compost cookies

Right now it’s impossible to escape the buzz surrounding David Chang’s New York gang of restaurants under the Momofuku brand. It’s even more impossible to escape the hype over Anderson Cooper favorite “Crack Pie” and the infamous “Compost Cookie.

This oddly-named cookie is brainchild of Christina Tosi, Momofuku’s pastry chef and creator of aforementioned “Crack Pie” and wacky desserts “Cereal Milk” and “Cornflake Crunch.”

Let me just say something honestly: this cookie could not have a worse name. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of stirring a compost bin, you know that what wafts up your nose smells nothing like a freshly baked cookie. I’ll put it this way: this recipe did not begin with positive associations for me.

But not being one to judge a book by it’s cover, or a cookie by it’s name, I decided to give it a try. Miss Tosi was a guest on Regis and Kelly last week and gave out her recipe, or some semblance of it, so I got to work.

It starts with butter, sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar, and dried (used) coffee grounds. Sounds weird, I know. And it’s not in the recipe that Christina gave to Kelly. But after a little internet digging I found out that you need to add two tablespoons of used coffee grounds (I dried mine on a paper towel overnight)—hence the compost part of the Compost Cookie.

Oh, and a word about equipment: you really need a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for this. If you don’t have one and try to improvise, your arms will fall off and you will die. Or you will live, just without arms. Which would be bad too.

Cream that mixture together, scrape down the sides, and…

…add some eggs and vanilla. Turn the mixer on medium-high for 10 minutes.

See? Arms. Fall. Off. You. Die.

After the 10 minutes is up, you’ll have a super creamy pale mixture that is fluffier than any cookie dough you’ve ever seen.

Next, beat in the usual suspects: flour mixed with baking powder, baking soda and salt.

It’s starting to thicken up…

…and resemble something more like regular cookie dough.

Now comes the crazy delicious part. Butterscotch chips and chocolate chips.

Graham cracker crumbs. Another addition I found after scouring the internet for the real recipe.

And finally the even crazier, even more delicious part: crushed pretzels and potato chips.

Mix in the chips and graham crumbs first…

…and then throw in your snack foods. Mix for just a few seconds on low—you don’t want to crunch the savory stuff up too much more or it will crumble away into the cookie dough.

Looks good to me.

Use an ice cream scoop to shape into balls, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour. I popped mine in the freezer for the last few minutes because I knew that I would be rolling them in between my hands to shape before baking, and I didn’t want them to warm up too much.

When you’re ready to bake, shape and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment at least 4″ apart. These suckers spread a lot. I baked in batches of 6-7, for a total of 19 cookies. Keep the rest of the dough in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it.

Gorgeous. And huge. I suppose you could make them smaller, but I love me some big cookies.

They look a bit undercooked, but turned out fabulously soft in the center and the tiniest bit crispy at the edges. Perfection.

I loved how the middles maintained a little bit of height. That’s the fridge at work.

So what was the verdict? They were delicious…

…in an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sort of way. As far as cookie dough goes, it doesn’t get any better than this. This dough recipe replicates every chewy, buttery, best-ever bakery cookie you’ve ever had.

The add-ins I felt were a little much at times. I wanted the sweet/salty balance to be a bit more even since the butterscotch chips tended to be the dominant flavor. I’ve made a few notes below with the recipe as to what I’d do differently next time.

What did others think? The poll was split: either people loved them, or they thought they were just okay.

Candidly I will say this: I ate three of them. Within about 2 hours. And then I let Jillian Michaels kick my butt all afternoon long.

Crappy name or not, these cookies delivered. If you’re in NYC, go snatch one up and report back. For all y’all at home, give ’em a shot. Your hips will not thank you but your taste buds will.



Christina Tosi’s Compost Cookies from Live with Regis and Kelly, with a few adaptations

  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups AP Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips mixed with butterscotch chips
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed potato chips and pretzels
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons dried used coffee grounds
  • 1/2 cup oats (I found out about this ingredient too late and didn’t use it in my batch)

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars, coffee grounds, and corn syrup on medium high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.

When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix 45-60 sec just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

On same low speed, add in the chocolate chips, graham crumbs and butterscotch chips and mix for 30-45 sec until they evenly mix into the dough. Add in the chips and pretzels last, paddling again on low speed until they are just incorporated.

Using a 6oz ice cream scoop, portion cookie dough onto a parchment lined sheetpan.

Wrap scooped cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 1 week.

DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.

Heat the conventional oven to 400F. (350F in a convection oven)

When the oven reads 400F, arrange your chilled cookie dough balls on a parchment or silpat-lined sheetpan a minimum of 4″ apart in any direction.

Bake 9-11 min. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread.

At 9 min the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for the additional minutes if these colors don’t match up and your cookies stills seem pale and doughy on the surface.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before transferring to a plate or an airtight container or tin for storage. At room temp, cookies will keep fresh 5 days. In the freezer, cookies will keep fresh 1 month.

Yield: 15 6oz cookies


  1. I would use a substantial potato chip, such as a Kettle chip or Tim’s Cascade. I used Lay’s and they seemed to just disappear into the batter.
  2. More chocolate, less butterscotch. Butterscotch is such an intense flavor that it really overpowered everything else. Consider using 1/2 cup butterscotch chips plus 1 cup chocolate chips.


  1. I love you Rainy Day Gal. Can you come back to Austin and cook for us again?

  2. Your turn to come to Seattle, Suzy. I bet she will cook for you here 🙂

  3. Who in the world thought they were just OK? Theys is CRAZY.

    Damn those cookies I want one now. 🙂

  4. These look fantastic. The potato chip concept is interesting – wonder if the thicker chips would maintain any crunch after baking… Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Super photos. I think the step by step photos are a real appetite teaser, especially when you feel as if the flavours are slowly ‘forming’ in your mouth. AWEESOMEEE!

  6. I’m going to make these tonight. I’m very curious!

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