Christina Tosi, the owner, founder and chef of Momofuku Milk Bar, offers tips from her kitchen.
Photo Credit: Daniel Krieger
Top Dessert-Making Tools
Always have a "good stand mixer and a good oven," advises Tosi. "Most everything else can be done by hand or worked around." Tosi also credits her delicious desserts to unsalted European-style butter and imagination.
At Milk Bar, "we love to steep things in milk ([like] cereal, popcorn and pretzels) to make flavored milks, cake batters and ice creams," offers Tosi. "We also love to grind things down into a powder ([think] corn, pretzels, oats, Corn Flakes and popcorn) to fold them into cookie dough, pie crusts, cakes and breads in place of flour for a surprise punch of flavor!"
Don't give up on products if they aren't perfect. "That is half of the story of Milk Bar's most popular items," explains Tosi. "Make something new out of your ‘failure’; fold it into a cookie dough [or] sprinkle it over ice cream."
The chef's grandma taught her to cook with this mentality. "She taught me to never take myself too seriously in the kitchen," says Tosi. "[There is] no such thing as a kitchen disaster and no such thing as a batch of cookies that couldn’t find a home – no matter how mis-measured or under- or over- baked."
Plan Your Groceries Ahead
Tosi believes that shopping for ingredients is one of the hardest parts of baking. Her solution? "I’d say plan ahead and source all of your ingredients (I love ordering online!) so you can spend all of your time and effort in the kitchen, not grocery shopping or shopping for equipment!"
Know When to Call it Quits
"Nothing else matters if you don’t know when something is baked just enough," asserts the chef.
Tosi finds inspiration all over: from eating out, cooking at home and sharing recipes with family and friends. Additionally, one of her favorite places to get inspired is at the grocery story. "[I] inch up and down aisles to strike an innovative moment in my imagination with food!"
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Christina Tosi, the owner, founder and chef of Momofuku Milk Bar, teaches us a thing or two about getting innovative in the kitchen.
"I have always had a sweet tooth," admits Momofuku Milk Bar owner, founder and chef Christina Tosi. "I've been eating cookie dough as long as I can remember. I started baking around six or seven. My grandmother realized I was eating my weight in cookies, rather than vegetables!"
Tosi is known for her innovative desserts, from her famed birthday cake and cereal milk soft serve to her compost and corn cookies, the sky is the limit for the baker. She names strawberry, Ritz cracker and celery root as well as cereal milk, avocado and chocolate-hazelnut among her most unique flavor combinations.
While she creates fresh concepts, her desserts are born out of nostalgia and often from the perspective of a home cook. "My baking style was originally very homey—I was a home baker, self-taught but highly influenced by the matriarchs in my family," explains Tosi, who later went on to culinary school. "My baking style is now a mixture of the both: homey concepts slightly elevated through formal training."
In her highly acclaimed cookbook, simply named Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook, Tosi exposes her shop's recipes and continues to let her creativity run wild. "I hone in on honest flavors, and let my appetite and imagination wander into flavor combinations," explains the baker.
Check out the slideshow above to learn some of the dessert goddess's top tips.