Last updated on March 19th, 2020
It’s kind of an inside joke among those of us who read too much fluff that the New York Times is the Captain Obvious of trend pieces. Famous (and beautiful) people like to take selfies? Got it. Everyone is still moving to Brooklyn? Yup.
And I really didn’t need the newspaper to tell me that this winter has been an expensive one thanks to the polar vortex. My grocery bills and waistline are proof enough of cabin fever’s impact.
Because I’m a compulsive organizer, you can imagine how well I deal when stuck inside with Arcade Fire’s “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” running through my head in a constant loop for days on end.
It’s a productive sort of malaise; I hang all the framed artwork that’s been stacked in the guest bedroom for months, catalog every foil-wrapped package in the freezer (oh hey, hot dogs and sauerkraut from July cookouts!), and take stock of the dark recesses of my pantry.
Which is how I found half a bag of butterscotch chips from 2012. Yikes.
But waste not, want not, as they say—especially when you’re stir-crazy and craving Milk Bar cookies, but unwilling to tunnel into New York City to get the real deal.
You know I’m a Christina Tosi fan 4 lyfe (she was kind enough to blurb my book Classic Snacks Made From Scratch, after all). We share the same junk food-crazed, salty-on-top-of-sweet palate, her candy bar pie is a true thing of beauty, and she is justly praised for her famous compost cookies.
But it’s the cornflake crunchies in this recipe, inspired by Milk Bar’s chocolate-chip-marshmallow-cornflake cookies, are one of the undersung heroes in the Tosi repertoire.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking—why not just add regular corn flakes or Frosted Flakes and make chocolate cornflake cookies? Because I said so, that’s why. Kidding.
Because these flakes aren’t just corny, sweet, and crunchy; they’re coated in dry milk, butter, and a pinch of salt, too, so they’ve got a lusher, richer taste than a cereal flake out of the box could ever be. Trust.
When you make a batch, you’ll have to smack your hands to stop from snacking on the crunchies before they hit the cookie batter.
Without them, these chocolate cornflake cookies would be merely one-dimensional; with them, they pop into 3D.
Unsurprisingly enough, the butterscotch chips tasted just as “fresh” as they day I bought them, their slightly cloying sweetness balanced by the savory crunch of the cornflakes and the gooey caramelization of the melted marshmallows inside each soft cookie.
(They are, in fact, very soft when removed from the oven; make sure to leave them on the baking sheet as recommended to let the cookies firm up. King Arthur Flour adds vinegar to its chocolate chip cookie recipe to make the end product super chewy, and it’s a touch I do so enjoy.)
For saltier chocolate cornflake cookies, replace the butterscotch chips with honey-roasted peanuts; for a milder flavor, substitute white chocolate chips, chopped hazelnuts, or macadamia nuts.
Or, you know, whatever else you find in your pantry on the next snow day.
- 5 cups (170 grams) cornflakes
- 1/2 cup (40 grams) dry milk powder
- 3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick; 113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 1/4 cups (270 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (55 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks; 170 grams) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (105 grams) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (40 grams) light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (90 grams) mini marshmallows
- 1 cup (170 grams) butterscotch chips
- 1 batch cornflake crunchies
Make the crunchies:
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
- Pour the cornflakes into a large bowl. Using your hands, coarsely crush the cornflakes—don't pulverize them, but chunk 'em up satisfyingly.
- Toss with the milk powder, sugar, and kosher salt, then—still using your hands—mix the butter in with the flakes so everything is coated evenly.
- Spread the cornflakes in an even layer on the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until they start to smell amazing and are slightly toasted.
- Let the crunchies cool while you make the cookie dough.
Make the cookies:
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, both sugars, corn syrup, vinegar, and vanilla extract together on medium speed for 3-4 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
- Add the flour mixture about 1/4 cup at a time until fully incorporated.
- Use the mixer to stir in the marshmallows and butterscotch chips, then use your arm strength to stir in the cornflakes by hand—otherwise, they'll be crushed into powder by the mixer. Take your time and add about 1 cup at a time until they're completely mixed into the cookie dough.
- Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.
- Form the dough into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and space evenly on the baking sheets. (Leave about 1 inch between each.)
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 10 minutes more.
- Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, and repeat with the remaining dough.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 56Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 112mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.