The Name Says It All: Compost Cookies Destined For the Garbage Heap

Last week a friend of mine sent me a link to this blog post by David Lebovitz, describing his experience with Christina Tosi's recipe for Compost Cookies. Seeing as how I was pretty happy with Tosi's Crack Pie recipe when I tried it out last week, I set out to try making the Compost Cookie as soon as possible. Live with Regis and Kelly recently aired a segment where Kelly visited Tosi at Milk Bar and learned how to make the cookie; you can watch the segment here [apparently this video segment has been removed]. The show website also provides the recipe.

The Compost Cookie is a cookie that has a whole bunch of random sweet and salty stuff in it. According to Tosi, the version at Momofuku Milk Bar contains potato chips, pretzels, coffee grounds, chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, and butterscotch chips. When Kelly Ripa visited the bakery, she and Tosi made a version with Fritos, Ritz crakers, Goldfish crackers, Rolos, chocolate chips, Cocoa Krispies, and Raisinettes.

This concept doesn't seem all that strange to me. One of my favorite cookie recipes has pretzel bits in it, and while I'm not sure if they're still available, Immaculate Baking Company used to offer cookies that included Route 11 potato chips. I am a big fan of salty and sweet flavors mixed together. Tom and I have perhaps never had as much fun at the grocery store as when we were shopping for my compost ingredients; we spent the whole time just looking for junk food. In the end, I decided to go with Whoppers, Milk Duds, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, chocolate chips, Cocoa Krispies, and Cape Cod Potato Chips.

I made the dough, scooped out 4 oz. balls of dough (I used a #16 scoop and got 22 cookies), and refrigerated the scooped dough for 48 hours before baking. The dough was extremely soft, and I wanted to make sure that the dough was really well chilled so that the cookies maintained their shape during baking. I was also thinking that these might be a bit like Jacques Torres's chocolate chip cookie recipe that was published in the New York Times, where the dough benefits from several days in the fridge.

Unfortunately, my efforts failed and the result was a complete loss (although I was somewhat comforted by the fact that David Lebovitz suffered the same fate when he tried the recipe the first time). The cookies spread excessively and ended up very flat -- the finished cookies were four and a half inches in diameter and only one quarter inch tall. They were close to burned on the outside and yet raw and soggy in the middle. I realized afterwards that the problem might be traceable to the fact that I only chilled the dough, and not the cookie sheets I ended up using, before I baked the cookies. Sigh.

I would never serve these to anyone. These Compost Cookies went right into the garbage. That said, the part of the cookies that was fully cooked on the outside edge was pretty darn tasty. The cookies had an extremely chewy texture, and you could really taste the Milk Duds and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I thought that the cereal, malt balls, and potato chips would add a nice crunchy texture, but I couldn't detect any of these ingredients in the final cookie (I wouldn't rule out the possibility that they all got soggy during the extended period of refrigeration, especially since I chopped the Whoppers before I mixed them into the batter). I'm going to have to try this recipe again, and I will definitely try chilling or freezing the baking sheets beforehand -- I've still got quite a selection of junk food around to use for my next effort!

Recipe: "Compost Cookies" from chef Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar.


Louise said…
Check out my friend Anna Ginsberg's success. David Lebovitz references it in a recent comment.
Anna thinks it's a difference in the way flour is measured. Anna won the 2006 Pillsbury Bake Off, but not baking cookies.
Thanks so much for the tip -- I'm very excited to try the recipe again, and I'll follow her advice!