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Holiday Baking with Christina Tosi

Holiday Baking with Christina Tosi


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When you are looking for a holiday baking advice, who better to ask for holiday baking advice than the accomplished and busy pastry chef/founder/owner of Momofuku Milk Bar Christina Tosi?

Tosi, who won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef earlier this year, is known for her whimsically-styled playful desserts and sometimes unusual list of ingredients, which have included corn flakes, coffee grounds, and potato chips, to name a few.

This year, Tosi has been busy judging MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, launching a Milk Bar pop-up in Madison Square Park, expanding her Milk Bar empire to D.C., and releasing her second cookbook Milk Bar Life.

We took a minute to catch up with Tosi to find out what her all-time favorite holiday recipes are, some much needed baking hacks for working under a time crunch, and how to create her signature “naked cake” look with her latest creation, Tosi’s Baileys cake (perfect for wowing at holiday parties if you can keep from immediately slicing into it).

The Daily Meal: What are some of your all-time favorite holiday recipes?

Christina Tosi: It's not a holiday without cookies! My favorites this time of year are all hilariously enough in my second cookbook Milk Bar Life — a batch of cut-out cookies, frosted and decorated; the Greta, my mom’s recipe for sugar cookie bars shared with the world; or my grandma’s oatmeal cookies.

If I’m with my little nieces, any kind of cereal bound with marshmallow, colored green, shaped like a doughnut, and adorned festively with red hots, makes the most yummy Wreath Krispie Treats!

Can you share some of your favorite holiday hacks for baking?

For as much and as hard as I like to work, I set myself up by doing as much as possible in advance. There are a lot of cookies that you can make the dough or scoop the dough ahead of time, which makes it really easy to get the job done.

One of my favorite cookie tricks came from my grandma. In storing your cookies, put a slice of bread into the container with your cookies. That’s the best way to keep your cookies nice and moist. It will breathe new life into your cookies for three or four days.

What are some of your tips for baking in large batches for parties, edible gifts, etc.?

Make a huge batch of cinnamon buns and portion them individually unbaked. Send your guests home with them and instructions to bake and frost the next morning. It’s a baller parting gift that keeps giving.

For a more cocktail-esque party, I love to triple the recipe for Rosemary Nuts, from Milk Bar Life and pack them into little mason jars with a ribbon and nametag for each guest! I put a few bowls of the leftovers out so folks can snack while they drink and get excited about what they take home!

What are your favorite desserts to serve at large holiday parties?

A fun holiday treat that I can’t get enough of are candy canes! I eat them straight, fold them into nearly any recipe, and love mixing them into hot chocolate with a splash of Baileys Irish Cream as an after dinner treat. This is always a cozy crowd pleaser!

If you want to really pump up the volume as a host, make little recipe cards for the hot chocolate and send folks home with their own little bottles of Baileys to recreate on another fun winter’s night!

You are known for your naked cakes. How can readers recreate that look at home?

Knowing that you're not going to hide the fillings and fun of a cake behind a sheath of fondant or frosting means you can really play with color and texture within the flavor profile of a cake! Anything spreadable or textural can be a cake filling. Just be sure you have a good structure to build your cake in: We use a 6” or 10” cake ring and a strip of acetate to allow us to build the cake up and then unwrap it once it’s been layered and set in the freezer overnight!

Do you have any tips for icing cakes and keeping layers even?

When we assemble our layer cakes at Milk Bar, we use a bent spoon to spread frosting and fillings between each layer, with a close attention to texture, temperature, and timing!

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest creation, the Baileys cake?

Passion fruit, chocolate, and Baileys Irish Cream is one of my favorite flavor trios. Though the combo sounds a little out there, it’s a mind blowingly perfect fit! (Trust me, I know a thing or two…)

It’s chocolate chip cake, soaked with Baileys, then layered with passion fruit curd, chocolate crumbs, and a coffee spiked Baileys Irish Cream Frosting. It’s a fun, bright, festive new tradition to fold into this holiday season!


Milk Bar's Christina Tosi wants you to soak your cake in coffee and break this golden tiramisu rule

I have a confession to make: my boyfriend and I not only watch Masterchef Junior, we cry at the end of almost every episode. Really. My man and I hold each other and whimper as a𠅍impled, shiny-eyed, sometimes bow-wearing, often better dressed than most adults we know𠅌hild gets sent home from the competition when her or his culinary creation doesn’t quite meet the mark. This is where I first became familiar with Christina Tosi, the Masterchef judge with a Cheshire smile and insatiable sweet tooth. When I tell her that Masterchef Junior hits me in the core of my heart, she assures me that the kids who leave “quickly bounce back.” And I believe her.

Tosi is the founder and brainchild behind Milk Bar, a dessert company that celebrates its 10 year anniversary today, November 15th𠅊nd one that changed dessert culture in New York before changing dessert culture everywhere. Tosi got her break working at New York City fine dining restaurants Bouley and wd

50, the latter of which became a trial ground for many of the desserts that live on Milk Bar’s menu now. But it wasn’t until she met and partnered with Momofuku restaurant group’s David Chang that the seeds for Milk Bar as we know it were sown. (If you haven’t watched her episode of Chef’s Table, the time is now.) Tosi’s creativity and relentless desire to upend tradition when it comes to classic desserts (chess pie became crack pie leftover cereal milk became a non-disposable ingredient birthday cakes debuted naked before the naked cake trend existed) paid off—Milk Bar is a veritable pastry empire, with 15 locations and counting across the U.S. and in Toronto (a Los Angeles flagship store opened on Melrose Avenue in 2018).

I caught up with Tosi to learn more about her new partnership with Folgers coffee (just in time for holiday baking season), her most nostalgic flavor memories, and how inclusivity factors into her brand and baking philosophy.

Nicole Adlman (NA): What is your favorite holiday food or flavor memory?
Christina Tosi (CT): We have a tradition in my household where cinnamon buns magically appear early in the morning, the morning of every holiday. And I started taking over the responsibility when I was a teenager and honing in on my most beloved cinnamon bun recipe. I knead the dough late at night the night before and make the gooey filling and roll it all up and get it ready, and then I set my alarm for the wee hours of the morning, five or six a.m., to pull them out, let them proof. And then I𠆝 bake them, and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns waft throughout whatever house I am in. And I goo on that cream cheese frosting and it pulls everyone out of bed, they get their nice pot of coffee poured into cups, and everyone just kind of goes crazy over these cinnamon buns. And that is long before we start to think about any other food for the rest of the day.

NA: Did you figure out if that magical appearance was something your grandmother or mother did for you growing up?
CT: I don’t actually know who started the tradition. I know that when I was, I can’t remember, I think I was 16 or 17 years old, I took over the tradition from my mom, and I said, I’m going to do it this year. And once you raise your hand and say “I’ll be the one that wakes up at six o𠆜lock in the morning,” no one argues with you. But it is just my favorite flavor and food memory, and my favorite thing to do. There’s something about watching everyone wake up over a glorious cup of coffee and a gooey cinnamon bun.

NA: Do you sell a concrete version of that nostalgia at Milk Bar?
CT: We don’t, but the recipe is in Milk Bar Life, our second cookbook. We used to sell those cinnamon buns 10 years ago when we first opened Milk Bar. And then we turned it into a cinnamon bun pie. Cinnamon buns are so decadent that you shouldn’t really eat them every day it only happens in our home on special occasions.

NA: What appealed to you about the partnership and recipe concepting with Folgers?
CT: Coffee and virtually any kind of dessert go hand and hand. I’m a big, crazy coffee fanatic and I live on coffee and live on cake, as you can imagine. A lot of my professional work is done by walking back on memory lane and stumbling upon the nostalgic flavors and feelings of my childhood, and Folgers coffee was a very big part of my upbringing. My dad would brew his pot every morning before he went off to work at the Department of Agriculture, and the idea of this partnership felt fun, spirited, and sort of brought me back to when I first got my start in the home kitchen. And it’s been great to talk through and think through what the perfect pairing of dessert and coffee is, or more aptly what cake and coffee look like, and to create different recipes to inspire home bakers.

NA: What do you specifically love about the flavor of coffee, and what are some unexpected ways we can use coffee in baking or savory cooking?
CT:
So the flavor of coffee—much like some of my favorite flavors to play with in the kitchen like passion fruit and chocolate—has the ability to be so versatile. It holds creamy notes really well, it holds fatty notes really well. It can be both bitter and floral and acidic and rich and bold. There are mellow and quiet notes, depending on how you pair it or how you use it, and so it is an ingredient I adore. There’s something about…I think when you’re a cook in a kitchen first getting your start, you live on coffee. You work really long hours, you work long after everyone has gone to bed at night or long before everyone wakes up in the morning. And that relationship you have with the first sip of coffee in your day is a singular relationship. You huddle over your hot cup of coffee and it feels like a warm hug when nobody’s around.

