One of the best things about baking is that there are so many ways to make the same things: cookies can be crunchy or chewy, muffins can be dense or light, and brownies can be cakey or fudgy. The thing is everyone is usually in one camp or the other. For me, cookies must be chewy and brownies must be fudgy, but when it comes to muffins, I love both kinds as long as they’re not tough.
A few days ago, I was really craving corn muffins. (Not corn bread, which I think is a different breed.) The last time I had corn muffins was on my trip to Atlanta. We stopped by a Cracker Barrel as a rest stop and had a satisfying meal… satisfying except for the corn muffins. (I call it corn muffin because it was not square but baked in a muffin pan.) Ick! What is that stuff? As I bit into the corn muffin, disappointment filled my mouth in the form of salty, bland and coarse morsels. I need my corn muffins to be sweet and corny. I set out to make my own recipe. When freshly baked, it has a crisp exterior and a light and sweet interior. I wish I had some corn kernels to add to it, but I did not at the moment. I would encourage it if you have some on hand.
1 ½ c. flour
1 ⅓ c. cornmeal (stone ground if possible)
1 c. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt
¾ c. milk
4 oz. unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 350 ˚F and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
- In a mixing bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, mix milk, butter, oil and egg.
- Mix milk mixture into the flour mixture and fold batter until just combined.
- Scoop batter evenly into the paper lined muffin pan and bake about 13-18 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
Cool and enjoy.
After hearing about Christia Tosi’s amazing creations for years, I finally had the opportunity to go to a Momofuku Milk Bar last weekend. Everything sounded delicious but I had three things I just had to try:
1) crack pie
2) cereal milk soft serve with cornflake crunch
3) corn cookie
They were all good but I think I set my bar way too high because I was not impressed for the most part. My favorite out of all three was the corn cookie and even that was disappointing because I wanted it to be more corn-y.
I had the recipe for corn cookies bookmarked from Christina Tosi’s book for years, but I didn’t want to make it before I had the real thing. So with finally having a Milk Bar experience under my belt, I gave the recipe a spin. I followed all the instructions: bought European butter, King Arthur bread flour, corn flour, and freeze dried corn, measured every single ingredient by weight, and even did two batches of cookie dough, one resting for 1 hour and another 24 hours. (FYI a 24-hour rest yielded a better cookie.)
And guess what, it wasn’t the same! It didn’t have the buttery smooth interior of the original and the flavor wasn’t all there. I’m not saying it was a bad cookie. It was delicious with a slight corn scent and a lingering crispness. I guess you could say that I was looking for a clone, but I found a sibling instead.
I’m working on my own corn cookie, a cornier and chewier version. But until then, I’ll leave you with the official recipe. (It’s still really good! I promise!)
Milk Bar Corn Cookies
From Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi, David Chang
16 tbsp. or 2 sticks (225 g) butter*, at room temperature
1½ c. (300 g) sugar
1⅓ c. (225 g) flour**
¼ c. (45 g) corn flour***
⅔ c. (65 g) freeze-dried corn powder****
¾ tsp. (3 g) baking powder
¼ tsp. (1.5 g) baking soda
1½ tsp. (6 g) kosher salt
- Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, corn flour, corn powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Using a 2 3/4-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1⁄3-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature–they will not bake properly.
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center; give them an extra minute if not.
- Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temp, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.
*European butter is recommended for the higher fat content and its characteristic yellow color.
**King Arthur Bread Flour is recommended for the higher protein content. However because of the higher protein, you must be careful when adding your flour. Once the flour is mixed, be careful not to over mix because it will easily form tough cookies.
***Corn flour can be found online or in well stocked supermarkets. I found mine at Whole Foods.
****You can make your own freeze-dried corn powder by grinding freeze-dried corn in a food processor or blender. You can find it online or in well stocked supermarkets. I found mine at Target.