Opposite of Always Booky Cookie
So you know how you go to read recipe blogs and you're all like.... ugh I don't want to read a whole paragraph before the recipe, geeeez. Well let me tell you something, recipe creation is HARD and it takes a lot of thought and planning, so you're going to read this thing and like it. Okay?
Annnnnyway, as some of you may know, Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds is one of the best debuts of the year. It's adorable, it's full of love, and it plays with time–––it inspires in me the same feelings I have about the movie About Time. It's packed full of love...and cereal, which happen to be two of my favorite things. When constructing a cookie about cereal, I really rolled (get it) with the theme of milk & cereal. I wanted a "milk" frosting or cream. I wanted cereal to highlight the deliciousness without stealing the show (As much as I love Jack King, he's not the only character in this book! Neither is Kate!). This cookie, much like the book, is about love; romantic, sure, but family, friendships, growing up and embracing change. It's a big deal. Everything's gotta work together, feel me?
I hit a fork in the road. Two cookie paths. One was going to be super indulgent, complicated, and required just a few too many components but glorious. A cookie sandwich where each cookie would have been rolled in corn flakes before baking, and then dusted with cereal powder. Intense. The other was a staple in cookies; the lofthouse sugar cookie. It's like eating the top of a vanilla cupcake. It's soft and not too sweet. From there I'd do a sugar glaze. I chose the second one. And then I elevated it. I used brown butter in the dough to add a nutty flavor, and added brown sugar alongside granulated, which most sugar cookie enthusiasts would be like HOW DARE YOU. Instead of using heavy cream + sugar, I used condensed milk and vanilla. I still have the cereal dust because cereal.... And that's how I came up with a Milk & Cereal cookie!
Also, if you haven't read Opposite of Always, GET TO IT. It's delightful and pairs extremely well with this cookie :))
Milk & Cereal Cookies
(adapted from Bravetart by Stella Parks)
For the cookies:
226 grams/2 sticks chilled brown butter (make this by melting butter on the stovetop till brown and then set aka solidify, keep in an airtight container, keep for a week)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt (half if you're using iodized table salt)
2 egg whites at room temperature
2 Tablespoons condensed milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour or cake flour if you've got it, fancypants
For the frosting
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (a small pinch if table salt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cold condensed milk
2 Tablespoons milk (I use oat)
Cereal dust (about 2 cups of crushed various cereal you have laying around in your cupboard if you're weird like me, that means go out and buy some of those little boxes because you WOULD NEVER waste your delicious cereal on cookies unless absolutely necessary)
Method of Prep:
Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC
Line sheet pan with parchment paper
Combine butter, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat with stand mixer or hand mixer until light and fluffy. If you're using brown butter, I would say around 3 minutes.
In a measuring cup, combine the egg whites, condensed milk, and vanilla extract. Mix with a fork till incorporated.
Add egg white mixture to the butter mixture a little at a time until incorporated.
Add flour slowly as the mixer runs.
Scrape down sides!
Using a cookie dough scooper aka ice cream scooper aka a big spoon maybe?--- scoop 9 portions spread out onto the sheet pan
Bake for 15 minutes, more or less, until you peak a teeny lovely golden edge around the sides.
Cool those and make the frosting!
Combine powdered sugar, salt, condensed milk, and vanilla in a stand mixer bowl. If you're like me, this means having to clean that bowl you used for the cookie dough, and that stinks, right? Sorry! But baking is all about sweet rewards, onward we go!
Mix on low speed to moisten the sugar, and then on medium until smooth, about 3-4 minutes.
Scoop about a Tablespoon of frosting, spread with a butter knife
Sprinkle with cereal dust!
***For Gluten free, I think you can do cup for cup with a nice flour blend, OR 1 1/2cups tapioca flour + 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup coconut flour, and 1/3 cup white rice flour. As per Bravetart, they'll be fragile when warm but firm when cool. For lactose free... it gets trickier. I think you could probably do coconut oil for the butter, although I feel like too much of any solid fat that lacks moisture can taste waxy. For condensed milk, you can use lactose free heavy cream and for any place you see regular milk, use whatever you like! I'm keen on oat milk :))