Everything birthday cookies

I try to keep this blog mostly about the food, but I just have to take the opportunity to express how genuinely touched I was by the number of people in America who remembered my birthday (sometimes even across the time zone change!) and sent thoughtful notes.  I’m in year two of this Australia journey and it’s only now sinking in that the expat life is not the easiest.  Particularly on my birthday, it’s really hard to not be surrounded by the people I am closest with who have known me for years and who I can truly rely on for everything. Even though so much distance separates us and I miss people quite terribly sometimes, I know this experience is making me stronger, even if it’s not always easy.  Thank you so much to my friends who’ve stuck by my side virtually even though we barely see each other – it truly means the world to me.

In the times when life is particularly trying or I feel down, obviously I make cookies.  And these are the cookie to end all cookies in terms of almost inappropriate levels of gluttony.  Because if you can’t do that on your birthday, when can you?  My inspiration for these came from discovering a new Tim Tam flavour which is quite similar to oreos.  I love putting Tim Tams in brownies, so why not cookies?  And lately I have been quite into Christina Tosi recipes as well, so thought the addition of milk crumbs would make things even better.  I basically took my cookies and cream cookie recipe and made it more ridiculous by adding Tim Tams and milk crumbs.  Don’t worry if you don’t have Tim Tams though because you can definitely still make these with oreos.

Warning note: the dough for this one is 100% in the top 3 doughs I’ve ever made, as in it’s so delicious that I debated whether it was actually even better than the baked cookie.  Beware its presence in your fridge, and make sure you have people to share these with.

Everything birthday cookies (basically made up by me, but thanks to Christina Tosi for the invention of milk crumbs of course)

Ingredients (this will make a large batch of ~40 cookies, so feel free to halve it)

Milk crumbs:

  • 3/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt (or you can use sea salt)
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick or ~75 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 140 C / 275 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine milk powder, flour, sugar, cornstarch, and coarse salt in medium bowl; toss to mix evenly. Add butter; stir with fork until clusters form. Spread mixture evenly on prepared sheet. Bake until crumbs are dry and crumbly and slightly golden brown, about 10 (maybe 15) minutes.  I baked mine a bit longer than the original recipe called for because I like them a bit crunchier.  Cool them completely before using in a cookie dough.  Half of this recipe would go into a 1 egg cookie dough, and the full recipe would go into a 2 egg cookie dough.  You can store them for a week in an airtight container.

Cookies:

  • 200 g (2 sticks or 1 cup) butter (I realise my gram conversions are slightly off – I just find it easier to use a bit less butter than 2 sticks here since these cookies are already quite buttery from the milk crumbs).  Make sure the butter is nice and soft because it’s quite hard to work with a quantity of butter this large without it being fully softened.
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or sprinkle a nice little pinch of sea salt in there)
  • 3-4 cups flour
  • Batch of milk crumbs
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chunks
  • 5 Tim Tams (the new oreo flavour is amazing!), cut up
  • 6 oreos (I used the ones with the chocolate cream, yum) – if you can’t find Tim Tams, just use twice as many oreos, crushed up

In case you couldn’t tell, this is just a classic cookie recipe with random things I love added in.  Cream the butter and sugars together, then add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix till it’s nice and smooth.  Then add the baking soda, salt, and one cup of the flour.  After the first cup of flour is mixed in, add the milk crumbs and another cup of the flour.  At this point, I honestly play it by ear to see how the dough comes together.  Add flour by the half cup and add in all the crushed biscuits and chocolate chips.  Want to add more chocolate / cookies / other random things?  Just do it.  You should be able to pick a piece of dough up without it being runny at all, but it doesn’t need to be a solid dough, because I like to then refrigerate it for at least an hour and preferably overnight.

If you’ve done the latter, by the time you are ready to bake the dough should be solid enough so that you can easily form it into balls.  I recommend longer fridge time if possible since these cookies spread a fair bit.  Form them into fairly small balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake in a 180 C / 350 F oven for 10-12 minutes.  Check them carefully and rotate halfway through baking.  If they start to get nice and brown around the edges earlier than that, take them out!  it’s all up to personal preference of course.

IMG_4630Making milk crumbs: adding the melted butter to the dry ingredients

IMG_4631Spreading the clusters out on the baking sheet

IMG_4632Baked milk crumbs ready for cooling

IMG_4635Creaming a whole lot of butter and sugar together

IMG_4636My favourite part of the whole process – adding in those delicious crushed cookies after adding some flour

IMG_4637Finished cookies!  They should be a bit crispy on the edges but still soft in the middle.

Eating this dough was the best birthday eve snack I could think of.  These cookies were basically all about everything I like and decided I deserve on my birthday, because we all need to have days like that, right?

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