Television personality, cookbook author and pro baker Christina Tosi is stopping by the TODAY kitchen to share a few of her favorite sweet recipes from her new book, "All About Cookies: A Milk Bar Baking Book." She shows us how to make peanut buttery s'mores bars, sweet and salty pie snaps, jelly doughnut-inspired sandwich cookies and chocolaty cookies with toffee bits.
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Aside from getting to see new sights and meet new people, the best part about traveling abroad is tearing up the aisles of the local grocery store in search of foods not sold in the U.S. Whenever life takes me to anew country, I beeline for the supermarket and load my cart up with whatever catches my eye. Nutella in every shape and form, chips (or crisps as the locals might say) in new and exotic flavors, candy bars with weird names and textures, and, of course, local cookies. This recipe is based on England's famous Hobnob cookies, which use oats to create a buttery, almost granola bar appeal. We cover them in chocolate and coat them with bits of toffee to plus up their otherwise wholesome existence.
Thirteen-plus years ago when I opened the very first Milk Bar, my diet was two cornflake chocolate chip cookies hot out of the oven at approximately 6:12 a.m., several cups of coffee and two slices of candy bar pie for dinner. I was literally fueled by sugar. And peanut butter. And chocolate. And caramel. So, we made a pie out of those things, our homage to the Take 5 bar. That pie has long been semi-retired, but here we can resurrect one of the simplest, most salty-sweet, brilliant flavor combos in snap form.
Sometimes, even the most basic ingredients have an opportunity to contribute to the flavor story or, in this case, drive it. Leftover fryer oil (the oil we cool down, strain and save after frying something) is pretty common in my household (please, no judgment). After a couple of batches of cannoli or funnel cakes, I have a healthy stash of this flavorful, fried food-flavored oil ready to live a second life. When doughnuts were tossed out during a cookie brainstorming session at work, I knew it was that oil's time to shine. You'll be seriously amazed at how much these cookies really taste like a jelly doughnut!
How one s'mores is a serious discussion in my family. Yes, I have already alerted Webster's that s'mores is now a verb, at least according to anyone sharing space with me from Memorial Day through Labor Day. My hub's move is to swap out the classic chocolate bar for a Reese's PB cup — pretty brilliant if you ask me. I'm the patient one at the campfire/fireplace/grill, slowly roasting my marshmallows to caramelize the exterior while turning the center into that perfect warm, consistent goo all the way through. These bars are a love letter to these combined approaches, and perhaps one of the most requested recipes from my kitchen, even when we're planning to s'more at sunset.
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