On a really emotional level and in a really sweet way, I still to this day will almost huddle over or hug my cup of coffee, even if I’m taking it on the subway to go to work. And for me coffee also celebrates the beauty of the solitary moment you have where it’s just you and the world. Either you’re going to work, coming home, or you know, baking that last batch of something or the first batch of something. And so I think you find it in a lot of sweet and savory cooking because it is both an element of a cook’s life and an ingredient that we all love because of its versatility.

My favorite ways to kind of sneak it in to, to wow it into things, is to use it as a cake soak. We soak all of the cakes that we make, whether I’m at home or in the kitchen. Cake soak is a fun way to add flavor and moisture to a cake, and using an unexpected flavor like freshly brewed coffee is an extra fun way to do it. Like with my tiramisu layer cake, where I basically take a vanilla cake and dunk it in or brush it with a really bold blend of coffee that can hold a tone and make the richest, moistest dessert.

I love using coffee, a teaspoon or two, when I’m making a frosting or a cake or a cookie recipe. I think it adds both great aromatic notes but also great texture. I use ground coffee in the compost cookie pound cake for example, and it provides both. If I make something like a frosting, I might add either freshly brewed coffee or instant coffee or both to add an extra zing, a zazz, a real punch of flavor. None of my desserts are a whisper of flavor. They’re all very bold and exist to hold a tone on a table. So coffee helps embolden those flavor profiles. I like it as a secret ingredient in my chocolate desserts, which enhances the chocolate flavor. It can hold both a super mild fruit tart against a nice light-bodied coffee, and it can go all the way and as wild and intense as a super rich decedent chocolate dessert paired with a dark blend.

NA: I’m definitely going to get coffee after this.
CT: I know, right?


Milk Bar's Christina Tosi wants you to soak your cake in coffee and break this golden tiramisu rule

I have a confession to make: my boyfriend and I not only watch Masterchef Junior, we cry at the end of almost every episode. Really. My man and I hold each other and whimper as a𠅍impled, shiny-eyed, sometimes bow-wearing, often better dressed than most adults we know𠅌hild gets sent home from the competition when her or his culinary creation doesn’t quite meet the mark. This is where I first became familiar with Christina Tosi, the Masterchef judge with a Cheshire smile and insatiable sweet tooth. When I tell her that Masterchef Junior hits me in the core of my heart, she assures me that the kids who leave “quickly bounce back.” And I believe her.

Tosi is the founder and brainchild behind Milk Bar, a dessert company that celebrates its 10 year anniversary today, November 15th𠅊nd one that changed dessert culture in New York before changing dessert culture everywhere. Tosi got her break working at New York City fine dining restaurants Bouley and wd

50, the latter of which became a trial ground for many of the desserts that live on Milk Bar’s menu now. But it wasn’t until she met and partnered with Momofuku restaurant group’s David Chang that the seeds for Milk Bar as we know it were sown. (If you haven’t watched her episode of Chef’s Table, the time is now.) Tosi’s creativity and relentless desire to upend tradition when it comes to classic desserts (chess pie became crack pie leftover cereal milk became a non-disposable ingredient birthday cakes debuted naked before the naked cake trend existed) paid off—Milk Bar is a veritable pastry empire, with 15 locations and counting across the U.S. and in Toronto (a Los Angeles flagship store opened on Melrose Avenue in 2018).

I caught up with Tosi to learn more about her new partnership with Folgers coffee (just in time for holiday baking season), her most nostalgic flavor memories, and how inclusivity factors into her brand and baking philosophy.

Nicole Adlman (NA): What is your favorite holiday food or flavor memory?
Christina Tosi (CT): We have a tradition in my household where cinnamon buns magically appear early in the morning, the morning of every holiday. And I started taking over the responsibility when I was a teenager and honing in on my most beloved cinnamon bun recipe. I knead the dough late at night the night before and make the gooey filling and roll it all up and get it ready, and then I set my alarm for the wee hours of the morning, five or six a.m., to pull them out, let them proof. And then I𠆝 bake them, and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns waft throughout whatever house I am in. And I goo on that cream cheese frosting and it pulls everyone out of bed, they get their nice pot of coffee poured into cups, and everyone just kind of goes crazy over these cinnamon buns. And that is long before we start to think about any other food for the rest of the day.

NA: Did you figure out if that magical appearance was something your grandmother or mother did for you growing up?
CT: I don’t actually know who started the tradition. I know that when I was, I can’t remember, I think I was 16 or 17 years old, I took over the tradition from my mom, and I said, I’m going to do it this year. And once you raise your hand and say “I’ll be the one that wakes up at six o𠆜lock in the morning,” no one argues with you. But it is just my favorite flavor and food memory, and my favorite thing to do. There’s something about watching everyone wake up over a glorious cup of coffee and a gooey cinnamon bun.

NA: Do you sell a concrete version of that nostalgia at Milk Bar?
CT: We don’t, but the recipe is in Milk Bar Life, our second cookbook. We used to sell those cinnamon buns 10 years ago when we first opened Milk Bar. And then we turned it into a cinnamon bun pie. Cinnamon buns are so decadent that you shouldn’t really eat them every day it only happens in our home on special occasions.

NA: What appealed to you about the partnership and recipe concepting with Folgers?
CT: Coffee and virtually any kind of dessert go hand and hand. I’m a big, crazy coffee fanatic and I live on coffee and live on cake, as you can imagine. A lot of my professional work is done by walking back on memory lane and stumbling upon the nostalgic flavors and feelings of my childhood, and Folgers coffee was a very big part of my upbringing. My dad would brew his pot every morning before he went off to work at the Department of Agriculture, and the idea of this partnership felt fun, spirited, and sort of brought me back to when I first got my start in the home kitchen. And it’s been great to talk through and think through what the perfect pairing of dessert and coffee is, or more aptly what cake and coffee look like, and to create different recipes to inspire home bakers.

NA: What do you specifically love about the flavor of coffee, and what are some unexpected ways we can use coffee in baking or savory cooking?
CT:
So the flavor of coffee—much like some of my favorite flavors to play with in the kitchen like passion fruit and chocolate—has the ability to be so versatile. It holds creamy notes really well, it holds fatty notes really well. It can be both bitter and floral and acidic and rich and bold. There are mellow and quiet notes, depending on how you pair it or how you use it, and so it is an ingredient I adore. There’s something about…I think when you’re a cook in a kitchen first getting your start, you live on coffee. You work really long hours, you work long after everyone has gone to bed at night or long before everyone wakes up in the morning. And that relationship you have with the first sip of coffee in your day is a singular relationship. You huddle over your hot cup of coffee and it feels like a warm hug when nobody’s around.

On a really emotional level and in a really sweet way, I still to this day will almost huddle over or hug my cup of coffee, even if I’m taking it on the subway to go to work. And for me coffee also celebrates the beauty of the solitary moment you have where it’s just you and the world. Either you’re going to work, coming home, or you know, baking that last batch of something or the first batch of something. And so I think you find it in a lot of sweet and savory cooking because it is both an element of a cook’s life and an ingredient that we all love because of its versatility.

My favorite ways to kind of sneak it in to, to wow it into things, is to use it as a cake soak. We soak all of the cakes that we make, whether I’m at home or in the kitchen. Cake soak is a fun way to add flavor and moisture to a cake, and using an unexpected flavor like freshly brewed coffee is an extra fun way to do it. Like with my tiramisu layer cake, where I basically take a vanilla cake and dunk it in or brush it with a really bold blend of coffee that can hold a tone and make the richest, moistest dessert.

I love using coffee, a teaspoon or two, when I’m making a frosting or a cake or a cookie recipe. I think it adds both great aromatic notes but also great texture. I use ground coffee in the compost cookie pound cake for example, and it provides both. If I make something like a frosting, I might add either freshly brewed coffee or instant coffee or both to add an extra zing, a zazz, a real punch of flavor. None of my desserts are a whisper of flavor. They’re all very bold and exist to hold a tone on a table. So coffee helps embolden those flavor profiles. I like it as a secret ingredient in my chocolate desserts, which enhances the chocolate flavor. It can hold both a super mild fruit tart against a nice light-bodied coffee, and it can go all the way and as wild and intense as a super rich decedent chocolate dessert paired with a dark blend.

NA: I’m definitely going to get coffee after this.
CT: I know, right?


Milk Bar's Christina Tosi wants you to soak your cake in coffee and break this golden tiramisu rule

I have a confession to make: my boyfriend and I not only watch Masterchef Junior, we cry at the end of almost every episode. Really. My man and I hold each other and whimper as a𠅍impled, shiny-eyed, sometimes bow-wearing, often better dressed than most adults we know𠅌hild gets sent home from the competition when her or his culinary creation doesn’t quite meet the mark. This is where I first became familiar with Christina Tosi, the Masterchef judge with a Cheshire smile and insatiable sweet tooth. When I tell her that Masterchef Junior hits me in the core of my heart, she assures me that the kids who leave “quickly bounce back.” And I believe her.

