Christina Tosi is no new to recipe writing. James Beard Award winner’s first cookbook, Momofuku milk bararrived in 2011 and became a New York Times Bestseller. Her subsequent books include a whimsical exploration of all things cake, a kid-friendly baking book, and a treatise on her life at the Milk Bar with tasty recipes. Now she’s tackling all things cookie-related, which she describes as “her first obsession”.
For Tosi, cookies were the springboard for her career as a pastry chef. Her first moments in the kitchen, balanced on a stepladder and covered in flour, were spent baking cookies. She idolized her grandmothers, who helped her to appreciate the art of cookie making.
“Every holiday season, working in the ‘cookie factory’ that was my grandmother’s kitchen, rolling out dough, cutting out ornamental shapes, icing, decorating… Life has so happily come to a standstill,” remembers Tosi. “No wonder I’m a baker for a living.”
Contrary to the time commitments of Cakesthe bustle of pastries or the grandeur of a Thanksgiving tart, cookies are accessible and manageable, adding to Tosi’s appeal. “Cookies are a real medium for bakers because they have such a place in our daily lives,” she says, listing breakroom snacks, classroom bake sales, community gatherings, and more. “They are simple in comparison, humble, portable and known around the world.”
Crafting 100 cookie recipes is what’s in the pages of All About Cookies: A Book About Baking a Milk Bar– is a powerful feat. There are familiar classics, like the milk pie bars and a crispier version of the blueberry and cream cookie. Then there are entirely new innovations: a cookie inspired by buttered toasta Cookie Crisp cereal strewn as chips and titled Cookie Cookies, and French toast cookies.
” Experience [writing a cookbook] never gets old, it’s just as exciting and creatively challenging,” says Tosi. “The best part of sharing recipes through a cookbook is hearing from people who have invited them into their lives, who have made them their own.”
Although cookies are easier to pin down than other baked goods, Tosi has a few tips to make sure even cooked and dream results. “A cookie is such a simple format, so a perfect cookie should speak to your soul with depth and breadth, pushing the boundaries of texture and flavor that a bite can carry,” she explains.
The first tip is to follow this rule: good on the outside means good on the inside. That means starting with quality ingredients, whether it’s butter, baking chips, cocoa, or nuggets. From there, Tosi suggests tasting as you go and baking sample cookies to ensure the oven temperature and baking time are working as they should before committing to an entire batch. Finally, for expertly crispy cookies, like her Crispy Cornflake Chocolate Chip Cookies, bake over low, slow heat, and let cool completely before dipping.