What happens when you give a baked goods scientist like Momofuku Milk Bar’s wildly creative chef, owner and founder Christina Tosi a bottle of bubbly and cookie dough? (She is, after all, the woman who invented Cereal Milk and Crack Pie.) You get Sparkle Cookies!
“I always make cookie-cutter cookies over holidays,” says the award-winning baker, “and I always go, ‘How can I reinvent it? How can I challenge what it is?’”
To riff on the classic this season, she focused on the icing. “Instead of using water, milk or egg whites to bind the icing together we used Blanc de Noirs from Chandon — it’s such a fruit-forward wine that it brings out this amazing zest and punch in the icing,” she says, adding, “I’ve actually been sneaking that icing. I have a big bowl of it and I’ll drizzle it on pound cake, bread, frozen peaches, anything.”
Roll Up Your Sleeves
How great is it to be in Tosi’s inner circle? Every year the chef creates cookie samplers as party favors and packages tins of sweet treats for loved ones. We won’t even get into the batch of cinnamon buns she whips up for Christmas morning. Inspired to spread the baked goods love? Tosi offers these tips:
• “Starting with good butter is the most important part in the baking process, no matter what it is you are baking this holiday season. Use an unsalted European-style butter.”
• “Have a few staple items that highlight your personality. I like to use ground coffee. It’s always a little bit of a surprise and it adds a great texture.”
• “A lot of times during the holidays people go the walnut or pecan route, but I really love using pistachios. They are incredibly colorful and they have this great fruity, nutty ability.”
• “Don’t be afraid to use herbs in baked goods. It’s the one time that you can really get away with giving intense, warm herbaceous flavors, because it’s cold out.”
• “Spend extra time on packaging. I’m really funny about presentation. I’m not incredibly fussy — it’s not about it being pristine — but I think that thoughtfulness on how you package something really goes a long way. I get all of my packaging supplies on ULine.com. You can buy tins and jars in various sizes and [the site] gives you really great bulk discounts.”
RECIPE:Christina Tosi’s Chandon Sparkle Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup all-purpose flour for dusting
In a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, cream butter and light brown sugar on medium high for 2 minutes until well incorporated. Add all-purpose flour and kosher salt and mix on low speed until well incorporated, about 1 minute.
Flatten dough into 2 evenly shaped pancakes. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once chilled, remove dough from refrigerator, dust with a sprinkling of the additional all-purpose flour and roll out to ¼” thickness with a rolling pin — or the base of a Chandon bottle! Cut out desired shapes, gently transfer shapes to a lined or nonstick baking sheet. (Work quick! The colder the dough the easier it is to cut, transfer and bake!)
Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges. Frost with Chandon Icing and Chandon Sugar Sprinkles. Share and enjoy! Store in an airtight container in the fridge, freezer or room temperature.
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup Chandon Sparkling Wine (Brut, Rose or
Blanc de Noirs) as desired food coloring
In a medium-size bowl, slowly whisk Chandon Sparkling Wine into confectioner’s sugar. Color icing as desired.
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp Chandon Sparkling Wine (Brut, Rose or Blanc de Noirs) as desired food coloring
In a small bowl with a spoon, combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons Chandon Sparkling Wine, tossing both ingredients together until sugar is evenly coated. Spread on a clean, dry baking sheet and let sit out at room temperature overnight to dry out.
In a food processor or blender, pulse the sugar clumps down into a granulated sugar like state. Repeat steps 1-2, adding only 1 tablespoon Chandon Sparkling Wine to your spiked sugar mixture.
Repeat step 3. Then use Chandon Sugar to glam up Chandon Icing and Sparkle Cookies.Store Chandon Sugar in an airtight container at room temperature.
Note: Store-bought Fun, Bright and Holiday Sprinkles taste just and look just as delicious on these Chandon Cookies!
1. Make and bake these cookies ahead! Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month before icing, decorating or giving away!
2. I make this icing in a variety of muted tones for options when decorating, though the Chandon Rose makes a perfectly pink color all its own!
3. Plan ahead! Chandon sprinkles only take a minute to mix together, but they need time to dry out. The sprinkles keep for ages, so start a week or more ahead if you can.
Recipe: Christina Tosi's Holiday Cookies
We’re awfully fond of celebrating the holidays with annoying decorative knick-knacks. Or, rather, my mother loves to buy annoying decorative knickknacks and send them to us, and we love to make it look like a holiday just threw up in our kitchen.
We like our cookies to celebrate the holidays too – that’s how we came up with our winter holiday cookie, a cornflake-marshmallow cookie with crushed candy canes in it.
In the Ko basement one day, Mar overtoasted the cornflake crunch for the cereal milk panna cotta. She was pissed. I was pissed. But we refused to let it go to waste. I was already well versed in making a cookie out of anything left in the pantry, and we needed a dessert for family meal anyway. So we made cookies with the cornflake crunch, and we threw in some mini chocolate chips, just to make them appealing to the cooks in case the overtoasted cornflakes were a bust, and some mini marshmallows, because we were eating them as a snack, and why the hell not. It was just family meal.
The cooks freaked. They requested the cookies for family meal every day after that. And so the cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookie was born—love at first bite and a shoo-in on Milk Bar’s opening menu.
2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cupsgranulated sugar
2⁄3 cup tightly packedlight brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tspbaking powder
1/2 tspbaking soda
1 1/2 tspkosher salt
3 cupsCornflake Crunch (below)
2/3 cupmini chocolate chips
1 1/4 cupsmini marshmallows
200 grams peppermints or candy canes (40 peppermints or 18 candy canes)
1.Unwrap the peppermints/candy canes and transfer to a medium zip-top plastic bag. With the end of a rolling pin, break the candy up into medium to small pieces, at least one quarter in size, no smaller than a Nerd, being careful not to make candy powder. Add the candy pieces with the mini marshmallows.
2. Combine the butter and sugars 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 mixer 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 overmixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
3. Still on low speed, paddle in the cornflake crunch and mini chocolate chips just until they’re incorporated, no more than 30 to 45 seconds. Paddle in the mini marshmallows just until incorporated.
4. Using a 2-ounce 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 hold their shape.
5. Heat the oven to 375°F.
6. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle and spread. At the 18-minute mark, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown toward the center. Leave them in the oven for an additional minute or so if they aren’t and they still seem pale and doughy on the surface.
7. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temperature, the cookies will keep fresh for five days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month. Makes 15 to 20 cookies.
Recipe: Cornflake Crunch
This recipe was originally created to accompany the Cereal Milk Panna Cotta. It was one of those first-swing, home-run hits. It is incredibly simple to make and equally versatile in its uses. Put some in a plastic bag and take it on the go as the best snack ever, or use it as an ingredient in the recipes that follow.
5 cups cornflakes
1/2 cupmilk powder
3 tbsp sugar
1 tspkosher salt
9 tbspbutter, melted
1. Heat the oven to 275° F.
2. Pour the cornflakes in a medium bowl and crush them with your hands to one-quarter of their original size. Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt and toss to mix. Add the butter and toss to coat. As you toss, the butter will act as glue, binding the dry ingredients to the cereal and creating small clusters.
3. Spread the clusters on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, at which point they should look toasted, smell buttery and crunch gently when cooled slightly and chewed.
4. Cool the cornflake crunch completely before storing or using in a recipe. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the crunch will keep fresh for a week; in the fridge or freezer it will keep for a month.Makes about 4 cups.