Milk Bar Compost Cookies Recipe

We love nothing more than a delicious homemade cookie. Slightly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and laced with miniature puddles of melted chocolate is one life’s greatest simple pleasures. But sometimes it’s worth shaking up things (even a classic like the hallmark chocolate chip cookie) for something different. Today we’re sharing the Milk Bar Compost Cookies Recipe, which has been shared not only in Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar cookbook but on several online publications including the Milk Bar website, the LA Times, Rachel Ray, etc.

What’s In The Milk Bar Compost Cookies Recipe?

You may or may not have this hodgepodge of random ingredients on hand, but here are few to be aware of besides typical cookie ingredients like butter, salt, sugar, and flour:

  • glucose (in a pinch you can use corn syrup instead)
  • mini chocolate chips
  • mini butterscotch chips
  • ground coffee (we used ground cacao instead)
  • potato chips
  • mini pretzels
  • graham crackers
  • powdered milk

We love this chaotic harmony of so many random, juxtaposing ingredients. But the beauty of this recipe as stated in the cookbook, is that you can easily substitute one ingredient for another. The sky is the limit when it comes to your creativity. Use popcorn, cereal, nuts, dried fruit, granola, and any kind of chocolate in your pantry for these cookies. The key here is flavor and texture. Make sure there’s enough variety yet everything blends well together. And no matter what you do make sure you’re either weighing or measuring any substitutions you make so that your dough to random-ingredient ratio is spot on. Substitutions aside, we love the composition of Christina Tosi’s original Compost Cookies just as they are.

Milk Bar Compost Cookies Recipe: Four Parts

We’ve divided up this Milk Bar Compost Cookies Recipe into four easy parts so you can plan ahead and know what to expect.

  • Part One: Make the graham crust. It’s easy as pie (pun intended) but you’ll want this done before you make the cookies themselves. Just incorporate the graham cracker crumbs with a few dry ingredients, and create chunky, crumby clusters by adding butter and heavy cream. Delish.
  • Part Two: Make the cookie dough! Our favorite part of the process (besides eating the actual cookies). Spend the full 10 minutes first creaming together the butter and sugars, then the butter/sugar mixture with the egg. This creates that fantastic crisp on the outside/soft on the inside texture that is signature to Milk Bar. When it comes time to combine the flour and dry ingredients to your cookie, mix together until barely incorporated.
  • Part Three: Chill the cookies for at least one hour. We know- no one likes this part. But if you skip this step the cookies will be flat and sad. Better flavor and better shape are on the horizon if you can set a timer for 60 minutes and do something else in the meantime.
  • Part Four: Bake! The original recipe recommends baking at 375 F for 18 minutes. After trying several different temperatures and bake times, we found baking at 350 F convection for 10 minutes gave us a beautiful, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside cookie that had a nice brown edge but was still soft and bright yellow in the center. If you don’t have a convection oven, we recommend baking at 350 F for 16-18 minutes.
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Milk Bar Compost Cookies Recipe

A four-stage recipe for the famous Milk Bar Compost Cookies. Incredible flavor and texture in a fun, unconventional cookie.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword christina tosi, milk bar, milk bar compost cookies, milk bar compost cookies recipe, milk bar cookies
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Calories 337kcal

Equipment

  • Stand mixer
  • 2 3/4 ounce cookie scoop

Ingredients

Compost Cookies

  • 16 Tbsp (2 sticks) butter (225 g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 g)
  • 2/3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar (150 g)
  • 2 Tbs glucose* (50 g)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (2 g)
  • 1 1/3 cups flour (225 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (2 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (1.5 g)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (4 g)
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (150 g)
  • 1/2 cup mini butterscotch chips (100 g)
  • 1/4 recipe Graham Crust, recipe follows (85 g)
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats (40 g)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground coffee** (5 g)
  • 2 cups potato chips*** (50 g)
  • 1 cup mini pretzels (50 g)

Graham Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (190 g)
  • 1/4 cup milk powder/dried milk (20 g)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (25 g)
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt (3 g)
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter (55 g)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (55 g)

Instructions

Graham Crust (Makes 2 Cups)

  • Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients. Whisk the butter and heavy cream together. add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1½ tablespoons) butter and mix it in.
  • Eat immediately, or deploy as directed in a recipe. The crust is easiest to mold just after mixing. Stored in an airtight container, graham crust will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or for 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

Cookie Dough

  • Combine the butter, sugars, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 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 over mixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  • Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham crust, oats, and coffee and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the potato chips and pretzels and paddle, still on low speed, until just incorporated. Be careful not to over mix or break too many of the pretzels or potato chips. You deserve a pat on the back if one of your cookies bakes off with a whole pretzel standing up in the center.

Scoop & Chill

  • Using a 2 3/4 oz 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 for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature— they will not bake properly.

Bake

  • In the meantime heat oven to 350 degrees F (see notes). Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or silpat-lined sheet pans. Parchment-lined pans will help keep the shape of the cookies better. Bake for 16-18 minutes (see notes). The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. Remove cookies from oven when they are faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if that’s not the case.
  • Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. At room temp, cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

Notes

*In a pinch, substitute 1 tablespoon (18 g) corn syrup for the glucose.
** If you aren't a coffee drinker or don't have coffee grounds on hand, you can substitute for cacao nibs (we used Crio Bru) or add more of other cookie ingredients such as oats, chocolate chips, etc.
***Try to find a thicker, more substantial potato chip for this cookie. At Milk Bar they use Cape Cod potato chips because they aren’t paper-thin, and so they do not break down too much in the mixing process.
  • Similar to the Milk Bar Cornflake Cookies, we found the baking temperature and time of 375 F for 18 minutes to be too hot and too long. We tested three additional temperatures and bake times and conclude that the best way to prepare these cookies is at 350 F convection for 10 minutes, or 350 F non-convection (regular bake setting) for 16-18 minutes. Make sure and pull the cookies from the oven when the edges are golden brown and the center of the cookie is still bright yellow. 
  • To make your Compost Cookies more visually appealing, gently press a whole or cracked miniature pretzel into the top of the dough before refrigerating.

 

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