Tosi is the founder and brainchild behind Milk Bar, a dessert company that celebrates its 10 year anniversary today, November 15th𠅊nd one that changed dessert culture in New York before changing dessert culture everywhere. Tosi got her break working at New York City fine dining restaurants Bouley and wd

50, the latter of which became a trial ground for many of the desserts that live on Milk Bar’s menu now. But it wasn’t until she met and partnered with Momofuku restaurant group’s David Chang that the seeds for Milk Bar as we know it were sown. (If you haven’t watched her episode of Chef’s Table, the time is now.) Tosi’s creativity and relentless desire to upend tradition when it comes to classic desserts (chess pie became crack pie leftover cereal milk became a non-disposable ingredient birthday cakes debuted naked before the naked cake trend existed) paid off—Milk Bar is a veritable pastry empire, with 15 locations and counting across the U.S. and in Toronto (a Los Angeles flagship store opened on Melrose Avenue in 2018).

I caught up with Tosi to learn more about her new partnership with Folgers coffee (just in time for holiday baking season), her most nostalgic flavor memories, and how inclusivity factors into her brand and baking philosophy.

Nicole Adlman (NA): What is your favorite holiday food or flavor memory?
Christina Tosi (CT): We have a tradition in my household where cinnamon buns magically appear early in the morning, the morning of every holiday. And I started taking over the responsibility when I was a teenager and honing in on my most beloved cinnamon bun recipe. I knead the dough late at night the night before and make the gooey filling and roll it all up and get it ready, and then I set my alarm for the wee hours of the morning, five or six a.m., to pull them out, let them proof. And then I𠆝 bake them, and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns waft throughout whatever house I am in. And I goo on that cream cheese frosting and it pulls everyone out of bed, they get their nice pot of coffee poured into cups, and everyone just kind of goes crazy over these cinnamon buns. And that is long before we start to think about any other food for the rest of the day.

NA: Did you figure out if that magical appearance was something your grandmother or mother did for you growing up?
CT: I don’t actually know who started the tradition. I know that when I was, I can’t remember, I think I was 16 or 17 years old, I took over the tradition from my mom, and I said, I’m going to do it this year. And once you raise your hand and say “I’ll be the one that wakes up at six o𠆜lock in the morning,” no one argues with you. But it is just my favorite flavor and food memory, and my favorite thing to do. There’s something about watching everyone wake up over a glorious cup of coffee and a gooey cinnamon bun.

NA: Do you sell a concrete version of that nostalgia at Milk Bar?
CT: We don’t, but the recipe is in Milk Bar Life, our second cookbook. We used to sell those cinnamon buns 10 years ago when we first opened Milk Bar. And then we turned it into a cinnamon bun pie. Cinnamon buns are so decadent that you shouldn’t really eat them every day it only happens in our home on special occasions.

NA: What appealed to you about the partnership and recipe concepting with Folgers?
CT: Coffee and virtually any kind of dessert go hand and hand. I’m a big, crazy coffee fanatic and I live on coffee and live on cake, as you can imagine. A lot of my professional work is done by walking back on memory lane and stumbling upon the nostalgic flavors and feelings of my childhood, and Folgers coffee was a very big part of my upbringing. My dad would brew his pot every morning before he went off to work at the Department of Agriculture, and the idea of this partnership felt fun, spirited, and sort of brought me back to when I first got my start in the home kitchen. And it’s been great to talk through and think through what the perfect pairing of dessert and coffee is, or more aptly what cake and coffee look like, and to create different recipes to inspire home bakers.

NA: What do you specifically love about the flavor of coffee, and what are some unexpected ways we can use coffee in baking or savory cooking?
CT:
So the flavor of coffee—much like some of my favorite flavors to play with in the kitchen like passion fruit and chocolate—has the ability to be so versatile. It holds creamy notes really well, it holds fatty notes really well. It can be both bitter and floral and acidic and rich and bold. There are mellow and quiet notes, depending on how you pair it or how you use it, and so it is an ingredient I adore. There’s something about…I think when you’re a cook in a kitchen first getting your start, you live on coffee. You work really long hours, you work long after everyone has gone to bed at night or long before everyone wakes up in the morning. And that relationship you have with the first sip of coffee in your day is a singular relationship. You huddle over your hot cup of coffee and it feels like a warm hug when nobody’s around.

On a really emotional level and in a really sweet way, I still to this day will almost huddle over or hug my cup of coffee, even if I’m taking it on the subway to go to work. And for me coffee also celebrates the beauty of the solitary moment you have where it’s just you and the world. Either you’re going to work, coming home, or you know, baking that last batch of something or the first batch of something. And so I think you find it in a lot of sweet and savory cooking because it is both an element of a cook’s life and an ingredient that we all love because of its versatility.

My favorite ways to kind of sneak it in to, to wow it into things, is to use it as a cake soak. We soak all of the cakes that we make, whether I’m at home or in the kitchen. Cake soak is a fun way to add flavor and moisture to a cake, and using an unexpected flavor like freshly brewed coffee is an extra fun way to do it. Like with my tiramisu layer cake, where I basically take a vanilla cake and dunk it in or brush it with a really bold blend of coffee that can hold a tone and make the richest, moistest dessert.

I love using coffee, a teaspoon or two, when I’m making a frosting or a cake or a cookie recipe. I think it adds both great aromatic notes but also great texture. I use ground coffee in the compost cookie pound cake for example, and it provides both. If I make something like a frosting, I might add either freshly brewed coffee or instant coffee or both to add an extra zing, a zazz, a real punch of flavor. None of my desserts are a whisper of flavor. They’re all very bold and exist to hold a tone on a table. So coffee helps embolden those flavor profiles. I like it as a secret ingredient in my chocolate desserts, which enhances the chocolate flavor. It can hold both a super mild fruit tart against a nice light-bodied coffee, and it can go all the way and as wild and intense as a super rich decedent chocolate dessert paired with a dark blend.

NA: I’m definitely going to get coffee after this.
CT: I know, right?


Milk Bar's Christina Tosi wants you to soak your cake in coffee and break this golden tiramisu rule

I have a confession to make: my boyfriend and I not only watch Masterchef Junior, we cry at the end of almost every episode. Really. My man and I hold each other and whimper as a𠅍impled, shiny-eyed, sometimes bow-wearing, often better dressed than most adults we know𠅌hild gets sent home from the competition when her or his culinary creation doesn’t quite meet the mark. This is where I first became familiar with Christina Tosi, the Masterchef judge with a Cheshire smile and insatiable sweet tooth. When I tell her that Masterchef Junior hits me in the core of my heart, she assures me that the kids who leave “quickly bounce back.” And I believe her.

Tosi is the founder and brainchild behind Milk Bar, a dessert company that celebrates its 10 year anniversary today, November 15th𠅊nd one that changed dessert culture in New York before changing dessert culture everywhere. Tosi got her break working at New York City fine dining restaurants Bouley and wd

50, the latter of which became a trial ground for many of the desserts that live on Milk Bar’s menu now. But it wasn’t until she met and partnered with Momofuku restaurant group’s David Chang that the seeds for Milk Bar as we know it were sown. (If you haven’t watched her episode of Chef’s Table, the time is now.) Tosi’s creativity and relentless desire to upend tradition when it comes to classic desserts (chess pie became crack pie leftover cereal milk became a non-disposable ingredient birthday cakes debuted naked before the naked cake trend existed) paid off—Milk Bar is a veritable pastry empire, with 15 locations and counting across the U.S. and in Toronto (a Los Angeles flagship store opened on Melrose Avenue in 2018).

I caught up with Tosi to learn more about her new partnership with Folgers coffee (just in time for holiday baking season), her most nostalgic flavor memories, and how inclusivity factors into her brand and baking philosophy.

Nicole Adlman (NA): What is your favorite holiday food or flavor memory?
Christina Tosi (CT): We have a tradition in my household where cinnamon buns magically appear early in the morning, the morning of every holiday. And I started taking over the responsibility when I was a teenager and honing in on my most beloved cinnamon bun recipe. I knead the dough late at night the night before and make the gooey filling and roll it all up and get it ready, and then I set my alarm for the wee hours of the morning, five or six a.m., to pull them out, let them proof. And then I𠆝 bake them, and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns waft throughout whatever house I am in. And I goo on that cream cheese frosting and it pulls everyone out of bed, they get their nice pot of coffee poured into cups, and everyone just kind of goes crazy over these cinnamon buns. And that is long before we start to think about any other food for the rest of the day.

