The chef and mastermind behind New York City's Milk Bar reveals her tried-and-true baking techniques that make for unforgettable desserts.

By Rachel Sylvester
August 22, 2019
Diane Bondareff

Even if you consider yourself to be a cookie-making connoisseur, we could all stand to learn a baking tip (or 12) from chef Christina Tosi. The culinary mastermind behind the award-winning Milk Bar bakery, Tosi is the imaginative force behind such delicacies as Cereal Milk Soft Serve and the widely beloved Birthday Cake Truffles. (Not to mention her classic tiered confections that put naked cakes on the map.)

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To better understand Tosi's baking techniques, we asked the Milk Bar founder and owner to divulge her tried-and-true dessert hacks that include potato chips, unicorn morsels, and butter (lots and lots of butter).

1. European-Style Butter Is Best

Unsalted, European-style butter is a baking essential for the Milk Bar mastermind. "The butter is cultured before churning, giving it a deeper flavor profile," Tosi says. "More flavor in equals more flavor out!"

2. Embrace Unconventional Ingredients

Milk powder is one such ingredient that has quickly become a staple in Tosi's pantry. "It adds an incredible depth of flavor and texture to any baked good you add it to," she says. "It doesn't impart a milky taste, it just amps up any flavor you're working with." To make milk powder work for your next batch of baked goods, Tosi suggests adding two tablespoons of the dairy product to chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, cupcakes, or brownies. "It's magical, I promise," she says.

As for other out-of-the-box ingredients, Tosi suggests incorporating ground coffee, pretzels, and potato chips into cookies for edgier concoctions. "When baking wih my sweet nieces, Nestle Toll House Unicorn Morsels bring color and life to their imaginations and baked goods," she says.

3. Fresh Bread Is the Secret to Long-Lasting Desserts

According to Tosi, proper storage is the key to making your sweets last. "One of my all-time favorite cookie-storing tricks came from my grandma," she says. "Placing a slice of bread in your air-tight cookie container will keep your cookies fresh with fudgy centers for an additional 3-4 days after baking."

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