Milk Bar Mondays: Compost Cookies

This recipe may not be everyone’s cup of compost tea.

But if you’re feeling like taking a walk on the culinary wild side, courtesy of Christina Tosi, continue reading.

Or if you happen to like chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and really buttery, rich cookies, with fabulously diverse texture, and delicious little surprises tucked into each and every bite, then bear with me.

Among other ingredients, Tosi calls for potato chips, ground coffee, and mini-pretzels in her compost cookies recipe.

I used potato chips and coffee, but substituted Cap’n Crunch cereal because I didn’t have mini-pretzels but had Captain.

In the true spirit of composting, and as she advocates in the cookbook, use what you have.

She said that she always makes the best batches of compost cookies at her mother’s house because her mother has the most random assortment of odds and ends and that’s what tends to make for the most delicious varieties of compost cookies.

Tosi does not skimp on butter, ever. These cookies are heavy. As in fatty, butter-laden, filled with copious amounts of heavy, rich, butter fat.

You’ll be able to feel the butter on your lips after one of these. A true sign that you’re either eating at your grandmother’s house or have just made a Tosi recipe.

You’d think after reading the ingredients that the potato chips would dominate the flavor but instead, they add crunch, texture, and a slightly salty element to the cookies, helping to balance the sweet. It’s that sweet ‘n salty combo.

The Cap’n Crunch and whole rolled oats also gave these a diverse and varied texture. Texture is key for me. I always prefer food that is chewy and chunky to something smooth and homogenous.

I know some people say ewww.

I say I’ll try anything once!

And I’m glad I did because these were fabulous.

The flavor of the butterscotch chips was quite prevalent and I love butterscotch.

Tosi said in the cookbook that you get bonus points if you have a potato chip that’s standing upright in a baked cookie.

Does this count?


Compost Cookies – Adapted from Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook

Makes 8 enormous cookies as written below (1/3 cup raw dough per each cookie)

Recipe notes: I followed Tosi’s recipe in large part from what was written in the cookbook, with the most significant change being that I halved her original recipe as it was written (I did not desire 15 to 20 monster cookies and these are baked 4 to a sheet and I didn’t want to be baking and babysitting my oven for hours as I waited for cookies to bake and then for sheets to fully cool, etc). Less significantly, I used corn syrup rather than glucose, omitted salt, used graham cracker crumbs directly from the box rather than first making a batch of graham crust (a very significant time saver), omitted mini pretzels and used Cap’n Crunch cereal instead. Other notes are listed after each ingredient.

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed

1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup, i.e. Karo syrup in the baking aisle (her full recipe is 2 tablespoons glucose or 1 tablespoon corn syrup and I halved the corn syrup value)

1/2 extra-large egg (Tosi calls for all baking to be done with large eggs but I only had extra-large eggs. In order to use half an egg, I cracked one egg into a dish, beat it with a fork, and used half in the recipe)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (this is approximately half of her amount of 1 1/3 cups flour)

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I omitted)

scant 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (Tosi calls for 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips but I did not have mini chips)

1/4 cup butterscotch chips

1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (she has a separate recipe for Graham Crust, which is to be made first and then a partial amount it to be used in these cookies, but I simply used graham cracker crumbs)

2 heaping tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats (half of her value of 1/3 cup)

1 teaspoon ground coffee (her value for the full recipe is 2 1/2 teaspoons of coffee and I am glad I did not add any more than I did. I love coffee but this lends a pronounced flavor. If you are not a coffee lover, think twice about using it or use a tiny pinch, not a teaspoon)

1 cup potato chips (I used store-brand ruffled chips; use a good, hearty, ruffled chip and not a baked or flimsy chip)

1/2 cup Cap’n Crunch cereal (she used mini pretzels)

Combine the butter, sugars, corn syrup 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 vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes (yes that long).

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Do not walk away from mixer or overmix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham cracker crumbs, oats, coffee, and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the potato chips and cereal (or other add-ins) and mix on low speed until just incorporated, taking care not to overmix or break too many of the chips or cereal pieces.

Using a 1/3 cup measure ( or 2 3/4 ounce ice cream scoop- yes this is huge) portion out the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I portioned it onto a plastic-lined plate. After portioning the dough, pat the top of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan (or plate) 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. I waited 36 hours before baking.

Heat the oven to 375F. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart (basically you are baking 4 cookies to a sheet for the average home-baker) on parchment or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 16 minutes (Christina calls for 18 minutes but mine were very crispy on the edges at 16 and I wish I would have pulled them at 14-15 minutes as I prefer underbaked cookies). The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 16 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if that’s not the case. Note that because of the high butter content in these cookies, they will be prone to burning around the edges; watch them closely.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to an airtight storage container. At room temperature the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.


Gather your smorgasboard and Tosi encourages people to use what they have on hand.

Don’t have butterscotch chips but instead have peanut butter or white chocolate chips, toffee bits, or M&Ms, I’d use those.

Don’t like coffee? Skip it.

As I noted in the recipe section, although I do love coffee, adding ground coffee to the dough does change the flavor of the baked cookies.

