I love cookies. Sometimes a little too much, as my waistline can surely attest. And although in about a week or so my yearly New Year’s resolution to eat better kicks in, for now I can (and will) enjoy all things cookie. My favorite ones to make recently are these Compost Cookies. I actually first made these cookies last year, but in the last couple months I’ve found myself making them quite a bunch for our friends and family.
The secret to the Compost Cookie greatness is in the same salty-sweet combination that makes chocolate covered pretzels so brilliant. And in the true spirit of composting, you can use whatever salty or sweet mix-ins you have lying around the house, which ensures a new and unique cookie every time you bake up a batch.
This recipe comes from Pastry Chef Christina Tosi of NYC’s Momofuku Milk Bar. You may remember that name from when I posted an adapted version of her Crack Pie with Speculoos recipe a few weeks back. Compost Cookies are one of her best-selling desserts, and is a perfect cookie to try out on family and friends during this last week of cookie overload before the New Year.
In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer at the ready, put 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter*, 1 cup sugar, 2/3 cup light brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons light corn syrup**.
* Make sure to use softened butter. I’m usually pretty impatient and can never wait for the butter to come to “room temperature”, but it’s pretty important here. Placing the butter in the microwave for a few seconds normally does the trick for my Type A – get – everything – done – quickly personality.
**The original recipe calls for glucose, but who really has that lying around? Light corn syrup is a good substitute. I’ve also just left out the corn syrup entirely and the cookies still come out amazing. If you don’t have it, don’t sweat it.
Cream the butter, sugars, and light corn syrup together on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of your bowl, add 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and beat on medium-high for an additional 7-8 minutes.
I know, 7-8 minutes?! …that seemed like a really long time to me too. However, its during this time that you will see the mixture transform into a beautiful pale ribbon of buttery, sugary goodness.
Meanwhile, get your dry ingredients together: 1 1/3 cups AP flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt.
Once the 7-8 minutes have elapsed, reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the flour mixture.
Mix just until it all comes together to form a dough and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Christina Tosi specifically warns us at this step to not over-mix the dough.
Now comes the fun part… the mix-ins. On low speed, add in whatever salty-sweet snacks you want. Mix just until combined. Here are some ideas for you: chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, butterscotch chips, toffee chips, old-fashioned rolled oats, rice krispies, ground coffee (not instant), m&ms, or crushed up: graham crackers, oreos, potato chips, and/or pretzels!
Go conservative. Go crazy. It’s completely up to you! Just be careful with the crushed up items that you don’t pulverize them up too much. You want some substance to your snacks: you’re not going for potato chip powder or pretzel essence.
A note about potato chips, which I highly recommend using in these cookies. Use hearty, sturdy potato chips over the flimsy, easily broken ones. It will provide better texture in the cookie.
And if you want to know what I normally use, here are some of my Compost Cookie staples: chocolate chips, rice krispies, and crushed up potato chips and pretzels.
Warning: this cookie dough is insanely addictive. Try your best not to eat it all and save some for the actual baking. Also, the dough freezes very well, so at this point feel free to wrap up some of it in plastic wrap and save for a future date.
Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop or a 1/3-cup measure (I just eyeball it with a spoon), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined (or silicone mat) baking sheet, spacing each cookie a couple inches apart. Wrap the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to a couple days before baking. This part is crucial. Do not attempt to bake the cookies at room temperature. They will just spread into one big massive mess and not bake up properly.
I recommend eating these while still warm, with a nice big glass of milk.
Sweet. Salty. Delicious.