crust was done the banana mixture was chilled through and ready to be whisked into heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar to finish the filling.

20130301-221244.jpg

Even after the banana was mixed with the whipped cream it still had a crazy color. If we like the pie, next time I’ll make it with fresh bananas and see what that color looks like. Or maybe I’ll just leave the food coloring out. I’m ok with a grayish-colored pie! 😉 It has been chilling in the fridge for a bit so I may go scoop some out and see how it tastes. I think the mustard-y color actually looked kind of cool with the deep brown crust. Very 70’s.

20130301-221813.jpg

I did read a blog where the person who attempted the pie said that the pie filling remained loose, kind of pudding-ish so she didn’t cut cohesive slices but just kind of scooped it out. I was planning on leaving it overnight in the fridge to set with the hopes that I’d get pretty pieces but if that isn’t going to happen I’d like to sample my creation tonight. There were no pictures of the pie after it had been cut in the cook book so I’m not quite sure what to expect.

Next Up:

20130301-141822.jpg

I think the Milk Bar Banana Cream Pie needs to happen at some point today. I freeze super ripe bananas (much to my husband’s chagrin) and I think today is the day they will become a yummy pie. I had chocolate crumb leftover from the chocolate-chocolate cookies so that can be used for the crust.

20130301-142721.jpg

Ooh! When I was looking for a chocolate crumb photo I stumbled upon a tumblr page where someone basically did a Julie/Julia with the Milk Bar cook book. Can’t wait to read it, I just skimmed a bit.