It was just a regular day. A trip to the grocery store. A stroll through the baking aisle to grab some sugar. Then, all of a sudden, I see it. The beautiful, inspiring Momofuku logo. On a boxed mix? Yes. It was a mix to make Momofuku Cornflake Crunch Cookies at home. Naturally, I impulse bought it, and the idea for this post was born. A showdown between Momofuku’s mix and their cookbook.
Starting out, I didn’t know what I would get. On the one hand, I trust the Momofuku mix because it comes straight from them – it has to be amazing, right? But the cookbook details a somewhat complex (for cookies) process of blending and emulsifying and refrigerating, and it always creates consistent results.
I was especially baffled when I saw how simple the mix was. Just dump out the cornflakes and bake them for ten minutes. All the cookie dough took was butter and an egg, and you just blend it all up at once. And then just scoop them out onto the cookie sheet. No melting the butter and mixing things together for the cornflake crunch. No long step-by-step process (with 7 minutes of blending after the addition of butter) for the dough. No refrigerating the dough for at least an hour. It took like ten minutes.
And the cookies that emerged from the oven were delicious. They were the perfect size, they didn’t spread very much, they had that super-sweet-but-also-salty magic taste that tasted like the Momofuku cookies I got when I visited their shop in DC. I was amazed. What kind of sorcery went into that?
Then, I set about making the cookies from their cookbook recipe. It was a much more involved process, from mixing up the cornflake crunch (not just opening a package) to carefully following the additions of ingredients and their blending times. Then I rolled the dough into balls and popped them in the fridge to wait an hour before baking.
When they were done, the results were also spectacular. The buttery, salty crunch of the cornflakes and the melty sweetness of the chocolate chips, harmonizing with the chewiness of the marshmallows. I do believe these are my favorite cookies.
Making them form scratch certainly did not disappoint, and I enlisted the help of my brother (mainly because he was snacking on things throughout this whole process) to create a comparison list:
Cornflake Crunch alone: The from-scratch cornflake crunch was DEFINITELY superior. It was buttery and salty and had that golden brown crispy-ness from the oven. The packaged cornflake crunch was just like frosted flakes. I would not snack on the packaged stuff alone, but I have to use major self control around the homemade crunch.
Dough: Both of the doughs were really good. The mix dough had a sort of extra sweetness that I’m chalking up to glucose? Momofuku adds a lot of glucose to get that extra oompf of sweetness and a distinct flavor, and I think the mix may have had it. So sweetness was the main difference in doughs.
Amount/Size: The mix said to make golf-ball sized cookies, and it made 12 of them. The cookbook says to make cookies out of 1/3 cup of dough, and it makes 18 of them. So, the cookbook recipe gives you way more cookies, and if you follow the recipe, they are BIG COOKIES. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, I made my cookbook cookies more like golf ball size as well.
Spread: Despite not being refrigerated, the mix cookies spread way less than the cookbook version (how, I have no clue). So, the cookbook versions were skinnier and wider, while the mix were less wide and taller. You can decide what you like best, I know it’s very much a personal preference thing, but I didn’t think the skinny or fatness effected them as much as you might think: both were still chewy and delicious, and none of them were crunchy or dry.
Chewiness: The cookbook cookies were chewier; the mix cookies were chewy but had a sort of softness to them that combined with the chewy to make you wonder whether it was just soft or chewy. It’s hard to describe. But because the mix cookies didn’t spread as much, they were taller and thus softer and less caramelized in the middle, so the middle was a soft chewy instead of a caramelized-sweet-baked-to-perfection chewy that the cookbook ones had. They’re different types of chewey, trust me.
So, in conclusion, I liked the cookbook version better. It had a more gourmet taste, more buttery, had a good balance of salt and sweet, more homogeneous, and a good spread and chewiness level. Really, can’t be beat. These are definitely my favorite cookies, and when I make them I can pretend like I work for Momofuku and spend my days in the kitchen, turning out huge batches of these on the daily.
But the mix was a close second, and it definitely was fast and gave results way disproportionate to the work put in (as in, least amount of work possible, with fantastic results). So if you’re a sort of lazy baker (heck, even I’m a lazy baker some days), then go for the mix! They’re perfect for when you need a super quick dessert, either for you or for others, and they will definitely impress anyone you give them to.