NA: Did you figure out if that magical appearance was something your grandmother or mother did for you growing up?
CT: I don’t actually know who started the tradition. I know that when I was, I can’t remember, I think I was 16 or 17 years old, I took over the tradition from my mom, and I said, I’m going to do it this year. And once you raise your hand and say “I’ll be the one that wakes up at six o𠆜lock in the morning,” no one argues with you. But it is just my favorite flavor and food memory, and my favorite thing to do. There’s something about watching everyone wake up over a glorious cup of coffee and a gooey cinnamon bun.

NA: Do you sell a concrete version of that nostalgia at Milk Bar?
CT: We don’t, but the recipe is in Milk Bar Life, our second cookbook. We used to sell those cinnamon buns 10 years ago when we first opened Milk Bar. And then we turned it into a cinnamon bun pie. Cinnamon buns are so decadent that you shouldn’t really eat them every day it only happens in our home on special occasions.

NA: What appealed to you about the partnership and recipe concepting with Folgers?
CT: Coffee and virtually any kind of dessert go hand and hand. I’m a big, crazy coffee fanatic and I live on coffee and live on cake, as you can imagine. A lot of my professional work is done by walking back on memory lane and stumbling upon the nostalgic flavors and feelings of my childhood, and Folgers coffee was a very big part of my upbringing. My dad would brew his pot every morning before he went off to work at the Department of Agriculture, and the idea of this partnership felt fun, spirited, and sort of brought me back to when I first got my start in the home kitchen. And it’s been great to talk through and think through what the perfect pairing of dessert and coffee is, or more aptly what cake and coffee look like, and to create different recipes to inspire home bakers.

NA: What do you specifically love about the flavor of coffee, and what are some unexpected ways we can use coffee in baking or savory cooking?
CT:
So the flavor of coffee—much like some of my favorite flavors to play with in the kitchen like passion fruit and chocolate—has the ability to be so versatile. It holds creamy notes really well, it holds fatty notes really well. It can be both bitter and floral and acidic and rich and bold. There are mellow and quiet notes, depending on how you pair it or how you use it, and so it is an ingredient I adore. There’s something about…I think when you’re a cook in a kitchen first getting your start, you live on coffee. You work really long hours, you work long after everyone has gone to bed at night or long before everyone wakes up in the morning. And that relationship you have with the first sip of coffee in your day is a singular relationship. You huddle over your hot cup of coffee and it feels like a warm hug when nobody’s around.

On a really emotional level and in a really sweet way, I still to this day will almost huddle over or hug my cup of coffee, even if I’m taking it on the subway to go to work. And for me coffee also celebrates the beauty of the solitary moment you have where it’s just you and the world. Either you’re going to work, coming home, or you know, baking that last batch of something or the first batch of something. And so I think you find it in a lot of sweet and savory cooking because it is both an element of a cook’s life and an ingredient that we all love because of its versatility.

My favorite ways to kind of sneak it in to, to wow it into things, is to use it as a cake soak. We soak all of the cakes that we make, whether I’m at home or in the kitchen. Cake soak is a fun way to add flavor and moisture to a cake, and using an unexpected flavor like freshly brewed coffee is an extra fun way to do it. Like with my tiramisu layer cake, where I basically take a vanilla cake and dunk it in or brush it with a really bold blend of coffee that can hold a tone and make the richest, moistest dessert.

I love using coffee, a teaspoon or two, when I’m making a frosting or a cake or a cookie recipe. I think it adds both great aromatic notes but also great texture. I use ground coffee in the compost cookie pound cake for example, and it provides both. If I make something like a frosting, I might add either freshly brewed coffee or instant coffee or both to add an extra zing, a zazz, a real punch of flavor. None of my desserts are a whisper of flavor. They’re all very bold and exist to hold a tone on a table. So coffee helps embolden those flavor profiles. I like it as a secret ingredient in my chocolate desserts, which enhances the chocolate flavor. It can hold both a super mild fruit tart against a nice light-bodied coffee, and it can go all the way and as wild and intense as a super rich decedent chocolate dessert paired with a dark blend.

NA: I’m definitely going to get coffee after this.
CT: I know, right?


Milk Bar's Christina Tosi wants you to soak your cake in coffee and break this golden tiramisu rule

I have a confession to make: my boyfriend and I not only watch Masterchef Junior, we cry at the end of almost every episode. Really. My man and I hold each other and whimper as a𠅍impled, shiny-eyed, sometimes bow-wearing, often better dressed than most adults we know𠅌hild gets sent home from the competition when her or his culinary creation doesn’t quite meet the mark. This is where I first became familiar with Christina Tosi, the Masterchef judge with a Cheshire smile and insatiable sweet tooth. When I tell her that Masterchef Junior hits me in the core of my heart, she assures me that the kids who leave “quickly bounce back.” And I believe her.

Tosi is the founder and brainchild behind Milk Bar, a dessert company that celebrates its 10 year anniversary today, November 15th𠅊nd one that changed dessert culture in New York before changing dessert culture everywhere. Tosi got her break working at New York City fine dining restaurants Bouley and wd

50, the latter of which became a trial ground for many of the desserts that live on Milk Bar’s menu now. But it wasn’t until she met and partnered with Momofuku restaurant group’s David Chang that the seeds for Milk Bar as we know it were sown. (If you haven’t watched her episode of Chef’s Table, the time is now.) Tosi’s creativity and relentless desire to upend tradition when it comes to classic desserts (chess pie became crack pie leftover cereal milk became a non-disposable ingredient birthday cakes debuted naked before the naked cake trend existed) paid off—Milk Bar is a veritable pastry empire, with 15 locations and counting across the U.S. and in Toronto (a Los Angeles flagship store opened on Melrose Avenue in 2018).

I caught up with Tosi to learn more about her new partnership with Folgers coffee (just in time for holiday baking season), her most nostalgic flavor memories, and how inclusivity factors into her brand and baking philosophy.

Nicole Adlman (NA): What is your favorite holiday food or flavor memory?
Christina Tosi (CT): We have a tradition in my household where cinnamon buns magically appear early in the morning, the morning of every holiday. And I started taking over the responsibility when I was a teenager and honing in on my most beloved cinnamon bun recipe. I knead the dough late at night the night before and make the gooey filling and roll it all up and get it ready, and then I set my alarm for the wee hours of the morning, five or six a.m., to pull them out, let them proof. And then I𠆝 bake them, and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns waft throughout whatever house I am in. And I goo on that cream cheese frosting and it pulls everyone out of bed, they get their nice pot of coffee poured into cups, and everyone just kind of goes crazy over these cinnamon buns. And that is long before we start to think about any other food for the rest of the day.

NA: Did you figure out if that magical appearance was something your grandmother or mother did for you growing up?
CT: I don’t actually know who started the tradition. I know that when I was, I can’t remember, I think I was 16 or 17 years old, I took over the tradition from my mom, and I said, I’m going to do it this year. And once you raise your hand and say “I’ll be the one that wakes up at six o𠆜lock in the morning,” no one argues with you. But it is just my favorite flavor and food memory, and my favorite thing to do. There’s something about watching everyone wake up over a glorious cup of coffee and a gooey cinnamon bun.

NA: Do you sell a concrete version of that nostalgia at Milk Bar?
CT: We don’t, but the recipe is in Milk Bar Life, our second cookbook. We used to sell those cinnamon buns 10 years ago when we first opened Milk Bar. And then we turned it into a cinnamon bun pie. Cinnamon buns are so decadent that you shouldn’t really eat them every day it only happens in our home on special occasions.

NA: What appealed to you about the partnership and recipe concepting with Folgers?
CT: Coffee and virtually any kind of dessert go hand and hand. I’m a big, crazy coffee fanatic and I live on coffee and live on cake, as you can imagine. A lot of my professional work is done by walking back on memory lane and stumbling upon the nostalgic flavors and feelings of my childhood, and Folgers coffee was a very big part of my upbringing. My dad would brew his pot every morning before he went off to work at the Department of Agriculture, and the idea of this partnership felt fun, spirited, and sort of brought me back to when I first got my start in the home kitchen. And it’s been great to talk through and think through what the perfect pairing of dessert and coffee is, or more aptly what cake and coffee look like, and to create different recipes to inspire home bakers.

NA: What do you specifically love about the flavor of coffee, and what are some unexpected ways we can use coffee in baking or savory cooking?
CT:
So the flavor of coffee—much like some of my favorite flavors to play with in the kitchen like passion fruit and chocolate—has the ability to be so versatile. It holds creamy notes really well, it holds fatty notes really well. It can be both bitter and floral and acidic and rich and bold. There are mellow and quiet notes, depending on how you pair it or how you use it, and so it is an ingredient I adore. There’s something about…I think when you’re a cook in a kitchen first getting your start, you live on coffee. You work really long hours, you work long after everyone has gone to bed at night or long before everyone wakes up in the morning. And that relationship you have with the first sip of coffee in your day is a singular relationship. You huddle over your hot cup of coffee and it feels like a warm hug when nobody’s around.

