Validating my cookbook collection, one damn recipe at at a time

13: Ritz Cookies — Milk Bar Life

13: Ritz Cookies — Milk Bar Life

Hello. I suppose I have some explaining to do.
The short version is “Hi, I’m back!”

Here’s the long version:
(Yes, I’ve put my rambling shit in video form in the interest of keeping my posts more succinct.)


The Assignment: Ritz Cookies from Milk Bar Life by Christina Tosi

This week’s book is one I got right when it came out, fell in love with a bunch of the recipes, AND THEN NEVER COOKED FROM. I couldn’t decide where to start, my analysis paralysis took over completely, and what did I make? Fucking nothing. It almost happened again this time! I went back and forth: Which recipe am I going to make? I really want to try the Fruity-Pebble Meringues like I’ve been planning to make all along… but we’re edging into the holidays. Should I pick something more seasonally appropriate, like the Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake? Or is that too easy, since it’s based around a cake mix? You know what? I want to bake cookies. BUT WHICH COOKIES SHOULD I MAAAAAKE etc.

If you’re reading this blog and don’t know who Christina Tosi is, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE? Maybe you only know her as a celebrity guest judge on a great many cooking shows. Read this profile of her, and get yourself a copy of the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook post-fucking-haste. Whew. It’s gonna be okay, you guys. (And LA folk, we have our own Milk Bar on Melrose now. Snag yourself a fistful of cookies right meow.)

This cookbook is less focused on Tosi’s prodigious sweet tooth and more inspired by the kinds of food she makes off the clock, the treats that inspired her growing up, the dishes that come out during Family Meal at her restaurants and shops, and so on. As much as I love sweets, I really enjoyed seeing the simple savory side of Tosi. “So Dana, why did you still end up making a sweet recipe?” Because I wanted to roll out some balls of dough. Do you ever get in a mood where the only thing that will soothe you is getting your hands into some cookie dough and meditatively rolling it into balls? BALLS, FOLKS. I was in that mood. Cookies it would have to be. And after too much agonizing, I settled upon…

The Recipe (directly from the book, which you should buy):

 

Things to Note About the Recipe:

Before anyone jumps all up on me for not following the exact recipe, BACK OFF, it’s a sanctioned suggestion from Tosi to use peanut butter or cheese Ritz instead of plain Ritz. And after I thought about it, the idea of NOT using the peanut butter Ritz seemed ridiculous. If the options are peanut butter or no peanut butter, the correct answer is “Stop asking stupid questions and embrace the peanut butter.” They only come in minis, but 2 1/2 cups of the little guys was A-OK.

Don’t be scared. This recipe is nice and easy. The sweet and salt balance is just the way I like it, which is to say aggressively salted for a cookie. Ooh, she makes me happy.

But don’t be like me and accidentally set the oven too low, not realize until the cookies are taking forever to cook, and overbake your first batch. (They weren’t right, but they were OK.) Underbake them. Always. Always. We stan a chewy cookie.

THE VERDICT

How did it taste?

FUCKING MAGICAL. I’m so hot for Tosi’s taste buds, y’all. Her creations land somewhere between pastry-chef perfection and a stoner’s wildest dream. These cookies are almost archetypal of the junk-food inspired treats she’s famous for, and I’m so so glad I made them. I fed these cookies to a bunch of theatre folk and my coworkers; they were hits across the board. They possess a salt balance that makes you crave the li’l fuckers in the middle of the night. Even people who profess to generally not being nuts about cookies will want them two at a time.

I’ll let Kara’s face give the final verdict:

Would I make this again?

In a hot damn second. And I even think I’ll try them with the cheese sandwich crackers because that’s the kind of shit I’m into. Gimme that weird-weird.

Do I recommend this cookbook?

I do! I especially recommend it for people who find the elaborate (and admittedly daunting) recipes in Momofuku Milk Bar too intimidating. These are kinder, gentler Tosi-isms.

What’s the next recipe I want to make from this book?
ALL OF THEM, YOU KNOW THAT. SIGH. OK, but to be fair… it’ll hopefully be those meringues that have been taunting me for so long. Or maybe I’ll go another direction and make the Tex-Mex Chili that I’ve been told is incredibly wonderful.

********

YOU GUYS, now that I have tackled this cookbook, I can justify the purchase of Tosi’s new book, All About Cake! I will be slotting that book into my next wave of ODR projects, but not until I get through my initial 30. I’m on 13. 13 going on 30. No, it’s cool — Mark Ruffalo was cute in that movie, so I’m fine with this.

Just hit “Publish,” Dana…



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