Milk and Cereal, for Tara


(Milk and Cereal Cookie)

Tara will forgive me, I hope. It has taken me well and above what anyone would politely consider a reasonable gap between promise and deliverance of this recipe. If it’s any consolation, I blame the cookie’s deliciousness. It took several batches before I finally managed to hang on to a single cookie long enough to take a picture of it.

This milk and cereal cookie combines my favourite components from two Momofuku Milk Bar cookies : the chewiness factor from the cornflake cookie, and the milky richness of the blueberry and cream cookie.

The main revelation for me, apart from the wonderment of the milk crumble (which I imagine could form an interesting garnish for a ‘peaches and cream’ dessert), was the use of glucose in the cookie dough which made it crazily, amazingly and rather giddy-headedly, chewy. I have taken out some of the sugar from the original recipe, and am happy with the sweetness level it now stands at. If you like, you can omit a bit more caster sugar and the cookie will still be pretty chewy. Bear in mind however, that every gram you remove from the recipe, is one less gram of fun that you’re sucking out of the cookie!

Milk and Cereal Cookies :
(based on a combination of recipes by Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar)

312g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
226g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
100g glucose
1 large egg
40g cornflakes, crushed
70g milk crumbs (recipe below)
50g dried cranberries or dried blueberries (optional)

Line two baking sheets with baking paper; set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both the sugars. Add the glucose and mix until well combined. Add the egg, mixing to combine, then fold in the flour mixture, followed by the cornflakes, milk crumbs and dried berries (if using).

Using an ice-cream scoop about 2 1/8 inch in diameter, scoop dough into balls and place them about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Preheat the oven to 190’C. Transfer baking sheets to refrigerator until dough is chilled, about 15 minutes. [Note: You can bake them straight away instead of chilling, if you can’t wait. The resulting cookies will be slightly flatter] Transfer baking sheets to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until cookies are golden brown and tops begin to crackle, about 15 minutes.

Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Milk crumbs :
(This makes more than you need, but the crumbs are a delicious addition to other things, such as muffins)

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon skim milk powder
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
20g unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup white chocolate buttons, melted

Preheat the oven to 110’C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons milk powder, flour, cornflour, sugar and salt. Stir in the melted butter until well combined. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet. Bake until dried and crumbly, about 12 minutes. Remove milk crumble from oven and let cool completely.

Transfer milk crumble to a large bowl and fold in remaining 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoon milk powder and melted white chocolate. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Comments (37)

Tags: , , ,

Recipe as analogy : White chocolate and preserved lime fudge


(White Chocolate and Preserved Lime Fudge)

Once I forgot the butter in a cake. It turned out sweet, but dry. Nothing lubricating each little crumb, and as I tried to eat it, it clung to my throat a little longer than I wanted it to, as if in vengeance. As I tried to cough or breathe,

it said :

Hello there baker
who likes to spend hours, thumbing through crisp pages of unused cookbooks.
Who is obsessed with ‘perfect’ banana bread, and
who has eaten cake for breakfast, or dessert for dinner.
Who chooses the light of the oven over the sun glinting off leaves on trees.

Look out the window.

Do you feel the hours slipping through your fingers like butter, or clump between your nails, like flour. Is it hard to remember the important things that make up this crazy recipe called life?

Sometimes you need to take a break. Rewind to the time when you didn’t have so many different flours in your cupboard, or when you never used to run out of sugar twice in one week. When the question was What shall I do today, rather than What shall I bake today?

I coughed. The crumb crawled down to the pit of my stomach.

Screw you, little crumb, I said.

I tossed the rest of the cake out, and made fudge instead.

White chocolate and salted lemon fudge :
((Just like life, often the best recipes incorporate a little sweet, sour and salty. To keep it interesting. This lovely fudge recipe is from Desserts by David Everitt-Matthias)

100ml double cream
750g granulated sugar
250ml liquid glucose
400g white chocolate, chopped
50g unsalted butter, diced
125g salted lemons, finely chopped [I used preserved lime, but David salts his own lemons with coarse sea salt, bay leaf, lemon juice and olive oil]

Put the double cream, granulated sugar and glucose in a large, heavy-based saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Raise the heat and boil until it reaches 140’C on a sugar thermometer, stirring frequently to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a freestanding food mixer and start beating on low speed. Add the chopped chocolate in 3 stages, allowing each one to be incorporated before adding the next. Then add the butter and beat well on low speed. Finally mix in the salted lemons.