On a really emotional level and in a really sweet way, I still to this day will almost huddle over or hug my cup of coffee, even if I’m taking it on the subway to go to work. And for me coffee also celebrates the beauty of the solitary moment you have where it’s just you and the world. Either you’re going to work, coming home, or you know, baking that last batch of something or the first batch of something. And so I think you find it in a lot of sweet and savory cooking because it is both an element of a cook’s life and an ingredient that we all love because of its versatility.

My favorite ways to kind of sneak it in to, to wow it into things, is to use it as a cake soak. We soak all of the cakes that we make, whether I’m at home or in the kitchen. Cake soak is a fun way to add flavor and moisture to a cake, and using an unexpected flavor like freshly brewed coffee is an extra fun way to do it. Like with my tiramisu layer cake, where I basically take a vanilla cake and dunk it in or brush it with a really bold blend of coffee that can hold a tone and make the richest, moistest dessert.

I love using coffee, a teaspoon or two, when I’m making a frosting or a cake or a cookie recipe. I think it adds both great aromatic notes but also great texture. I use ground coffee in the compost cookie pound cake for example, and it provides both. If I make something like a frosting, I might add either freshly brewed coffee or instant coffee or both to add an extra zing, a zazz, a real punch of flavor. None of my desserts are a whisper of flavor. They’re all very bold and exist to hold a tone on a table. So coffee helps embolden those flavor profiles. I like it as a secret ingredient in my chocolate desserts, which enhances the chocolate flavor. It can hold both a super mild fruit tart against a nice light-bodied coffee, and it can go all the way and as wild and intense as a super rich decedent chocolate dessert paired with a dark blend.

NA: I’m definitely going to get coffee after this.
CT: I know, right?


Milk Bar's Christina Tosi wants you to soak your cake in coffee and break this golden tiramisu rule

I have a confession to make: my boyfriend and I not only watch Masterchef Junior, we cry at the end of almost every episode. Really. My man and I hold each other and whimper as a𠅍impled, shiny-eyed, sometimes bow-wearing, often better dressed than most adults we know𠅌hild gets sent home from the competition when her or his culinary creation doesn’t quite meet the mark. This is where I first became familiar with Christina Tosi, the Masterchef judge with a Cheshire smile and insatiable sweet tooth. When I tell her that Masterchef Junior hits me in the core of my heart, she assures me that the kids who leave “quickly bounce back.” And I believe her.

Tosi is the founder and brainchild behind Milk Bar, a dessert company that celebrates its 10 year anniversary today, November 15th𠅊nd one that changed dessert culture in New York before changing dessert culture everywhere. Tosi got her break working at New York City fine dining restaurants Bouley and wd

50, the latter of which became a trial ground for many of the desserts that live on Milk Bar’s menu now. But it wasn’t until she met and partnered with Momofuku restaurant group’s David Chang that the seeds for Milk Bar as we know it were sown. (If you haven’t watched her episode of Chef’s Table, the time is now.) Tosi’s creativity and relentless desire to upend tradition when it comes to classic desserts (chess pie became crack pie leftover cereal milk became a non-disposable ingredient birthday cakes debuted naked before the naked cake trend existed) paid off—Milk Bar is a veritable pastry empire, with 15 locations and counting across the U.S. and in Toronto (a Los Angeles flagship store opened on Melrose Avenue in 2018).

I caught up with Tosi to learn more about her new partnership with Folgers coffee (just in time for holiday baking season), her most nostalgic flavor memories, and how inclusivity factors into her brand and baking philosophy.

Nicole Adlman (NA): What is your favorite holiday food or flavor memory?
Christina Tosi (CT): We have a tradition in my household where cinnamon buns magically appear early in the morning, the morning of every holiday. And I started taking over the responsibility when I was a teenager and honing in on my most beloved cinnamon bun recipe. I knead the dough late at night the night before and make the gooey filling and roll it all up and get it ready, and then I set my alarm for the wee hours of the morning, five or six a.m., to pull them out, let them proof. And then I𠆝 bake them, and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns waft throughout whatever house I am in. And I goo on that cream cheese frosting and it pulls everyone out of bed, they get their nice pot of coffee poured into cups, and everyone just kind of goes crazy over these cinnamon buns. And that is long before we start to think about any other food for the rest of the day.

NA: Did you figure out if that magical appearance was something your grandmother or mother did for you growing up?
CT: I don’t actually know who started the tradition. I know that when I was, I can’t remember, I think I was 16 or 17 years old, I took over the tradition from my mom, and I said, I’m going to do it this year. And once you raise your hand and say “I’ll be the one that wakes up at six o𠆜lock in the morning,” no one argues with you. But it is just my favorite flavor and food memory, and my favorite thing to do. There’s something about watching everyone wake up over a glorious cup of coffee and a gooey cinnamon bun.

NA: Do you sell a concrete version of that nostalgia at Milk Bar?
CT: We don’t, but the recipe is in Milk Bar Life, our second cookbook. We used to sell those cinnamon buns 10 years ago when we first opened Milk Bar. And then we turned it into a cinnamon bun pie. Cinnamon buns are so decadent that you shouldn’t really eat them every day it only happens in our home on special occasions.

NA: What appealed to you about the partnership and recipe concepting with Folgers?
CT: Coffee and virtually any kind of dessert go hand and hand. I’m a big, crazy coffee fanatic and I live on coffee and live on cake, as you can imagine. A lot of my professional work is done by walking back on memory lane and stumbling upon the nostalgic flavors and feelings of my childhood, and Folgers coffee was a very big part of my upbringing. My dad would brew his pot every morning before he went off to work at the Department of Agriculture, and the idea of this partnership felt fun, spirited, and sort of brought me back to when I first got my start in the home kitchen. And it’s been great to talk through and think through what the perfect pairing of dessert and coffee is, or more aptly what cake and coffee look like, and to create different recipes to inspire home bakers.

NA: What do you specifically love about the flavor of coffee, and what are some unexpected ways we can use coffee in baking or savory cooking?
CT:
So the flavor of coffee—much like some of my favorite flavors to play with in the kitchen like passion fruit and chocolate—has the ability to be so versatile. It holds creamy notes really well, it holds fatty notes really well. It can be both bitter and floral and acidic and rich and bold. There are mellow and quiet notes, depending on how you pair it or how you use it, and so it is an ingredient I adore. There’s something about…I think when you’re a cook in a kitchen first getting your start, you live on coffee. You work really long hours, you work long after everyone has gone to bed at night or long before everyone wakes up in the morning. And that relationship you have with the first sip of coffee in your day is a singular relationship. You huddle over your hot cup of coffee and it feels like a warm hug when nobody’s around.

On a really emotional level and in a really sweet way, I still to this day will almost huddle over or hug my cup of coffee, even if I’m taking it on the subway to go to work. And for me coffee also celebrates the beauty of the solitary moment you have where it’s just you and the world. Either you’re going to work, coming home, or you know, baking that last batch of something or the first batch of something. And so I think you find it in a lot of sweet and savory cooking because it is both an element of a cook’s life and an ingredient that we all love because of its versatility.

My favorite ways to kind of sneak it in to, to wow it into things, is to use it as a cake soak. We soak all of the cakes that we make, whether I’m at home or in the kitchen. Cake soak is a fun way to add flavor and moisture to a cake, and using an unexpected flavor like freshly brewed coffee is an extra fun way to do it. Like with my tiramisu layer cake, where I basically take a vanilla cake and dunk it in or brush it with a really bold blend of coffee that can hold a tone and make the richest, moistest dessert.

I love using coffee, a teaspoon or two, when I’m making a frosting or a cake or a cookie recipe. I think it adds both great aromatic notes but also great texture. I use ground coffee in the compost cookie pound cake for example, and it provides both. If I make something like a frosting, I might add either freshly brewed coffee or instant coffee or both to add an extra zing, a zazz, a real punch of flavor. None of my desserts are a whisper of flavor. They’re all very bold and exist to hold a tone on a table. So coffee helps embolden those flavor profiles. I like it as a secret ingredient in my chocolate desserts, which enhances the chocolate flavor. It can hold both a super mild fruit tart against a nice light-bodied coffee, and it can go all the way and as wild and intense as a super rich decedent chocolate dessert paired with a dark blend.

NA: I’m definitely going to get coffee after this.
CT: I know, right?


