For the last few months, more of my life than I would like to admit has been consumed with managing our dog, Inka. She’s a sweet pup, but so many little things common to city living scare her. Construction season has started, along with lawn-mowing season, motorcycle season, thunderstorm season, and kids-running-around-outside season. (And we haven’t even gotten to fireworks season.) The very friendly neighbor girl who lives above us called her a scaredy-dog because Inka shrinks in fear and tries to run away every time she gets close.
And she’s right, Inka is a scaredy-dog.
It’s funny how much having a dog has reattuned my attention to sound and motion in the environment. There’s so much that I’ve learned to filter out: the beeps of a truck backing up, the atmospheric churn of planes overhead, the abrupt rumble and hum of a parked car starting, the taut thwap of an automatic umbrella opening, the unpredictable direction and pace changes of small children on the sidewalk.
So much of this world must still feel incomprehensible to a year-and-a-handful-of-months-old dog who until January was a stray in eastern Kentucky. Even the shutter click and flash of the camera that the trainer used to photograph our final obedience class was enough to make Inka crouch under my chair, quaking in fear, too frazzled to be able to demonstrate for the class her much improved ability to walk attentively on a loose leash and sit and stay.
Life with her has taken more adjusting than I expected. It is slowly getting easier, except for the part where she’s started pulling books off the shelves to chew on them, and the part where she just, as I attempt to write this, enthusiastically denuded a corner of our brand new bedroom rug of pile. Sigh.
Dan and I have been, of late, exhausted. And we’ve been a little more impulsive when it comes to eating. We’ve found ourselves reaching, more than we probably should, for easy hits of salt and fat and sweet. These compost cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar push all of those buttons at once.
It’s a bit like a handful of everything in the grocery store snack aisle jumped into a bowl of rich cookie dough. They sport not just usual cookie add-ins like oats and chocolate and butterscotch chips, but also coffee grounds, potato chips, pretzels, and bits of graham cracker crust.
They’re big bakery sized cookies, thin and crispy around the edges with a texture that softens and turns chewy as you get toward the middle. There is nothing subtle about these cookies. They are unabashedly indulgent. And despite the smattering of whole grains in the form of oatmeal, don’t think for a moment that they have a whiff of “health” around them. They’re a buttery embrace of junk food, and they’re easy to love.
I think my favorite thing about them is the combination of coffee and butterscotch flavors, which is something I imagine playing with in other desserts in the future.
These are cookies you’ll want to share, as keeping too many of them around would be, for obvious reasons, dangerous to the waistline. I brought them with me to the annual Momofuku-themed garden party at our friends Traci and Dan’s house where the were quite the hit.
Just make them already.
Compost Cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar
- 225 grams all-purpose flour (1 1/3 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 225 grams unsalted butter softened (1 cup, 2 sticks)
- 200 grams sugar (1 cup)
- 150 grams light brown sugar (2/3 cup, packed)
- 50 grams glucose or corn syrup (2 tablespoons)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 150 grams mini semisweet chocolate chips (3/4 cup)
- 100 grams butterscotch chips (1/2 cup)
- 85 grams graham crust (1/2 cup) see below
- 40 grams old fashioned rolled oats (1/3 cup)
- 5 grams ground coffee (2 1/2 teaspoons)
- 50 grams sturdy potato chips such as Cape Cod brand (about 2 cups)
- 50 grams mini pretzels (about 1 cup)
For the graham crust:
- 50 grams graham cracker crumbs (a heaping 1/3 cup)
- 5 grams nonfat dry milk powder (1 tablespoon)
- 6 grams sugar (1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 14 grams unsalted butter melted (1 tablespoon)
- 14 grams heavy cream (1 tablespoon)
- Make the graham crust. Add the graham cracker crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter and heavy cream. Add the dry ingredients and mix all of the ingredients together with your hands until the bits hold together in small clusters when you squeeze them.
- Make the cookie dough. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, sugars and glucose or corn syrup and beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla extract and egg, and mix on medium-high speed for another 8 minutes. The mixture should look pale and fluffy.
- Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and slowly add the flour mixture. Mix just until combined, no more than a minute. Be careful not to overmix or the cookies will be tough.
- Scrape down the sides and bowl of the mixer. Add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham crust, oats, and coffee and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Add the potato chips and pretzels and mix again on low speed for about 30 seconds. Don’t worry if there are large pieces of potato chip or pretzel in the dough–these cookies can handle that.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and clear a space for it in the refrigerator. With a 2 3/4-ounce ice cream scoop or a 1/3 cup measure, portion the dough onto the parchment-lined sheet pan. The dough mounds can be right next to each other–you’ll spread them out onto different sheet pans before baking. Gently flatten the rounded tops of the dough with your hand. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight (don’t bake them unchilled, they’ll spread like mad).
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a few sheet pans with parchment paper. Place the chilled dough portions a good 4 inches apart on the parchment-lined sheet pans to allow for spreading. (Don’t attempt to crowd more cookies onto the pan–I could only fit 6 on a standard half sheet pan.)
- Bake until the cookies are browned on the edges but still yellow in the middle, about 18 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely on the sheet pans before attempting to transfer them to a plate or container.
- They’ll keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days.