How to Make Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies: Recipe by Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi
Chocolate chip cookie territory is treacherous. Everyone has her own idea of what makes the perfect version, from wafer-thin and crisp to fat and fudgy, and everything in between.
Christina Tosi, the chef and owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, a burgeoning bakery empire with more than 90 employees across New York and Toronto, knows this well. Since opening her first location in Manhattan in 2008, she has served all sorts of thrilling cookies—including a blueberry and cream stunner and a cornflake and marshmallow beast—but she’s stayed away from a classic chocolate chip.
“I don’t want to compete with your memories or your grandma,” Tosi explains in her second cookbook, Milk Bar Life: Recipes and Stories, in which she finally, finally shares her recipe for the classic, the kind she may not serve at the shops, but she'll bake at home for friends.
While Tosi's last book focused on professional recipes, Milk Bar Life zooms in on what she and her cooks get up to at home, which includes sweet and savory stuff. The recipes aren't intimidating, though, and they seem to exist in the real world, where things aren't perfect, where people are busy, where ovens have hot spots.
Take the recipe for roast chicken. It doesn't promise you an impossibly perfect bird that’s plump and smooth and symmetrical and shimmering golden all over like an ad for laser hair removal. The chicken looks a little wonky and unevenly browned, and hey, it looks great.
As Tosi explains in the introduction, she has included the kind of stuff a hungry cook will actually cobble together at the end of a 14-hour shift. That's why you'll find recipes for a weird, fast, tasty little sandwich of breakfast sausages and SpaghettiOs, and for toast spread with a mix of margarine and Tang drink mix.
I was drawn to the chocolate chip cookie recipe when I saw that you could make the whole thing by hand, with nothing more than a wooden spoon. You're probably used to creaming the butter and sugar to kick off a cookie recipe, but Tosi's starts with melting half a pound of butter and then stirring in a mix of brown and white sugar (a bit vigorously, until it emulsifies into a smooth, slightly creamy blob).
A couple of tablespoons of milk powder, the not-so-secret secret ingredient, also helps transform the texture, making it wonderfully chewy and almost fudge-like. Note: It might be hard to resist a cookie right off the tray, when it’s still warm, but try waiting—I found that a few hours later, once completely cool, the chew is even better.
Bake these cookies long enough, and you’ll also have a nice golden crisp edge, which is just the way I like them. Everyone’s perfect chocolate chip may be different, but this is my new go-to.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Milk Bar Life by Christina Tosi
Makes about 18 cookies
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and just warm to the touch
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons nonfat milk powder
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. With a wooden spoon, mix together the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl, until homogenous, about a minute. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until combined.
2. Mix in the flour, milk powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until just combined. Add the chips and mix until evenly distributed.
3. Portion 2 ¾ ounce scoops of dough about 2 to 3 inches apart onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely on the pan.