Milk Bar's Christina Tosi wants you to soak your cake in coffee and break this golden tiramisu rule

I have a confession to make: my boyfriend and I not only watch Masterchef Junior, we cry at the end of almost every episode. Really. My man and I hold each other and whimper as a𠅍impled, shiny-eyed, sometimes bow-wearing, often better dressed than most adults we know𠅌hild gets sent home from the competition when her or his culinary creation doesn’t quite meet the mark. This is where I first became familiar with Christina Tosi, the Masterchef judge with a Cheshire smile and insatiable sweet tooth. When I tell her that Masterchef Junior hits me in the core of my heart, she assures me that the kids who leave “quickly bounce back.” And I believe her.

Tosi is the founder and brainchild behind Milk Bar, a dessert company that celebrates its 10 year anniversary today, November 15th𠅊nd one that changed dessert culture in New York before changing dessert culture everywhere. Tosi got her break working at New York City fine dining restaurants Bouley and wd

50, the latter of which became a trial ground for many of the desserts that live on Milk Bar’s menu now. But it wasn’t until she met and partnered with Momofuku restaurant group’s David Chang that the seeds for Milk Bar as we know it were sown. (If you haven’t watched her episode of Chef’s Table, the time is now.) Tosi’s creativity and relentless desire to upend tradition when it comes to classic desserts (chess pie became crack pie leftover cereal milk became a non-disposable ingredient birthday cakes debuted naked before the naked cake trend existed) paid off—Milk Bar is a veritable pastry empire, with 15 locations and counting across the U.S. and in Toronto (a Los Angeles flagship store opened on Melrose Avenue in 2018).

I caught up with Tosi to learn more about her new partnership with Folgers coffee (just in time for holiday baking season), her most nostalgic flavor memories, and how inclusivity factors into her brand and baking philosophy.

Nicole Adlman (NA): What is your favorite holiday food or flavor memory?
Christina Tosi (CT): We have a tradition in my household where cinnamon buns magically appear early in the morning, the morning of every holiday. And I started taking over the responsibility when I was a teenager and honing in on my most beloved cinnamon bun recipe. I knead the dough late at night the night before and make the gooey filling and roll it all up and get it ready, and then I set my alarm for the wee hours of the morning, five or six a.m., to pull them out, let them proof. And then I𠆝 bake them, and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns waft throughout whatever house I am in. And I goo on that cream cheese frosting and it pulls everyone out of bed, they get their nice pot of coffee poured into cups, and everyone just kind of goes crazy over these cinnamon buns. And that is long before we start to think about any other food for the rest of the day.

NA: Did you figure out if that magical appearance was something your grandmother or mother did for you growing up?
CT: I don’t actually know who started the tradition. I know that when I was, I can’t remember, I think I was 16 or 17 years old, I took over the tradition from my mom, and I said, I’m going to do it this year. And once you raise your hand and say “I’ll be the one that wakes up at six o𠆜lock in the morning,” no one argues with you. But it is just my favorite flavor and food memory, and my favorite thing to do. There’s something about watching everyone wake up over a glorious cup of coffee and a gooey cinnamon bun.

NA: Do you sell a concrete version of that nostalgia at Milk Bar?
CT: We don’t, but the recipe is in Milk Bar Life, our second cookbook. We used to sell those cinnamon buns 10 years ago when we first opened Milk Bar. And then we turned it into a cinnamon bun pie. Cinnamon buns are so decadent that you shouldn’t really eat them every day it only happens in our home on special occasions.

NA: What appealed to you about the partnership and recipe concepting with Folgers?
CT: Coffee and virtually any kind of dessert go hand and hand. I’m a big, crazy coffee fanatic and I live on coffee and live on cake, as you can imagine. A lot of my professional work is done by walking back on memory lane and stumbling upon the nostalgic flavors and feelings of my childhood, and Folgers coffee was a very big part of my upbringing. My dad would brew his pot every morning before he went off to work at the Department of Agriculture, and the idea of this partnership felt fun, spirited, and sort of brought me back to when I first got my start in the home kitchen. And it’s been great to talk through and think through what the perfect pairing of dessert and coffee is, or more aptly what cake and coffee look like, and to create different recipes to inspire home bakers.

NA: What do you specifically love about the flavor of coffee, and what are some unexpected ways we can use coffee in baking or savory cooking?
CT:
So the flavor of coffee—much like some of my favorite flavors to play with in the kitchen like passion fruit and chocolate—has the ability to be so versatile. It holds creamy notes really well, it holds fatty notes really well. It can be both bitter and floral and acidic and rich and bold. There are mellow and quiet notes, depending on how you pair it or how you use it, and so it is an ingredient I adore. There’s something about…I think when you’re a cook in a kitchen first getting your start, you live on coffee. You work really long hours, you work long after everyone has gone to bed at night or long before everyone wakes up in the morning. And that relationship you have with the first sip of coffee in your day is a singular relationship. You huddle over your hot cup of coffee and it feels like a warm hug when nobody’s around.

On a really emotional level and in a really sweet way, I still to this day will almost huddle over or hug my cup of coffee, even if I’m taking it on the subway to go to work. And for me coffee also celebrates the beauty of the solitary moment you have where it’s just you and the world. Either you’re going to work, coming home, or you know, baking that last batch of something or the first batch of something. And so I think you find it in a lot of sweet and savory cooking because it is both an element of a cook’s life and an ingredient that we all love because of its versatility.

My favorite ways to kind of sneak it in to, to wow it into things, is to use it as a cake soak. We soak all of the cakes that we make, whether I’m at home or in the kitchen. Cake soak is a fun way to add flavor and moisture to a cake, and using an unexpected flavor like freshly brewed coffee is an extra fun way to do it. Like with my tiramisu layer cake, where I basically take a vanilla cake and dunk it in or brush it with a really bold blend of coffee that can hold a tone and make the richest, moistest dessert.

I love using coffee, a teaspoon or two, when I’m making a frosting or a cake or a cookie recipe. I think it adds both great aromatic notes but also great texture. I use ground coffee in the compost cookie pound cake for example, and it provides both. If I make something like a frosting, I might add either freshly brewed coffee or instant coffee or both to add an extra zing, a zazz, a real punch of flavor. None of my desserts are a whisper of flavor. They’re all very bold and exist to hold a tone on a table. So coffee helps embolden those flavor profiles. I like it as a secret ingredient in my chocolate desserts, which enhances the chocolate flavor. It can hold both a super mild fruit tart against a nice light-bodied coffee, and it can go all the way and as wild and intense as a super rich decedent chocolate dessert paired with a dark blend.

NA: I’m definitely going to get coffee after this.
CT: I know, right?


Milk Bar's Christina Tosi wants you to soak your cake in coffee and break this golden tiramisu rule

I have a confession to make: my boyfriend and I not only watch Masterchef Junior, we cry at the end of almost every episode. Really. My man and I hold each other and whimper as a𠅍impled, shiny-eyed, sometimes bow-wearing, often better dressed than most adults we know𠅌hild gets sent home from the competition when her or his culinary creation doesn’t quite meet the mark. This is where I first became familiar with Christina Tosi, the Masterchef judge with a Cheshire smile and insatiable sweet tooth. When I tell her that Masterchef Junior hits me in the core of my heart, she assures me that the kids who leave “quickly bounce back.” And I believe her.

Tosi is the founder and brainchild behind Milk Bar, a dessert company that celebrates its 10 year anniversary today, November 15th𠅊nd one that changed dessert culture in New York before changing dessert culture everywhere. Tosi got her break working at New York City fine dining restaurants Bouley and wd

50, the latter of which became a trial ground for many of the desserts that live on Milk Bar’s menu now. But it wasn’t until she met and partnered with Momofuku restaurant group’s David Chang that the seeds for Milk Bar as we know it were sown. (If you haven’t watched her episode of Chef’s Table, the time is now.) Tosi’s creativity and relentless desire to upend tradition when it comes to classic desserts (chess pie became crack pie leftover cereal milk became a non-disposable ingredient birthday cakes debuted naked before the naked cake trend existed) paid off—Milk Bar is a veritable pastry empire, with 15 locations and counting across the U.S. and in Toronto (a Los Angeles flagship store opened on Melrose Avenue in 2018).

I caught up with Tosi to learn more about her new partnership with Folgers coffee (just in time for holiday baking season), her most nostalgic flavor memories, and how inclusivity factors into her brand and baking philosophy.

Nicole Adlman (NA): What is your favorite holiday food or flavor memory?
Christina Tosi (CT): We have a tradition in my household where cinnamon buns magically appear early in the morning, the morning of every holiday. And I started taking over the responsibility when I was a teenager and honing in on my most beloved cinnamon bun recipe. I knead the dough late at night the night before and make the gooey filling and roll it all up and get it ready, and then I set my alarm for the wee hours of the morning, five or six a.m., to pull them out, let them proof. And then I𠆝 bake them, and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns waft throughout whatever house I am in. And I goo on that cream cheese frosting and it pulls everyone out of bed, they get their nice pot of coffee poured into cups, and everyone just kind of goes crazy over these cinnamon buns. And that is long before we start to think about any other food for the rest of the day.

