This is an ambivalent review of a cookbook. Which is kind of weird, but I just want to be clear from the start that I both like and am frustrated by Tina Casaceli’s Milk & Cookies: 89 Heirloom Recipes from New York’s Milk & Cookies Bakery (which, by the way, I chose and paid for–no one contacted me for this review). And, to make matters weirder, the cookbook has apparently not been released yet, which leaves me mystified as to how I ordered it from thegoodcook.com already. But anyway.
First I tried the oatmeal cookie dough, adding dried cherries and unsweetened coconut to them. They were for Alex’s class originally. They spread ALL over. Letting the dough rest for a few days helped, but not enough, and ultimately I turned them into a bar cookie. Although the chocolate chip cookies did not spread as badly, the 2 recipes share 2 similar complaints. First they each call for 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) of butter, which is just a ton of butter for recipes geared toward making 24 cookies (1.5 inch diameter cookie dough balls). I cannot help but wonder if the spreading is mostly due to the amount of butter.
My second complaint which the 2 recipes have in common is that she gets radically different, I will go so far as to say wrong, weights for the oats called for. She has 2 1/2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats weighing 7.5 oz and 3 cups of old fashioned rolled oats weighing 9 oz. Oats do not pack like flour does, so I have absolutely no idea how she got such radically different weights from me. My 2 1/2 cups of oats weighed 10.45 oz or 295 g. That’s a big difference. I went with the volume because I was already concerned with the amount of butter to dry ingredients in the recipes. Either way, that kind of consistent error causes me to lose some faith in the recipe writer.
Having said all of that, I did like the chocolate chip cookies. Casaceli calls for a lot of chocolate, including shaved chocolate (to which I say she must think I have a lot of time on my hands!). I used regular sized chips and mini chocolate chips instead of chunks and shavings to save time. I like a lot of chips so that was great but I know some people who would have reduced the amount of chocolate by a bit.
They are thinner than my ideal, but super chewy from the addition of ground oats, which I liked a lot. Interestingly, letting the dough rest had no discernible effect, so this is one chocolate chip cookie recipe you can make and bake right away when the craving strikes. I might try it some time with slightly reduced butter–or I might let well enough alone because, at the end of the day, despite my complaints about the measurements, as I made them, this is a good chocolate chip cookie–and the ground oats are an added fiber bonus.
- 2 1/2 cups (10.45 oz or 295 g) old fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups (8 oz) AP flour
- 1 t baking powder
- 1 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 1/2 cups (12 oz or 3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (7 oz) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 T vanilla
- 2 cups (12 oz) semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 bag (5 oz) mini chocolate chips
- coarse sea salt to taste
Place the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with silicone or parchment paper. Set aside.
Grind the oats in a food processor--Casaceli calls for a fine grind but I stopped when there were still some tiny bits of un-ground oats.
Whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Beat the butter on medium speed until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl inbetween. Add the vanilla and beat to make sure everything is incorporated.
With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients. Caseceli has you finish by kneading but I chose to add the chips with the motor runnign on low while the flour was still only half mixed in and then finish by hand, but with a spatula.
Using a small ice cream or cookie dough scoop, prepare the balls of dough for baking. They should be about 1.5 inches in diameter and set 2 inches apart. I believe I baked 6 to a sheet. Sprinkle the cookies with coarse sea salt (my own addition--ignore if you prefer).
Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. The cookies should be lightly browned at the edges and set in the center. Do not overbake. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen says
I loved this honest view at this cookbook. Thank you! I get frustrated when I have to change up a recipe so much that it ends up not being very much like the original at all. The cookies look good!
That’s so funny that you reviewed her book, she was on of my teachers in pastry school! I’m interested in how the rest of her recipes pan out, that is if you try any more of them! Love that you added sea salt and your photos look great!
Was she a good teacher?
The Chocolate Priestess says
Excellent review. I like when we who review cookbooks actually try recipes from them. You can learn a lot if you just pick out a few recipes and give it a shot. I often think the recipes have never been tried in some of the books I’ve had the misfortune to buy or receive as gifts.
Pegi Simpson says
I had great hopes for this cookbook as the first recipe I tried (vanilla base) was great. However, some of the recipes have ingredient quantities that can’t possibly work. I tried the vanilla shortbreads and my “dough” was like batter, likely because the recipe called for 1 1/2 POUNDS of butter for 3 cups of flour. I had to add 3+ more CUPS of flour! I think she must have meant 1 1/2 cups of butter. The rice crispy treats recipe is equally bizarre with 4 POUNDS of marshmellows and only 5 cups rice cereal. I’ll continue to use this book since the good recipe was great but I’ll be VERY carefull to check the ingredients first to see if they make sense. I am a cookbook addict and this is the first one that has been so far off on some recipes that I can’t trust it.
The think thats funny to me is this isn’t even her creations. They bought Milk and Cookies from a previous owner.
Very disappointed in this book. Peanutbutter cookie dough was more like batter, and the resulting cookies were indeed, small crumbly cakes. The amount of butter was also quite outrageous for two dozen cookies (cakes.) I won’t bother with this book again, not when there are so many good ones available. It may be nice eye candy on the coffee table, but if you are looking for something to actually dunk into your coffee, go elsewhere.