Review: ‘Momofuku Milk Bar’ is delicious but complicated


Photo credit: Claire Doyle

The birthday cake cookies I made using the “Momofuku Milk Bar” cookbook sit on top of the recipe. The recipe was straightforward and made the most delicious cookies.

By Claire Doyle, Staff Reporter

Would you ever think to add milk powder or potato chips to cookies? Well, Milk Bar bakery did. Milk Bar bakery opened its doors in 2008 in New York City and has gained widespread popularity for their creative desserts.

The bakery was founded by award-winning chef James Beard and acclaimed cookbook author and chef Christina Tosi. Since the bakery’s opening, Tosi has published four cookbooks: “Momofuku Milk Bar,“Milk Bar: All About Cookies,” “Milk Bar: All About Cake” and “Milk Bar: Kids Only.”

The first of the four, “Momofuku Milk Bar,” came out in 2011 and is sold for $35. The cookbook includes detailed photos, unconventional recipes and stories of Tosi’s childhood, specifically growing up with a sister. You can feel the time and love Tosi put into this book through the stories she tells. Growing up with an older sister, I appreciated that she put her own stories in the book and made it her own, as they made it meaningful and relatable.

The book’s first 26 pages are focused on the history of the bakery, the importance of high-quality ingredients and techniques to master the pastries the way they do in the bakery. The book offers helpful advice, including to avoid wasting your time sifting flour into cookie recipes or tempering eggs. However, not all of their recipes are beginner friendly, as many require stand mixers or ice cream machines.

Obscure ingredients really should be the title of the book. I spent about 20 minutes wandering down the baking isle of my grocery store in search of milk powder needed for the birthday cake cookies and another five minutes wondering why I needed gelatin for an ice cream recipe.

My concerns, however, quickly disappeared once I tried the masterpieces that are the birthday cake cookies and cereal milk ice cream.

The cookies were soft and chewy. As much as they were marketed as a birthday cake cookie, they really were just sugar cookies with sprinkles, so don’t get too excited. Despite this disparity, I have already made the recipe three times. As for the ice cream, it was delicious and tasted just the way the milk at the bottom of a cereal bowl would taste. But for the amount of waiting I had to do for the recipe, I would rather go to an ice cream store.

The ingredients were confusing, but the steps were clearly written, making it easy to follow and never unclear in the way other recipes can be. While the recipes are clear, they are time-consuming. They aren’t something you can just whip up; you need time to allow the ice cream to freeze and cookie dough to chill.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to someone who doesn’t want to invest their time into baking, mainly because most of the recipes aren’t your basic cookie, pie and cake. This cookbook includes complicated recipes such as saltine panna cotta and white peach sorbet — not so useful for those who want the basics.

Overall, I felt the book was well-written with beautiful photos. It has a wide variety recipes, from easy to “What even is that?” and simple enough directions for someone who gets distracted easily while baking. I will continue to use the book because it’s in my cabinet, but I do not think it is worth the money for copycat recipes you can get online.

  • Simplicity
  • Taste
  • Price
  • Enjoyment


The “Momofuku Milk Bar” cookbook is filled with delicious recipes, but they are not all made for a home cook or new baker. Some of the ingredients were a bit confusing and hard to find in grocery stores. For the price of $35, you get lots of tips that can be transferred to other recipes and learn background stories of head chef Christina Tosi, but overall, I wouldn’t recommend the book — especially for beginners — though it is nice to use if you already own it.