Robert Frost once said, “the best way out is always through,” and after one year, three semesters, intense hard work, being strung out like a robot, eyes in front of the computer, hands frantically typing away during nights/mornings/noons at the library, coffee shops, and my desk, 60ish papers and writing assignments, fun times, cooking cooking baking baking, snacks, wine drinking, city exploring, people meeting and getting to know, growing, learning, reading, reading, reading, analyzing, discussing, sitting and drowning amongst piles of books and papers contemplating sticking my pen in my eye, wanting to quit only to come out stronger and bolder than ever, I have finished my masters program and I graduate today.
This calls for a celebration. Would it be surprising that I think the best way to do this is through cookies? Celebration, confetti cookies? I think not. If you’ve had funfetti cake, which almost the entire US population has, at least I hope, because funfetti might be the only acceptable box cake mix out there, these taste like funfetti in cookie form, like cake batter sugar cookies with pops of delicious colorful firework sprinkles.
Adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar
Notes: like many Momofuku Milk Bar recipes, this requires the making a “crumb”, giving the cookies an extra flavor depth achievable only with this extra step. The cookies only require half, save the rest to make another batch of cookies, or simply for munching or as a topper for ice cream or whatever else you can think of.
Some of these ingredients can be difficult to find. For the glucose, simply substitute light corn syrup and for the clear vanilla extract, normal vanilla extract can also be used. I used the latter for each, and the cookies were still divine and didn’t feel like they sacrificed in any way.
For the birthday cake crumb
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
¾ cup cake flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
¼ cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract (or regular)
For the cookies
1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons glucose (or light corn syrup)
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (or regular vanilla extract)
2 ½ cups flour
2/3 cup milk powder
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup rainbow sprinkles
½ recipe Birthday cake crumb (from above recipe)
Make the birthday cake crumb
Set the oven at 300 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles, and mix on low speed until well combined.
Add the oil and vanilla and paddle again to distribute. The wet ingredients will act as glue to help the dry ingredients form small clusters; continue paddling until that happens.
Stead the clusters on a parchment- or Silipat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch; they will dry and harden as they cool.
Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or scarfing by the handful. Stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will keep fresh for one week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.
Make the cookies
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the butter, sugar, and glucose (or light corn syrup) and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, milk powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and rainbow sprinkles. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute, making sure not to overmix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Still on low speed, add the birthday cake crumbs and mix in for 30 seconds-just until they are incorporated.
Using a 2 ¾-ounce ice cream scoop (or 1 ½-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not make your cookies from room temperature as they will not bake properly.
Set the oven at 350 degrees F.
Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silipat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very lightly browned on the edges (golden brown on the bottom). The centers will show just the beginning signs of color. Leave the cookies in the oven for an additional minute or so if they colors don’t match and the cookies still seem pale and doughy on the surface.
Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or airtight container for storage. At room temperature, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for one month.
We cannot make sustainable change with food, our bodies, or our surrounding habits until we honestly explore and get curious about our relationship with each of them. Mindset change is not easy, but so, so worth it.
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