Monday, April 15, 2013

a momofuku cookie

I don't consider myself a baker by any means, but part of the reason I wanted to start a food blog was to challenge myself to develop some sort of baking aptitude.

Last week I experienced a really traumatic macaron-making session where i produced 4 cookies out of what should have been a batch of 24. Nevertheless, I felt braver afterwards, and confident that I could tackle a more straightforward cookie.

I spent one trial day at the East Village Momofuku Milk Bar when I was transitioning from an unglamorous cupcake-counter job to my current job in an art gallery which, by the way, is also completely lacking in the glamour department. I'll always remember those racks and racks of Momofuku cookies, and the six or so hours I spent taking the cooled ones off the baking sheets to be packaged. So many cookies ended up on the floor that day.

Even before that ill-fated experience, baking a version of their famous compost cookie had been on my to-do list for a really long time.

I won't post a recipe because there are so many online; but I found most helpful the one on Averie Cooks and spent a lot of time studying the notes and comments on Amateur Gourmet

Some notes of my own--this cookie can definitely be achieved without a mixer; I mixed and mixed for about eleven minutes with just a wooden spoon. 

The potato chips I used were a fancy, kettle cooked variety but in the future I'll go with a blander, generic ruffle chip. I found the salty kettle cooked flavor too overpowering. 

I didn't want to splurge on a bottle of corn syrup so omitted it and survived.

I used graham cracker crumbs but will omit them in the future; there were too many competing strong flavors in my compost cookie and I'd like to play around with the ratios and aim for a more subtle combination of flavors. Similarly, I'd use only 1 tbsp of coffee instead of 2 next time.

Based on my embarrassing history of failed cookies, I'm really excited about how these turned out. True to the original, they are packed with dense flavors, both savory and sweet.

In addition to a batch of really good cookies I've also gained an appreciation for the really zen and trance-like state that baking can take you to--particularly when you have nothing but a bowl and wooden spoon to work with. It's cathartic and rewarding, and a fine way to unwind after a long workweek. 

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