NA: Did you figure out if that magical appearance was something your grandmother or mother did for you growing up?
CT: I don’t actually know who started the tradition. I know that when I was, I can’t remember, I think I was 16 or 17 years old, I took over the tradition from my mom, and I said, I’m going to do it this year. And once you raise your hand and say “I’ll be the one that wakes up at six o𠆜lock in the morning,” no one argues with you. But it is just my favorite flavor and food memory, and my favorite thing to do. There’s something about watching everyone wake up over a glorious cup of coffee and a gooey cinnamon bun.

NA: Do you sell a concrete version of that nostalgia at Milk Bar?
CT: We don’t, but the recipe is in Milk Bar Life, our second cookbook. We used to sell those cinnamon buns 10 years ago when we first opened Milk Bar. And then we turned it into a cinnamon bun pie. Cinnamon buns are so decadent that you shouldn’t really eat them every day it only happens in our home on special occasions.

NA: What appealed to you about the partnership and recipe concepting with Folgers?
CT: Coffee and virtually any kind of dessert go hand and hand. I’m a big, crazy coffee fanatic and I live on coffee and live on cake, as you can imagine. A lot of my professional work is done by walking back on memory lane and stumbling upon the nostalgic flavors and feelings of my childhood, and Folgers coffee was a very big part of my upbringing. My dad would brew his pot every morning before he went off to work at the Department of Agriculture, and the idea of this partnership felt fun, spirited, and sort of brought me back to when I first got my start in the home kitchen. And it’s been great to talk through and think through what the perfect pairing of dessert and coffee is, or more aptly what cake and coffee look like, and to create different recipes to inspire home bakers.

NA: What do you specifically love about the flavor of coffee, and what are some unexpected ways we can use coffee in baking or savory cooking?
CT:
So the flavor of coffee—much like some of my favorite flavors to play with in the kitchen like passion fruit and chocolate—has the ability to be so versatile. It holds creamy notes really well, it holds fatty notes really well. It can be both bitter and floral and acidic and rich and bold. There are mellow and quiet notes, depending on how you pair it or how you use it, and so it is an ingredient I adore. There’s something about…I think when you’re a cook in a kitchen first getting your start, you live on coffee. You work really long hours, you work long after everyone has gone to bed at night or long before everyone wakes up in the morning. And that relationship you have with the first sip of coffee in your day is a singular relationship. You huddle over your hot cup of coffee and it feels like a warm hug when nobody’s around.

On a really emotional level and in a really sweet way, I still to this day will almost huddle over or hug my cup of coffee, even if I’m taking it on the subway to go to work. And for me coffee also celebrates the beauty of the solitary moment you have where it’s just you and the world. Either you’re going to work, coming home, or you know, baking that last batch of something or the first batch of something. And so I think you find it in a lot of sweet and savory cooking because it is both an element of a cook’s life and an ingredient that we all love because of its versatility.

My favorite ways to kind of sneak it in to, to wow it into things, is to use it as a cake soak. We soak all of the cakes that we make, whether I’m at home or in the kitchen. Cake soak is a fun way to add flavor and moisture to a cake, and using an unexpected flavor like freshly brewed coffee is an extra fun way to do it. Like with my tiramisu layer cake, where I basically take a vanilla cake and dunk it in or brush it with a really bold blend of coffee that can hold a tone and make the richest, moistest dessert.

I love using coffee, a teaspoon or two, when I’m making a frosting or a cake or a cookie recipe. I think it adds both great aromatic notes but also great texture. I use ground coffee in the compost cookie pound cake for example, and it provides both. If I make something like a frosting, I might add either freshly brewed coffee or instant coffee or both to add an extra zing, a zazz, a real punch of flavor. None of my desserts are a whisper of flavor. They’re all very bold and exist to hold a tone on a table. So coffee helps embolden those flavor profiles. I like it as a secret ingredient in my chocolate desserts, which enhances the chocolate flavor. It can hold both a super mild fruit tart against a nice light-bodied coffee, and it can go all the way and as wild and intense as a super rich decedent chocolate dessert paired with a dark blend.

NA: I’m definitely going to get coffee after this.
CT: I know, right?


Milk Bar's Christina Tosi wants you to soak your cake in coffee and break this golden tiramisu rule

I have a confession to make: my boyfriend and I not only watch Masterchef Junior, we cry at the end of almost every episode. Really. My man and I hold each other and whimper as a𠅍impled, shiny-eyed, sometimes bow-wearing, often better dressed than most adults we know𠅌hild gets sent home from the competition when her or his culinary creation doesn’t quite meet the mark. This is where I first became familiar with Christina Tosi, the Masterchef judge with a Cheshire smile and insatiable sweet tooth. When I tell her that Masterchef Junior hits me in the core of my heart, she assures me that the kids who leave “quickly bounce back.” And I believe her.

Tosi is the founder and brainchild behind Milk Bar, a dessert company that celebrates its 10 year anniversary today, November 15th𠅊nd one that changed dessert culture in New York before changing dessert culture everywhere. Tosi got her break working at New York City fine dining restaurants Bouley and wd

50, the latter of which became a trial ground for many of the desserts that live on Milk Bar’s menu now. But it wasn’t until she met and partnered with Momofuku restaurant group’s David Chang that the seeds for Milk Bar as we know it were sown. (If you haven’t watched her episode of Chef’s Table, the time is now.) Tosi’s creativity and relentless desire to upend tradition when it comes to classic desserts (chess pie became crack pie leftover cereal milk became a non-disposable ingredient birthday cakes debuted naked before the naked cake trend existed) paid off—Milk Bar is a veritable pastry empire, with 15 locations and counting across the U.S. and in Toronto (a Los Angeles flagship store opened on Melrose Avenue in 2018).

I caught up with Tosi to learn more about her new partnership with Folgers coffee (just in time for holiday baking season), her most nostalgic flavor memories, and how inclusivity factors into her brand and baking philosophy.

Nicole Adlman (NA): What is your favorite holiday food or flavor memory?
Christina Tosi (CT): We have a tradition in my household where cinnamon buns magically appear early in the morning, the morning of every holiday. And I started taking over the responsibility when I was a teenager and honing in on my most beloved cinnamon bun recipe. I knead the dough late at night the night before and make the gooey filling and roll it all up and get it ready, and then I set my alarm for the wee hours of the morning, five or six a.m., to pull them out, let them proof. And then I𠆝 bake them, and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns waft throughout whatever house I am in. And I goo on that cream cheese frosting and it pulls everyone out of bed, they get their nice pot of coffee poured into cups, and everyone just kind of goes crazy over these cinnamon buns. And that is long before we start to think about any other food for the rest of the day.

NA: Did you figure out if that magical appearance was something your grandmother or mother did for you growing up?
CT: I don’t actually know who started the tradition. I know that when I was, I can’t remember, I think I was 16 or 17 years old, I took over the tradition from my mom, and I said, I’m going to do it this year. And once you raise your hand and say “I’ll be the one that wakes up at six o𠆜lock in the morning,” no one argues with you. But it is just my favorite flavor and food memory, and my favorite thing to do. There’s something about watching everyone wake up over a glorious cup of coffee and a gooey cinnamon bun.

NA: Do you sell a concrete version of that nostalgia at Milk Bar?
CT: We don’t, but the recipe is in Milk Bar Life, our second cookbook. We used to sell those cinnamon buns 10 years ago when we first opened Milk Bar. And then we turned it into a cinnamon bun pie. Cinnamon buns are so decadent that you shouldn’t really eat them every day it only happens in our home on special occasions.

NA: What appealed to you about the partnership and recipe concepting with Folgers?
CT: Coffee and virtually any kind of dessert go hand and hand. I’m a big, crazy coffee fanatic and I live on coffee and live on cake, as you can imagine. A lot of my professional work is done by walking back on memory lane and stumbling upon the nostalgic flavors and feelings of my childhood, and Folgers coffee was a very big part of my upbringing. My dad would brew his pot every morning before he went off to work at the Department of Agriculture, and the idea of this partnership felt fun, spirited, and sort of brought me back to when I first got my start in the home kitchen. And it’s been great to talk through and think through what the perfect pairing of dessert and coffee is, or more aptly what cake and coffee look like, and to create different recipes to inspire home bakers.

NA: What do you specifically love about the flavor of coffee, and what are some unexpected ways we can use coffee in baking or savory cooking?
CT:
So the flavor of coffee—much like some of my favorite flavors to play with in the kitchen like passion fruit and chocolate—has the ability to be so versatile. It holds creamy notes really well, it holds fatty notes really well. It can be both bitter and floral and acidic and rich and bold. There are mellow and quiet notes, depending on how you pair it or how you use it, and so it is an ingredient I adore. There’s something about…I think when you’re a cook in a kitchen first getting your start, you live on coffee. You work really long hours, you work long after everyone has gone to bed at night or long before everyone wakes up in the morning. And that relationship you have with the first sip of coffee in your day is a singular relationship. You huddle over your hot cup of coffee and it feels like a warm hug when nobody’s around.

