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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2011
Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook is your chance to jump back to your youth when you were raised on Cap'n Crunch and Corn Flakes. In a follow-up to David Chang's best-selling Momofuku Cookbook, his pastry chef, Christina Tosi, presents her most popular recipes including the famed Compost Cookies and Crack Pie. But beware of her overly sweet recipes if you prefer your desserts a bit more subtle and understated.

Momofuku Milk Bar's fame, although relatively new, is well deserved. The story is legendary ' David Chang was serving Hershey Kisses as dessert for his restaurants, and on leave from wd-50, Christina Tosi arrived to assist in dealing with the New York restaurant inspectors. A quick consult turned into a full-time job based on junk food turned nostalgia pastry. Many terms have been used to describe her creations including the New York Times' 'a time capsule of arrested adolescence, an homage to American processed food,' but I prefer to think of them as 'gussied up stuff my mom used to make.'

Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook comes in at 256 pages with over 100 photographs. Pictures fill most pages and are sure to get your mouth watering although her desserts are not about fancy and frilly, and so they aren't necessarily the most photogenic. The book also contains sections on her preferred ingredients, equipment and techniques. What is most exciting about this book is that Tosi gives us much of her menu, and explains how the menu evolved in those early years.

The evolution of her menu makes sense. Chefs don't have much time so they need to create a handful of knock-out base recipes that can be spun into a number of other recipes. And for this reason alone, Milk Bar is a good read for any aspiring chef or prolific bake sale maven. The book centers around ten such bases ' cereal milks, crumb, crunch, graham crust, fudge sauce, liquid cheesecake, nut brittle, nut crunch, ganache and mother dough ' which she spins into more savory applications. And then each of those bases is used in cookies, cakes, pies and other sweets. Recipes are written clearly and ingredients are presented in grams and standard measures.

In reviewing cookbooks my pastry staff and I prepare a number of the recipes to check for flavor and success. Our response (and the response of our customers) was universal ' too sweet and inconsistent outcomes. We started at the Compost Cookies and worked our way through the cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookies, carrot layer cake, cinnamon bun pie, candy bar pie, and finally finished with the Crack Pie. Even my sugar loving pastry team was left setting the fork down to grab a cup of water. Aside from the sweetness, some of the recipes didn't have the final finished appearance that was worthy of a restaurant let alone a bake sale. But is that enough to disregard this book?

I found the narrative sections to be an enthralling and fun romp. I cook in a small rural community and while reading Tosi's accounts I felt like I was in New York. I could smell the crowded, hot kitchens. I could see her running down the street to the market to buy chips. I could feel the camaraderie of her staff. Tosi has a wonderful gift in being able to capture the passion of her kitchen and sharing it with the reader. Her recipes are fun and doable for all levels of cooks. For those who wake up to Cap'n Crunch (even in their 30s and 40s), her recipes will be cherished.

I can make your decision fairly simple. When you're done eating your cereal, do you pick up the bowl and drink the milk because you like the flavor of the cereal milk? Do you ever find yourself dumping all of your leftover junk food in a bowl and pouring chocolate sauce on top for a late afternoon snack? If you do these things then you'll love this book. If not, take a glance at it for a quick afternoon read and then share it with your sugar-loving neighbor.
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on March 26, 2015
Some of the tips in here really do make all the difference in my baking, namely the creaming stage of cookie making and using milk powder for extra umami. The cookie recipes are great! I do love reading this book for inspiration on what flavors and additions to try in baking. I just can't bring myself to use stuff like ritz crackers and potato chips though, and things like glucose syrup and corn powder are specialty hard-to-obtain items. Others (like the cakes) are elaborate and would take several hours of prep to make individual components for assembling.

I give Christine props for putting the true recipes in here, and stating that it might not turn out the same for us if we don't use the exact same ingredients. Buy the book if you love food porn - you probably won't get a lot of mileage out of it otherwise.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2013
I have never been to the Milk Bar but I've heard so much about it. This cookbook has amazing baking recipes. The cookies are out of this world!
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on April 6, 2014
I am in love with Christina Tosi. She is a genius! I love how she takes simple, every day "American" ingredients and totally transforms them. This cookbook as the energy of a college girl on a sugar high yet it is still acceptable at even reserved events. Amazing. Is a staple in my kitchen.
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on April 27, 2015
Delicious recipes! But extremely decadent (sometimes too much so) and you have to have time to make these recipes. Fun book to look through and have on your coffee table!
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on June 15, 2015
Soo good! It has really great directions and all the recipes ice tried so far have been great. Favorite recipe book that i have!
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on January 19, 2015
Wow... great recipe book. I am not big on sweets, but this book is great. Very unique and different.
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on July 8, 2014
Love everything about this book, from the stories to the recipes and photos. Delicious!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2014
Not as good as other cookbooks i have seen, especially other baking cookbooks.
For starters, recipes are very mundane and use alot of 3rd party/ready made ingredients (i.e. cereals, packaged pretzels, candy bars). I like the idea that these recipes are based out of her childhood favorite treats, and it states that there are 10 mother recipes that this cookbook is built on, but majority of the recipes are tacky and are the kinds of things you find on pinterest or buzzfeed (e.g. oreo fudge brownie caramel with pretzels and peanut butter explosions blahblahblah). Overall, i am underwhelmed because i know Christina Tosi is an excellent pastry chef. Honorable mention to the crack pie and corn cookie recipes - ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!
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on September 10, 2015
I love this book! Everything I have tried is delicious!!!!!
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