Not in a wow, I just ate my coffee kind of way, but in hmmm, I think there may have been some coffee in these but in a can’t quite put my finger on the flavor kind of way.

I followed her exact instructions for creaming the butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes.

Then adding the egg and ceaming for another 7-8 minutes, minimum.

10+ minutes of creaming before proceeding

Although the dough got really fluffy and puffy after all that beating and creaming, the resulting cookies were not especially fluffy and puffy. Cookies with a high butter ratio tend not to be puffy.

The one thing they are is huge.

One-third cup of raw dough, per cookie.

My normal cookie scoop is a 1 1/2 tablespoon measure. Tosi calls for a 1/3 cup measure. She likes living large.

That’s the feather in my cap upright potato chip in my gigantic covers-most-of-a-salad-plate-sized cookie.

I labeled the composted goodies in these bowling balls of dough using PicMonkey as I mentioned here and can now vouch for the ease and fun of it.

Almost as much fun as eating one of these.

Related Christina Tosi Recipes:

Cinnamon Bun Pie – I made the 10 minute cheater’s version and highly recommend it. Best way to doctor up a can of cinnamon rolls, ever.

Crack Pie– as addictive, decadent and fabulous as the name sounds. Labor-intensive, but worth it.

Buttery Toasted Cap’n Crunchies – I used her Cornflake Crunch idea as inspiration and the result is buttery, toasted cereal that tastes like one big bowl of buttered toast pieces. If you like buttered toast, this is your recipe.

Related Composting Use-What-You-Have Recipes:

Double Chocolate Caramel Corn & Cocoa Rice Krispies Candy Bars (No-Bake with Vegan & GF options) – I made these over Christmas in Aruba when I was trying to clear out all my partially opened baggies of baking supplies from holiday baking before we had to return home.

Magic Eight Bars -Substitute what you have and like

Do you “compost” in the kitchen with your baking projects and recipes?

I’ve posted here that I have so many little bits and pieces, and baggies of half-used ingredients, that any time I can make something that’s a “toss it all in” recipe and clear out some cupboard space and use up odds and ends, I do.

Most of the baking recipes I have are very flexible and have plenty of leeway to get creative based on what you have on hand and enjoy in your desserts.

In savory recipes, the sauces, condiments, herbs, vegetables, what needs to be used, what’s a space hog in the refrigerator, help determine what I make. This egg frittata and this cheezy vegetable casserole are compost-style recipes based on what I had and needed to use up and can be tweaked as desired.

Would you ever put potato chips or cereal or coffee into cookies? Have you ever baked or made something “crazy”?

I talked about this in my Crazy Baking post that I wrote immediately after baking these cookies but before I could post about them because this post is part of my Milk Bar Monday’s baking group.

As I said there, one person’s “crazy” is another person’s normal. Don’t knock it til you try it and be a little adventurous are good words to live by.

See what the other ladies in the Milk Bar Mondays group made and what they composted into their cookies:

Audra from The Baker Chick

Cassie from Bake Your Day

Erin from Big Fat Baker

Jacqueline from The Dusty Baker

Krissy from Krissy’s Creations (hosting the group this week and full version of Tosi’s recipe is on her site)

Meagan from Scarletta Bakes

Nicole from Sweet Peony

Follow the Milk Bar Monday ladies on Twitter

Have a great week!

109 comments on “Milk Bar Mondays: Compost Cookies”

  1. Mmmmmmm, I like cookies!!!!!! Those look fabulous!

  2. My brother recommended I might like this website. He was totally right. This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  3. Pingback: pretzel + butterscotch chocolate chip cookies.

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  8. What are your thoughts on making the cookies less big? If I just reduce the baking time, it should be okay, right?

    • Make them less big – yes, I would suggest that! And reduce baking time. I personally like about a 1 to 1.5 tbsp sized dough cookie, baked at 350F for about 10 mins, give or take, in general – and in remaking these, that’s what I would do for baking time/size/temp.

  9. Awesome! Thanks!

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  12. Pingback: Compost Cookies

  13. Pingback: {Milk Bar Monday} Compost Cookies

  14. As soon as I red the name of these cookies I was won over! I’a firm believer in compost-cooking. I put everything left in the fridge on homemade pizza dough sometimes, or make “compost muffins”! The key to a Good result is often butter and and Good sweeteners (agave, honey, whatever).
    At Least that’s what I found. Man I should start my week but I rather stay on here and look at this.
    Ah wait I have a question for you!! I recently made cinnamon rolls off a magazine-reciepe, and wondered if I could substitute the butter in the dough with coconut oil? I have “unscented” organic coconut oil..what do you think?!

  15. Oh sorry me again, I forgot to add, WHAT A CUTE SPUTULA!! I need myself some reeally cute baking-supplies…is tree to four times baking a week enough to deserve extra cute supplies?!

  16. The compost cookies remind me of the concoctions my brother and I would create with little in the kitchen. Good times!

  17. Your cookies lok amazing. I went to a Momofuku class to learn how to make these from Christina and mine were greasy. they seemed to improve over a day or two. I would also make the cookies smaller and underbake them next time.

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