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bacon compost cookies

It was nearly 1 year ago to the day that I first discovered the Compost Cookie, the only cookie to ever change my world. It seemed like an odd recipe at first: used coffee grounds, snack foods, corn syrup. But the first batch blew me away. With the second batch I began the tweaking process (I now make them with Kettle Salt & Pepper chips, pretzel sticks instead of twists, Ghiradelli 60% cacao chips, graham crackers freshly whirred in the food processor instead of the packaged crumbs, refrigerate full day before baking and omit the coffee grounds). I suppose it’s fitting that 1 year and 20 batches later I’m finally taking the recipe to the next level.

To all of you who are saying right now, “bacon doesn’t belong in cookies!” read the recipe first; there are stranger ingredients in these cookies. Don’t proceed unless you’re feeling a bit adventurous. And also don’t mock them ’till you’ve tried them.

To those of you who I just heard saying “bacon in cookies? F—- yeah!”, read on, my friends.

Start by frying up some bacon. Chopping into pieces before frying lends a crispier texture without overcooking.

Make the dough (step by step photos in my first compost cookie post) as you usually would, complete with potato chips, pretzels, graham crumbs, oats and chocolate chips.

Here’s where we veer off the beaten path: peanut butter chips. Butterscotch can be an overwhelming flavor for some and I think peanut butter pairs better with bacon.

Bacon. In a cookie that already has a fair amount of salty crunch, it’s not that strange.

Alright, it’s a teeny bit strange to see meat in your cookie dough. But is there anywhere that bacon doesn’t belong? I don’t think so.

Unfortunately, now we must wait. Measure balls of dough and refrigerate at least 1 hour (I like to wait a whole day—I find it yields a better cookie. Just refrigerate as long as you can). Right before you’re ready to bake, roll them between your palms to make them smooth and place on a baking sheet*.

*The cookies pictured were made smaller for a party. Your balls should be much bigger (hee hee!) if you follow the recipe at the bottom of the post.

When they’re done the edges should be darker brown and slightly crispy, while the middles should be pale. They may look under-baked, but resist the temptation to stick them back in the oven.

Once cooled they’ll look more like this, with chewy centers and crispy edges. Perfect.

Expand your cookie repertoire. Take a risk. The results will be well worth it. Cookie carnivores, unite!

-RDG

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Bacon Compost Cookies, adapted from Christina Tosi’s recipe from Live with Regis and Kelly

Prep Time: 20 minutes Chill Time: at least 1 hour Bake Time: 9-11 minutes

Special Equipment: Stand mixer. Seriously, you need this.

Makes 15 6 oz cookies.

  • 1 c Butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Syrup
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 3/4 c AP Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 c oats (not the quick-cooking variety)
  • 3/4 c chocolate chips
  • 3/4 c peanut butter chips
  • 3/4 c crushed potato chips (use a thick, substantial chip such as a kettle chip for best results)
  • 3/4 c crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 c crumbled bacon pieces

1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars, 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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

5. Using a 6 oz ice cream scoop, portion cookie dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan. 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.

6. Heat oven to 400F. When oven is ready, 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.

7. 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.

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buns for buns

On monday I told you about my religious pork experience. It was heavenly. It was sweet and salty and fatty and insanely scrumptious. But it was naked.

Until I made these little puppies to stuff the pork into. Using David Chang’s Momofuku steamed bun recipe, I embarked on a journey. A journey to make homemade steamed buns. And it was a long one.

And fair warning—this may be the world’s longest post because this is one of the world’s longest recipes. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and marvel and how freaking long it took me to make these suckers.

It started with a bowlful of crazy measurements: 4 1/4 cups bread flour, 6 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, a rounded 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 cup vegetable shortening.

I then stuck the dough hook on my mixer…

And dumped in 1 1/2 cups of room temperature water and 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon active dry yeast.

For some reason it always creeps me out that yeast floats. And that it’s alive. And could eat me.

Next, Chang told me to dump in the bowl of dry ingredients and start mixing. And when Chang tells you to do something, you do it.

Keep the mixer on low for about 10 minutes. The dough will begin to clump…

…then to form a ball…

…and finally, it will form a big ‘ol mass that is weirdly not sticky.

Turn the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and stick in a warm place for a little over an hour or until doubled in size.

Never underestimate the importance of a warm place when you need something to rise. Seriously.

Doubled! Punch it down and turn it out onto a clean cutting board.

Slice in half…

…and then cut each half into 5 (roughly equal) pieces.