On a really emotional level and in a really sweet way, I still to this day will almost huddle over or hug my cup of coffee, even if I’m taking it on the subway to go to work. And for me coffee also celebrates the beauty of the solitary moment you have where it’s just you and the world. Either you’re going to work, coming home, or you know, baking that last batch of something or the first batch of something. And so I think you find it in a lot of sweet and savory cooking because it is both an element of a cook’s life and an ingredient that we all love because of its versatility.

My favorite ways to kind of sneak it in to, to wow it into things, is to use it as a cake soak. We soak all of the cakes that we make, whether I’m at home or in the kitchen. Cake soak is a fun way to add flavor and moisture to a cake, and using an unexpected flavor like freshly brewed coffee is an extra fun way to do it. Like with my tiramisu layer cake, where I basically take a vanilla cake and dunk it in or brush it with a really bold blend of coffee that can hold a tone and make the richest, moistest dessert.

I love using coffee, a teaspoon or two, when I’m making a frosting or a cake or a cookie recipe. I think it adds both great aromatic notes but also great texture. I use ground coffee in the compost cookie pound cake for example, and it provides both. If I make something like a frosting, I might add either freshly brewed coffee or instant coffee or both to add an extra zing, a zazz, a real punch of flavor. None of my desserts are a whisper of flavor. They’re all very bold and exist to hold a tone on a table. So coffee helps embolden those flavor profiles. I like it as a secret ingredient in my chocolate desserts, which enhances the chocolate flavor. It can hold both a super mild fruit tart against a nice light-bodied coffee, and it can go all the way and as wild and intense as a super rich decedent chocolate dessert paired with a dark blend.

NA: I’m definitely going to get coffee after this.
CT: I know, right?


Milk Bar's Christina Tosi wants you to soak your cake in coffee and break this golden tiramisu rule

I have a confession to make: my boyfriend and I not only watch Masterchef Junior, we cry at the end of almost every episode. Really. My man and I hold each other and whimper as a𠅍impled, shiny-eyed, sometimes bow-wearing, often better dressed than most adults we know𠅌hild gets sent home from the competition when her or his culinary creation doesn’t quite meet the mark. This is where I first became familiar with Christina Tosi, the Masterchef judge with a Cheshire smile and insatiable sweet tooth. When I tell her that Masterchef Junior hits me in the core of my heart, she assures me that the kids who leave “quickly bounce back.” And I believe her.

Tosi is the founder and brainchild behind Milk Bar, a dessert company that celebrates its 10 year anniversary today, November 15th𠅊nd one that changed dessert culture in New York before changing dessert culture everywhere. Tosi got her break working at New York City fine dining restaurants Bouley and wd

50, the latter of which became a trial ground for many of the desserts that live on Milk Bar’s menu now. But it wasn’t until she met and partnered with Momofuku restaurant group’s David Chang that the seeds for Milk Bar as we know it were sown. (If you haven’t watched her episode of Chef’s Table, the time is now.) Tosi’s creativity and relentless desire to upend tradition when it comes to classic desserts (chess pie became crack pie leftover cereal milk became a non-disposable ingredient birthday cakes debuted naked before the naked cake trend existed) paid off—Milk Bar is a veritable pastry empire, with 15 locations and counting across the U.S. and in Toronto (a Los Angeles flagship store opened on Melrose Avenue in 2018).

I caught up with Tosi to learn more about her new partnership with Folgers coffee (just in time for holiday baking season), her most nostalgic flavor memories, and how inclusivity factors into her brand and baking philosophy.

Nicole Adlman (NA): What is your favorite holiday food or flavor memory?
Christina Tosi (CT): We have a tradition in my household where cinnamon buns magically appear early in the morning, the morning of every holiday. And I started taking over the responsibility when I was a teenager and honing in on my most beloved cinnamon bun recipe. I knead the dough late at night the night before and make the gooey filling and roll it all up and get it ready, and then I set my alarm for the wee hours of the morning, five or six a.m., to pull them out, let them proof. And then I𠆝 bake them, and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns waft throughout whatever house I am in. And I goo on that cream cheese frosting and it pulls everyone out of bed, they get their nice pot of coffee poured into cups, and everyone just kind of goes crazy over these cinnamon buns. And that is long before we start to think about any other food for the rest of the day.

NA: Did you figure out if that magical appearance was something your grandmother or mother did for you growing up?
CT: I don’t actually know who started the tradition. I know that when I was, I can’t remember, I think I was 16 or 17 years old, I took over the tradition from my mom, and I said, I’m going to do it this year. And once you raise your hand and say “I’ll be the one that wakes up at six o𠆜lock in the morning,” no one argues with you. But it is just my favorite flavor and food memory, and my favorite thing to do. There’s something about watching everyone wake up over a glorious cup of coffee and a gooey cinnamon bun.

NA: Do you sell a concrete version of that nostalgia at Milk Bar?
CT: We don’t, but the recipe is in Milk Bar Life, our second cookbook. We used to sell those cinnamon buns 10 years ago when we first opened Milk Bar. And then we turned it into a cinnamon bun pie. Cinnamon buns are so decadent that you shouldn’t really eat them every day it only happens in our home on special occasions.

NA: What appealed to you about the partnership and recipe concepting with Folgers?
CT: Coffee and virtually any kind of dessert go hand and hand. I’m a big, crazy coffee fanatic and I live on coffee and live on cake, as you can imagine. A lot of my professional work is done by walking back on memory lane and stumbling upon the nostalgic flavors and feelings of my childhood, and Folgers coffee was a very big part of my upbringing. My dad would brew his pot every morning before he went off to work at the Department of Agriculture, and the idea of this partnership felt fun, spirited, and sort of brought me back to when I first got my start in the home kitchen. And it’s been great to talk through and think through what the perfect pairing of dessert and coffee is, or more aptly what cake and coffee look like, and to create different recipes to inspire home bakers.

NA: What do you specifically love about the flavor of coffee, and what are some unexpected ways we can use coffee in baking or savory cooking?
CT:
So the flavor of coffee—much like some of my favorite flavors to play with in the kitchen like passion fruit and chocolate—has the ability to be so versatile. It holds creamy notes really well, it holds fatty notes really well. It can be both bitter and floral and acidic and rich and bold. There are mellow and quiet notes, depending on how you pair it or how you use it, and so it is an ingredient I adore. There’s something about…I think when you’re a cook in a kitchen first getting your start, you live on coffee. You work really long hours, you work long after everyone has gone to bed at night or long before everyone wakes up in the morning. And that relationship you have with the first sip of coffee in your day is a singular relationship. You huddle over your hot cup of coffee and it feels like a warm hug when nobody’s around.

On a really emotional level and in a really sweet way, I still to this day will almost huddle over or hug my cup of coffee, even if I’m taking it on the subway to go to work. And for me coffee also celebrates the beauty of the solitary moment you have where it’s just you and the world. Either you’re going to work, coming home, or you know, baking that last batch of something or the first batch of something. And so I think you find it in a lot of sweet and savory cooking because it is both an element of a cook’s life and an ingredient that we all love because of its versatility.

My favorite ways to kind of sneak it in to, to wow it into things, is to use it as a cake soak. We soak all of the cakes that we make, whether I’m at home or in the kitchen. Cake soak is a fun way to add flavor and moisture to a cake, and using an unexpected flavor like freshly brewed coffee is an extra fun way to do it. Like with my tiramisu layer cake, where I basically take a vanilla cake and dunk it in or brush it with a really bold blend of coffee that can hold a tone and make the richest, moistest dessert.

I love using coffee, a teaspoon or two, when I’m making a frosting or a cake or a cookie recipe. I think it adds both great aromatic notes but also great texture. I use ground coffee in the compost cookie pound cake for example, and it provides both. If I make something like a frosting, I might add either freshly brewed coffee or instant coffee or both to add an extra zing, a zazz, a real punch of flavor. None of my desserts are a whisper of flavor. They’re all very bold and exist to hold a tone on a table. So coffee helps embolden those flavor profiles. I like it as a secret ingredient in my chocolate desserts, which enhances the chocolate flavor. It can hold both a super mild fruit tart against a nice light-bodied coffee, and it can go all the way and as wild and intense as a super rich decedent chocolate dessert paired with a dark blend.

NA: I’m definitely going to get coffee after this.
CT: I know, right?


Watch the video: Holiday Baking Championship S02E02 Holiday Craftine (July 2022).


Comments:

  1. Kajirn

    wonderfully, this message of value



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