Compost cookies, the famous cookie served at Milk Bar in New York City, are a sweet and salty cookie that you can make at home. Learn how to make them with your own sweet and salty add-ins – no trip to New York required.
One of the places on my list when I eventually go to New York City is Momofuku Milk Bar. Momofuku has produced some pretty interesting desserts such as their crack pies, corn cookies, and compost cookies. Since I can’t go to NY anytime soon, I thought I’d try making my own compost cookies.
Since I haven’t actually tried a compost cookie from Milk Bar (update: I finally visited Milk Bar in 2013!) I searched around and found a recipe on Amateur Gourmet who found the recipe on the Regis & Kelly’s website. I couldn’t wait to try them.
What are Compost Cookies?
The compost cookie is the creation of famed pastry chef, Christina Tosi of Momofuku and it’s basically an “everything but the kitchen sink” cookie. Instead of just a simple chocolate chip cookie, the dough is loaded up with all kinds of sweet and salty snacks like crushed potato chips, pretzels, rice cereal, butterscotch and chocolate chips. It’s a sweet and salty cookie that is one of the most popular treats at Milk Bar.
The original compost cookie is made with specific ingredients (including coffee grounds and oats!), but I decided to put my own little spin on them. My version has all of the salty-sweet components, but just a little different from the original.
The cookie dough, without the add-ins, is like a chocolate chip cookie dough with one difference. The big difference is how you mix all of the ingredients together. Once the butter and sugar have been creamed together, the eggs are added and then you beat them with the butter and sugar for 10 minutes. This is much longer than the standard cookie recipe.
When the eggs, butter and sugar are beaten together for that long all of the sugars totally dissolve and the mixture turns pale and lots of air will be incorporated, which is important in achieving the right texture for the cookies.
What makes these cookies compost cookies are the add-ins! Like I mentioned, the original compost cookie has very specific add-ins, but I decided to use some similar ingredients I had on hand to make mine. The goal is a cookie that’s loaded with sweet and salty snacks. Here are the add-ins I used:
- Kettle potato chips
- Kit Kat candy bars
- Chocolate chips
- Japanese rice crackers
The Japanese rice crackers were my one “out there” ingredients, but I thought a little spiciness would work well in the cookies. The original compost cookie has rice cereal and so I thought the rice crackers would be similar.
You add the add-ins right at the end and stir just until they incorporated. Like a lot of cookie recipes, it’s important to not over-mix the dough once the flour and other dry ingredients have been added otherwise your cookies won’t be as tender.
Chilling the Dough
By now, you’ve probably figured out this isn’t a quick and easy cookie recipe, but there’s definitely a reason for all of the steps so I don’t recommend skipping any especially chilling the dough.
I scooped the dough into balls, lined them up on a cookie sheet, wrapped the sheet in plastic and popped them in the fridge. The dough needs to chill for at least an hour. This is similar to my favorite New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies although you don’t have to chill compost cookie dough for as long. Chilling allows all of the flavors to develop and absorb into the flour.
The nice thing is that the cookie dough will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator so you can definitely make these ahead and bake them later.
I was happy with how the cookies came out, although I’m excited to try the original compost cookies at Milk Bar if we ever get to New York. My cookies were big, sugary, and a little on the flat/thin side.
The add-ins I chose were interesting. I enjoyed the crunchy textures the chips provided. Although, the Kit Kats seemed to get lost and the Japanese rice crackers got a little soggy and lost some of their crunchiness. I used spicy ones so they did add a little spicy kick to the cookie.
But you don’t have to use the same add-ins I did so maybe try some of your favorite sweet and salty treats and see how they work for you. I’m not sure this will be a go-to cookie for me because they do take time, but they were fun to make and tasted good!
You might like to try Alton Brown’s chocolate chip cookies or my bourbon cookies, too!
Momofuku Compost Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter that's two sticks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp corn syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsps Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups your favorite baking ingredients I used chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups your favorite snack foods chips, pretzels, etc. I used chips, japanese rice crackers and kit kat bars
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for two to three minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides with a spatula.
- On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.
- When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Mix 45 - 60 seconds just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
- On the same low speed, add in the hodgepodge of your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30 - 45 seconds until they evenly mix into the dough. Add in your favorite snack foods last, paddling again on low speed until they are just incorporated.
- Using a 6 oz. ice cream scoop, portion cookie dough onto a parchment lined sheetpan.
- Wrap scooped cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour or up to 1 week. (I put plastic wrap over my baking sheet and stuck the whole thing in the fridge for an hour.)
- DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Take the plastic off your cookies and bake 9 to 11 minutes. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread.
- At 9 minutes, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for the additional minutes if these colors don't match up and your cookies still seem pale and doughy on the surface.
- Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before transferring to a plate or an airtight container or tin for storage. At room temp, they'll keep five days.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
I always make sure to stop by the Milk Bar to pick up those cookies, though my favorite are the blueberry cream and the marshmallow corn flake. I like the compost, but I don’t like the coffee flavors within the batter. I hope you get to check it out soon.
Ooh blueberry cream and marshmallow corn flake both sound interesting. I wish I had as much vacay time as you..you always seem to be taking a trip somewhere. My one big trip this year is going to be Taiwan in the Fall.
I love Momofuko but I’ve actually never gotten their compost cookies. I’m a huge fan of the cakes they have, though! Hope you make a trip to NY to try them:-)
I have such a long list, I think I’ll be eating non-stop for a week if I go!
I’ve made Cookie Madness’ version of Momofuku’s Compost Cookies a couple of times, and they’re one of my favourites (next to NY Times chocolate chip cookies). I use mixings that will give me something similar to Momofuku’s. I’ve tried their compost cookies, and they’re not bad. But I like mine better 🙂 Momofuku’s stuff is good but a little overrated, IMHO.
Cookie Madness’ version? I’ll have to look into it! I have some friend who live in NY who don’t really like Momofuku either.
The cookies look amazing! My fave cookies are the thin, crispy edges kind!
This would be a fun cookie to make b/c the ‘out there’ item can be so fun to choose.
Is there a reason for baking soda in cookies – my grams always made me nervous saying it’s bad for your health? Is it to preserve the freshness of the cookie?
Yes, the baking soda is the leavening agent so that the cookies rise and spread. Very important if the recipe calls for baking soda to add the baking soda!