Roll each piece out…

…and then slice that piece into 5 pieces.

If you’re any good with numbers at all then you just figured out that this recipe makes 50 buns. Yep. 50. Five. Zero.

Roll each piece into a little ball…

…and place them on a baking sheet.

On the bright side, after all of your hard work you now have a small army of dough balls that will always have your back. They excel at street fighting, shanking and parkour. Don’t ask me where they learned it.

Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut out 50 squares of parchment paper and grab a chopstick,

a rolling pin, and some more shortening.

After the half hour is up, you now have a stronger and more robust dough ball army.

Grab one of your little soldiers…

…and smash him down with your palm.

Grab your rolling pin and roll that little puppy out until it’s about 4 inches long.

Grease your chopstick with the shortening, lay it in the middle of the dough oval…

…and fold over.

Place the bun on a parchment square and remove the chopstick.

Eventually I got into assembly-line mode and rolled three at once.

It still took forever.

But it was a little fun sticking the chopstick into the shortening. I found it helpful to grease it often so nothing stuck.

After you’ve rolled all 50, cover and let them rest for 30-45 minutes.

Ready to steam? Woo hoo! Almost done! I just used my veggie steamer, since I don’t own any other kind. Place a few in the steamer, cover tightly, and steam for 10 minutes.

If you’re doing 5 at a time, it will only take you about two hours. No biggie.

Pouf. Steamed buns.

Let them cool a while before storing in an airtight container or freezing.

Or, if you’re going to eat them right away, they’re ready to go.

They were, for the record, worth the day-long prep time. They were soft, chewy, moist, and completely yummy.

Will I make them again?

Umm…probably not. I’m so glad that I did, but they were a little too labor intensive for a lazy gal like me. Plus, a little bird told me that you can buy them here.

Tomorrow I’ll show you what we filled these beautiful buns with. You’ll definitely want to see the finished product!

Thanks for reading the longest post known to man. You rock.

-RDG

pork belly, chang-style

I’ve been a little obsessed with Momofuku as of late. After surrenduring to the buzz and re-creating pastry chef Christina Tosi’s compost cookies two weeks ago I caved, hopped on Amazon and overnighted the cookbook. I’m officially on the bandwagon.

Not only is it beautiful (who doesn’t love a cookbook with a fois bois cover?) and gorgeously photographed, but the recipes are stellar. Not easy, not for weekday dinners, but stellar all the same. After pouring through it and flagging almost every recipe as “to cook,” I finally settled on what to make first. It would require three recipes, several trips to the butcher and the grocery, and almost an entire day of prep. So this lazy gal got her butt in gear and got to work, all in an attempt to make Chef Chang’s signature pork buns.

It started with tracking down some pork belly in the Emerald City. Grocery butchers generally don’t carry it, so I took a special trip. You need about 3 pounds.

Pork belly is simply bacon that hasn’t been cured. It’s super fatty, tender, and totally worth a drive to your local butcher. This is not to be confused with pork stomach–-a whole other bag of worms that I don’t care to ever, ever open.

Coat it in a simple 1:1 mixture of sugar and kosher salt and let it sit overnight covered in the fridge. When you’re ready to roast, pour out any liquid that has accumulated in the pan and preheat your oven to 450F. Cook uncovered for 1 hour, then turn the temp down to 250F and cook for another hour to hour and 15 minutes.

The result? Perfectly roasted, succulent, fatty pork belly. Bonus? Save all of that rendered fat for later cooking uses.

Oh this stuff smells divine. My house has never smelled so delicious. I wanted to lick the walls.

But I didn’t. Because my walls are probably really gross.

Chang recommends wrapping the whole thing in foil and chilling before slicing. I’d have to agree—I would have loved to serve it warm from the oven but the whole thing was very soft and would have been really difficult to slice.

The most tender pork I have ever tasted. Seriously. Probably because it has the highest fat content of any pork I have ever tasted. But again—worth it.

The outside had a sweet and salty caramelized crust that gave each bite a touch of tanginess. *Swoon!*

The inside was tender and juicy.

No drooling on the computer.

Ha. I take your pork away.

I made pork buns and some other accoutrements, so tune in during the next few days to see the process and the final product.

Happy tuesday!

-RDG

*Please note: I can’t re-print recipes from cookbooks for copyright reasons. If you’d like the original recipe, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND buying Chang’s book or checking it out from your local library!

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.

TGIF!

-RDG

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

Notes:

  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.