Magic Doesn't Just Bake Itself In an Oven: Chocolate-Chocolate Cookies

My cousin gave me a copy of Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi for my birthday a couple of months ago, but I procrastinated a bit before trying out any of the recipes; I was still smarting from my repeated failed attempts (see here and here) to make Tosi's compost cookies. I have successfully made Tosi's famed crack pie and her cereal-milk panna cotta, but this cookbook is filled with fairly complicated recipes that are a bit intimidating. It is not for the faint of heart, and I would certainly not recommend it for beginning bakers.

I decided to start with one of the simplest recipes in the cookbook, "chocolate-chocolate cookies." Tosi describes these cookies as an ode to the fudgy brownie. While I would normally expect a "chocolate-chocolate" cookie to have chocolate chips or chunks in chocolate batter, this cookie has chocolate crumbs in chocolate batter. There is an entire chapter in the cookbook called "the crumb" which includes recipes for different types of crumbs (milk crumb, berry milk crumb, malted milk crumb, chocolate crumb, birthday cake crumb, pie crumb), and the various baked goods that include crumbs as a component. To make the chocolate crumbs, you mix together flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and melted butter until the mixture comes together in small clusters. You spread the clusters on a parchment or Silpat-lined pan and bake them for a bit; they dry out and harden as they cool. (Watch a video of Tosi making the crumbs and some recipes that use them, including these cookies, here.)

To make the cookies, you cream together butter, glucose, and sugar for 2-3 minutes, and then beat the mixture for another 7-8 minutes after adding egg, vanilla, and melted chocolate. Then you mix in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the chocolate crumbs. I followed the mixing directions exactly; there is an entire section in the "techniques" chapter of the cookbook entitled, "the ten-minute creaming process, or why milk bar cookies taste so damn good." The cookbook states that, "In order to achieve the improbable crispy-on-the-outside, fudgy-and-slightly-underbaked-in-the-center defining texture of a Milk Bar cookie -- defying science and gravity -- a serious creaming process is required. I will go so far as to say it is the most important step in making a Milk Bar cookie..." (emphasis in original). After explaining the science behind the creaming process, the section concludes with, "Take this process seriously. Magic doesn't just bake itself in an oven. You can certainly make delicious cookies even without a mixer, melting the butter and mixing the dough with a wooden spoon. But not these cookies." So I set my kitchen timer and made sure that I got in my full 10 minutes of mixing.

After you make the dough, you scoop it out, flatten the scoops a bit, and then refrigerate the cookies before baking. The recipe instructs you to use a 2 and 3/4 ounce scoop, which would be a #12 scoop. I thought that seemed excessively large, so I used a #24 scoop instead. I got exactly 26 cookies from each batch of dough using the smaller scoop.

Because I made my cookies smaller than suggested, I was unsure how long the baking time should be (the recipe says 18 minutes for the larger cookies). As the recipe states, "It's tough (kind of impossible) to gauge if a cookie that is this dark with chocolate is done." I made a guess and baked the cookies for 13 minutes. They were still not set in the center when I pulled them out, but they firmed up upon cooling.

When sampling the raw dough, you could definitely detect the sandy texture of the chocolate crumbs; this texture seemed to be lost during baking. However, these cookies have a very deep chocolate flavor. They taste like they have some espresso in them, even though they don't. In the future, I would reduce the baking time by a minute or two, because I think my cookies were a little overdone, as they were more crisp than chewy. I would also like to try this recipe again making the cookies with a #12 scoop, because I suspect that the larger size cookies may also have a better texture. (There are definitely some cookies where the size of the cookie affects the texture; Jacques Torres' salted chocolate chip cookie recipe is one of them. You can read here about why big cookies offer the possibility of having multiple textures in the same cookie.)

This was still a very good, very chocolately cookie. It was definitely not the best chocolate cookie I've ever had -- but I want to give it another try. I should have just followed the directions with regard to cookie size and baking times. I think that improvising is a bad idea with these recipes -- after all, magic doesn't just bake itself in an oven!

Recipe: "Chocolate-Chocolate Cookies," from Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi; recipe available here at, or here (along with a video of Christina showing how to make them) on the Today Show website.


Louise said…
Some of the Milk Bar goodies are just too sweet for my taste, but I'm sure I'll try these cookies. I'll be in NYC all this week just for fun so I'll be trying a variety of bake shops. :-)
Strange chemistry happens in cookies with extended beating. In Carole Walter's 2003 "Great Cookies", for Aniseplatzchen, the sugar and eggs are beaten for > 20 minutes, then the flour, etc. is added and mixed for another 3 min. The cookies stand uncovered for at least 8 hours. The result is a cookie that gets a meringue-like crust and a chewy center. Interesting stuff. I'll probably have to try more Milk Bar recipes just for the experimentation.