Saturday, March 6, 2010

Compost Cookies, aka Amnesty Cookies

I suppose the name of these cookies is somewhat along the same lines as the Garbage Burrito - a whole unpredictable mess of things is thrown in, but the result in the end is the better for it. This recipe has been all the rage online in the last few weeks, so I thought I'd better post my outcome quickly. It is the famous recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar, whose pastry chef invented and, I assume, named these cookies. I personally avoided telling people their name lest they find it unappetizing, but these cookies sold themselves. See David Lebovitz's post to see why he renamed his Amnesty Cookies - less gross imagery, but perhaps a little too political for me.

I don't have anything really new to say about the recipe, so I'm just going to jump on the bandwagon and tell you to MAKE IT. They were incredible, I could not stop eating them, and even when they got smooshed to death in my bag, my coworkers gobbled them up.

One of the funnest things about these cookies is the fact that you can pretty much throw any junk food into them that you want, and they will end up amazing. I ran into some Easter candy at the store the other day, so I chopped up some pink bunny Peeps (I know, I know) and threw in some egg-shaped M&Ms, alongside some Lay's classic potato chips and some pretzel sticks. The salty-sweet combination is killer, so don't shy away from the savory snacks. Don't worry, the potato chip crumbs basically melt away and just add flavor.

The other unique thing about this recipe is the fact that you beat the butter-sugar-corn syrup-eggs-vanilla part of the batter for 10 minutes, which dissolves the sugar granules and churns out a fabulously silky batter that maintains its texture even after the dry ingredients and mix-ins are added. I'm going to try a chocolate version of this cookie that replaces some of the flour with cocoa powder, and my instincts tell me that it's going to work out well.

As you prepare to make these, beware that once the batter is portioned out onto the baking pans (for which I highly recommend parchment paper and a 3 T scoop with a scraping blade to portion out the batter), the pans need to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before baking. The batter will not hold together if you bake them from room temperature. Even after refrigeration they spread out a lot, and after puffing up in the oven they fall flat when cool.

I love these so much that I'm excited for you to make them! Enjoy making the recipe your own with your mix-in choices!

Momofuku's Compost Cookies

Taken from The Amateur Gourmet, which has great step-by-step photos.

1 C unsalted butter
1 C granulated sugar
3/4 C light brown sugar
1 T corn syrup (optional, if used will make the batter shiner)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 C all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsps Kosher salt
1 1/2 C sweet snacks (chocolate chips, candies, etc.)
1 1/2 C salty snack foods (crushed chips, pretzels, etc.)

1. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Cream the butter, sugars, and corn syrup together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (the whip attachment or a hand mixer would whip in too much air). Beat them at medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber scraper.
3. At a lower speed, add the eggs and vanilla. Beat at a medium-high speed for 10 minutes. The mixture will become pale in color and almost double in size.
4. After the 10 minutes, at a low speed add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, mixing just for 45-60 seconds until all the dry ingredients are just incorporated.
5. Add your sweet snacks for 30-45 seconds, followed by your salty snacks, all at a low speed. Do not overmix, just mix until these ingredients are evenly distributed in the batter.
6. Portion the dough onto the cookie sheets (as you can see, they will run together if you put 12 on a pan!). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour, maximum 1 week.
7. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. When the oven is ready, remove one cookie sheet at a time from the refrigerator and bake for 9 to 11 minutes. Check them at 9 minutes to see if the middle of the cookie is browned to the same color as the edge of the cookie; if the middle is still pale and doughy, leave in the oven for the additional minutes.
8. Cool the cookies completely on the pan. Store in air-tight containers.

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