Thursday, February 19, 2015

Milkbar Corn Cookies



I'm not exactly sure why I've been hankering to try making Christina Tosi's Corn Cookies from Momofuku Milkbar for awhile now. Maybe the fond memories of going shopping for freeze-dried food at Mountain Equipment Co-op with my dad before Girl Guide camping trips? Whatever the reason, I bought a couple of bags of freeze-dried corn at MEC eons ago, with intentions of making these cookies, and just never got around to it. Which wasn't a big deal, because freeze-dried corn ain't going anywhere. 

But then it was Family Day and we were headed to my parents for a taco party. Never one to show up somewhere empty handed, and feeling like corn cookies would be a nice sweet ending to a Mexican fiesta, I got to work. A little blitz in the blender, a little (a lot) of creaming, a little stirring, and these bright yellow babies were ready for the big time. 


I had basically zero expectations about what these would taste like when I started baking. I wasn't sure if they would be good or just odd. So when I took my first bite of a cooled cookie, I was entirely blown away. These tasted unlike anything I'd ever had before, and yet like so many things that I love--buttery popcorn, corn on the cob dripping with butter and salt, creamy polenta, the fragrance of tortillas fresh off the press. There's something about the pulverized freeze dried corn, which is just so corny, that makes the butter flavour sing, get big and gutsy and completely addictive. (I made a batch of really very good Cook's Illustrated chocolate chip cookies later the same week, and their butteriness--despite containing basically the same amount--was wimpy in comparison.) The leftover cookies stayed at my parents, and I've been getting text messages all week containing little more than groans of pleasure. These are good cookies, worthy of making just for snacking, but even better (I'm betting) as Christina recommends you use them, as the bread in a strawberry ice cream sandwich. 




The packages of freeze-dried corn I bought at MEC, two of them, added up to about 55g of corn powder. Rather than buy a third package and have bits left over, I subbed in 10g of masa harina, which I keep on hand for making tortillas, and for making polenta taste extra corny. Don't feel like you need to do the same, but keep in mind that the recipe is forgiving if you don't come up with precisely the amount of corn powder you need--sub in some masa, fine cornmeal, or more of the corn flour. 

Go find yourself some freeze-dried corn and get on these. I promise you'll want to. 


Christina Tosi's Milkbar Corn Cookies

Ingredients

225g unsalted butter, cold or at room temperature
300g raw cane sugar
1 egg
225g all purpose flour
45g corn flour
10g masa harina
55g freeze-dried corn powder (two packages from MEC, blitzed in the blender or food processor until completely pulverized)
3g baking powder
1.5g baking soda
6g kosher salt

Instructions

If your butter is cold, beat it in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment for a couple of minute, until it is softened and fluffy, before adding the sugar. Cream together butter and sugar using the paddle attachment for 2-3 minutes at medium speed.

Add the egg, raise the speed to medium-high, and continue beating for 7-8 minutes. Yup, you heard me right.

In the meantime, get your dry ingredients together and line 4 half-sheet pans with Silpat or parchment paper. When the egg-butter-sugar mixture is finished beating, at which point it should be light and fluffy, add in the dry ingredients and mix, still using the paddle attachment, on low speed just until combined. Using a sturdy spatula, give the mixture a stir right down to the bottom to make sure that there are no uncombined pockets of flour or corn sitting at the bottom.

Using a standard ice-cream scoop, portion out balls of dough onto your cookie sheets, maximum 6 per sheet, 4 to be safe (these are BIG cookies). Tosi says that the recipe will make 13-15; I made exactly 14. Flatten the balls slightly, then place the dough balls in the fridge for at least an hour. We have an unheated sunporch and very little room in the fridge, so I put mine out there.

About 40 minutes into the chilling time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies for 18 minutes, or until the edges are faintly browned but the rest of the cookies are still bright yellow. Mine took exactly 18 minutes, but yours might take a minute more or less.

Let the cookies cool on the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. These are cookies that are better cool than warm, and very good with a glass of milk.

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