Pour the mixture into a baking tray lined with baking parchment, place another sheet of parchment on top and leave to cool. Put it in the fridge to set. Cut it into the desired shapes and store in an airtight container until needed.

You could also pour some melted white chocolate on the fudge before cutting it.

Comments (39)

Tags: , , ,

You can take the girl out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the gateau out of the girl


(Black Forest Gateau with cherry chocolate jelly)

In a past or future life, I’d like to imagine myself as an accomplished writer. Someone who is proficient in conjuring up fact or fantasy. We don’t have any writers in the family (and I’m sure you won’t hear many Asian parents bemoaning that fact). Right now, I am happy to attempt to convey my emotions through the things I bake.

Fantasy : We approached the cottage built entirely from gingerbread. An old woman beckoned to us from the front window. Come inside, my dears, I have DSLR cameras you can use to take pictures of the house with.

Fact : A few weeks ago, I advanced another year in my life. It’s nauseating how cliched we become as we get older. Kids these days? I believe I have been known to use that phrase several times, without a trace of irony.

I don’t usually bother to celebrate my birthday in any big way. Vaguely in the same month, my family will congregate at a restaurant for dinner, and the boy will get me a gift. This year, I also decided to quietly bake myself a cake.


Fantasy : She refused the glossy red apple the old woman offered her. Sorry, but I’m a locavore who only eats biodynamic and organic these days, she said.

Fact : It’s been a long time since I last made a Black Forest cake, and an even longer time since I’d eaten one. For many years, it was my favourite childhood cake. Every year I would request it from the same cake shop, for my birthday. One year, mom talked me into picking a fruit flan, for the sake of trying something different. It turned out to be quite a disappointing birthday. I suspect I even spent five years learning German in high school just so I could say Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte with conviction.

Somewhere along the way however, this cake fell out of favour (or flavour). But I got to thinking about it again, as one does any childhood memory, the further you travel away from being aged 9 or even 19.

My version is composed of a chocolate cake doused with cherry syrup, topped with cherry brandy mousse, bitter dark chocolate mousse, cherries and pools of chocolate sauce. Cubes of Kirsch flavoured chocolate jellies and dehydrated chocolate cake crumbs add a juicy, boozy burst and chocolate crunch respectively.

The chocolate sponge component is from Heston’s ultimate Black Forest cake recipe, which appears in his Fat Duck cookbook. I had initial reservations about the sponge, until I tasted it after letting it cool for an hour or two. Amazingly moist and moreish.


Fantasy : Once overtime and union fees had been negotiated, the mice happily went to work, piecing together the dress that she was to wear to the ball.

Fact : I searched every drawer in the house for a small candle to fix on top of the cake before cutting into it, but it appears I don’t own any; just the emergency supersized candles with 4 – 5 wicks.

Tasting this cake, and blushing from the Kirsch, I was reminded of so many things. Sometimes revisting a favourite food is like meeting an old friend again. Your friendship may have fallen to the wayside and things might’ve been said along the way, but there’s no denying the history and the good times you’ve shared.

I wish I could relive those times, but the truth is, as good as the times were, they also involved mock cream, maraschino cherries and chocolate vermicelli. Those weren’t the glory days.

This cake reminds me of being 9. That greedy little 9 year old with a bowl haircut, and a penchant for fried foods and cake. Why do we suffer from so much nostalgia as we get older? I’m telling you, being 9 isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, especially when you can’t even choose your own cake. I prefer to raise my fork in celebration of the now, and to future things. To the friends I continue to meet along the way, and the boy who has hung around for the past 12 – 13 and not-really-counting years. Here’s to many more years of discovery and re-discovery, and if every now and then I encounter a Black Forest cake in my travels, I’ll be sure to say hello to it.

Comments (100)

Tags: , , , , , ,

« Previous Page · Next Page »