So. I mentioned rather off-handedly a few days ago that I topped half of my recent batch of white chocolate brownies with a random little something called milk crumbs. I can take no credit for the development of milk crumbs, but was naturally, immediately intrigued when I first read about them in Bon Appétit last fall. They are the "sweet, savory, creamy component" in many recipes by Christina Tosi, the mastermind pastry chef at Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC, creator of Crack Pie, Cinnamon Roll Pie (I know! It's on my list!), Brown Butter Custard Pie, Cereal Milk Panna Cotta with Caramelized Cornflake Crunch, and - of course - the infamous Compost Cookies from which my infamous OMG Cookies are adapted. (Oh and there's more. Google her. She's a national treasure.*)
The primary ingredient in the milk crumb recipe is powdered milk. We've had that as a pantry staple for about a year and a half now, first during our bread machine phase (we ditched that a few months ago since MC's handmade breads are a thousand times better), then during our Super Baby Food phase, and now because of the inspiration that is Christina Tosi. (Also, I continue to use it to thicken up homemade yogurt and as a nutritional booster in some of the weirder foods I make - stuff I don't post about here because it's more healthy than delicious or attractive.)
When I read that at Momofuku Milk Bar they use these crumbs in their compost cookies as well as other desserts, I just had to try them.
So I made them. And they are totally weird but I totally like them.
Thus far, I've used them in granola (by far my most interesting, innovative, and delicious use of them - will do again soon and will document and post about it), on top of aforementioned white chocolate brownies, and as a mix-in in the white chocolate oatmeal cookies featured below. It's not a coincidence that the milk crumbs were paired with white chocolate two out of three times. I mean, sure, I had to use up the several boxes of 31% cacao white chocolate I'd bought from TJ Maxx the day after I made the milk crumbs... but, more importantly, they go together quite nicely because white chocolate is so sweet and creamy and the milk crumbs are more salty-savory and creamy, and I love love love a well-constructed salty-sweet treat. Add creaminess and, well, I have not the words.
Which brings us to today's post.
Hello traditional Quaker Oatmeal Cookie. Allow me to introduce you to Milk Crumbs. And perhaps you've met White Chocolate before? I think you all could make some real magic together. Well, go on then.
That's what I'm talking about.
White Chocolate-Milk Crumb Oatmeal Cookies
Sort of adapted from the Quaker Rolled Oats box
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (use only 1/4 teaspoon if you are using milk crumbs, plus some coarse salt to sprinkle tops)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup white chocolate chips or coarsely chopped white chocolate bar (at least 30% cacao content)
1/2 cup milk crumbs (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, using a mixer or a wooden spoon, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg, and almond extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, then add the rolled oats, white chocolate, and milk crumbs, if using. Chill the dough for at least an hour, then scoop up tablespoon-sized mounds and place them on a baking sheet at least two inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven. Allow to cool and firm up on the baking sheets for another five minutes or so, then place on a rack to cool completely. Or just eat them not quite cool. The salty-sweet thing is even more mouthwatering when the white chocolate is still warm and gooey.
These stored well in an air-tight container in our kitchen for about three days. They would freeze well too once completely cooled. You could also scoop up mounds of uncooked dough, freeze them on a plate or baking sheet, and then throw them into a bag or container and store in the freezer for a couple months. Throw them in the oven frozen and bake them for 12-15 minutes rather than 10.
*I am so enthralled by anything and everything associated with this sugar-loving woman that I at one point had the Momofuku restaurant's cookbook on my Amazon wish list, having assumed (or wished anyway) that a whole section would be on their desserts. Imagine my dismay when there were none! Needless to say it has since been removed from my list. The good news is that she's supposed to be producing a cookbook of her own sometime in the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, some insight from a NYMag interview with Tosi:
What’s one ingredient you can’t live without?
Milk powder. We put it in a lot of the cookie recipes. I call it the MSG of baked goods. It adds this really interesting depth of flavor.