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Momofuku Milk Bar Chocolate Chip Cookies

Unless you're an NYC native or simply a loyal foodie, you probably saw "Momofuku" and wondered what on earth it meant. It frankly sounds like gibberish. If you are interested in the purpose behind the name, it supposedly means "lucky peach" in Japanese. If you are curious as to the English word that sounds an awful lot like Momofuku, look it up on Wikipedia.

If you're not curious about any of that and instead just want to know why these cookies have Momofuku in their name, the recipe is from the famous restaurant chain's Milk Bar, located in NYC and serving up its classic "crack pie." I will have you know that, yes, crack pie is as good as they make it sound, and you should not follow Bon Appetit's instructions to make it; instead, follow this link for a successful crack pie. Bon Appetit instructs you to leave the crack pie in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, resulting in a burnt cookie crust and top of the pie; it also tells you to refrigerate it instead of freeze it, which in fact has an extremely different effect on the final result of the pie. I made a failure of a crack pie so you don't have to.

The secret ingredient in both Momofuku's crack pie and chocolate chip cookies is milk powder, which you can find in the baking aisle of any grocery store -- you've probably just never noticed it. At least, I hadn't, and I now credit milk powder with making crack pie deliciously gooey, and these chocolate chip cookies perfectly chewy.

They also take on this beautiful cracked exterier when left to cool after baking, and the sprinkling of flake salt (I did not have flake salt and used kosher salt instead) makes them seriously magical. Superb. Magnificent. Addictive: all the same qualities of the crack pie. It's the milk powder, I tell you. It is the fairy dust of baking.

Yields about 18 cookies

1/2 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons nonfat milk powder

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Flaked salt or kosher salt, for sprinkling

In a large bowl, mix your sugars and add the melted butter. Stir for about a minute. Stir the egg and vanilla together in a small bowl, and then add into the sugar until the mixture looks shiny, another minute or so.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, milk powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda, then add to sugar and egg mixture until just combined. Don't fret when you see tiny white balls in the dough - this is the magic milk powder, not flour. Pour in your chocolate chips and stir again. Cover the dough and let it chill in the fridge while your oven preheats to 375 degrees F (or save dough in fridge for up to 24 hours).

When you're ready to bake, lay parchment flat on baking sheet and scoop golf-ball sized balls of dough 3 inches apart.

Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden around the edges but still doughy in the center.

Let them sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes after removing from the oven. After they have "deflated" on the pan, sprinkle flake salt or kosher salt over the tops of the cookies. Transfer them to a cooling rack for 10 minutes or so (if you can wait that long before snagging one).

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