A single bite of this cookie transports you into a taste-fueled rabbit hole, a complex tunnel of sweet and salty from which there’s no turning back … it’s Christina Tosi’s Compost Cookie.

compost cookie

Tosi is the chef and owner of New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar, the sweet spot in David Chang’s restaurant empire, and she is awesome, creating sweet somethings out of everything from Cap’n Crunch cereal to corn to pretzels, even serving up cereal milk (a registered trademark!) to go with your candybar pie. She’s written a full-color book with her recipes, and if you’re in Brooklyn, you can even sign up to take classes to cook the book.

I am NOT in Brooklyn and didn’t know about Tosi’s wonderland of taste until her Compost Cookie recipe (also a registered trademark!) caught my eye on Zite from the Table for Two blog. The “compost” part of the name comes for the idea that you can toss anything you have leftover into the dough, just like a sweet salad. Her cookie ingredients – chocolate and butterscotch chips, oatmeal, ground coffee, potato chips, and pretzels – sounded intriguing. I went for it.

compost cookie mixture

I’ve made these three times and have tweaked the recipe a bit. The original recipe called for mini butterscotch chips; those are hard to find and the regular sized chips added too much butterscotch. So I decreased the butterscotch chips a smidgen, increased the oatmeal slightly, added dried cranberries for the tartness and texture, used ground espresso instead of ground coffee because that’s all I had, swapped dark corn syrup for the glucose, and used malted milk powder instead of milk powder in the graham mixture. The biggest change is the cooking time. She specifies 18 minutes for ice-cream scoop-sized cookies. That was WAY too long in my oven; they were completely overdone. Thirteen minutes turned out to be the perfect cooking time. I also made the cookies a little smaller.

raw compost cookies

A big part of this recipe is to chill the cookies before you bake them, otherwise they won’t bake properly. I parceled the dough out in rounds in a rectangular Tupperware, then put in the fridge. I pulled out enough to bake one batch, and put the dough back to chill. This way I could make a fresh batch of cookies every day or two without spending an entire afternoon baking them.

compost cookie and milk

The recipe looks long and involved, but it really takes less than 20 minutes to whip them up, not including time chilling and baking.

Compost Cookies

slightly adapted by Life in a Skillet from Christina Tosi's Momofuku Milk Bar recipe
This is the famous Compost Cookie from the Momofuku Milk Bar.
Course Dessert


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark corn syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups bread flour you may use AP flour instead if you don’t have it on hand
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup of graham crust recipe below
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground espresso
  • 2 cups plain potato chips
  • 1 cup mini pretzels
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugars, and corn syrup for 2-3 minutes.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Then add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat on medium-high for 7-8 minutes.
  • While the mixture is beating, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a separate mixing bowl.
  • Next turn the speed to low. Slowly add the flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until almost combined, about 1 minute.
  • Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham crust, oats, cranberries, and ground espresso. Mix for 30 seconds.
  • Next the potato chips and pretzels (whole, not broken or mashed). Mix until just incorporated, about another 30 seconds.
  • Use a large tablespoon to portion out dough onto baking sheets. and flatten slightly.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • While cookies are chilling, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Bake for 13 minutes, or until the edges are darker brown and crisp and the center is chewy.
  • Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before
  • Let cookies cool on baking sheet before moving them to a wire rack or container.
  • Freeze extra cookies up to 1 month to keep them fresh.

Graham crust for compost cookies

slightly adapted by Life in a Skillet from Christina Tosi's Momofuku Milk Bar recipe
This is the graham crust ingredient for Momofuku Milk Bar's Compost Cookie. Store extra in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month.


  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker flour
  • 1/4 cup malted milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter more if needed
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream


  • In a medium bowl, toss together the graham cracker crumbs, milk powder, sugar and salt with your hands to evenly distribute.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter and heavy cream.
  • Pour over dry ingredients and mix well. You should end up with a moist, doughy mixture that holds it's shape when squeezed. Add extra butter by melted teaspoonfuls if needed.



Just for fun, while your cookies are chilling, watch Christina make all sorts of crazy sweet treats in this Vice video Munchies: Christina Tosi

[youtube JnmQd7kUDLo]