Tag Archives: Potato Chips

Cookie Snobbery: Momofuku Milkbar Cookie Mixes

My name is Bethany Novak. And I am a snob.

No, not a snob for everything. I mean, I love my butler just as much as I love my housemaids. But they are NOT to look at me in the eyes.

Truth is, I am a cookie snob. I typically find that packaged cookie mixes are sub-par.

I know, I know. Fire up the stakes. Let’s burn the witch.

I was walking through Target on Saturday morning, wearing my Toronto Blue Jays hat, and playing a game where I make up player names in case someone ever asked me who my favorite player is. My latest one is Mark St. Clair. He was a 3rd baseman in the 90s. Had a .400 batting average. He is not real.

Anyway, I was walking up and down the aisles of Target without a list, which is really dangerous. You can spend a lot of money in there. But when you wander unencumbered by a list, hidden in the shadows of your Blue Jays hat, you make phenomenal discoveries. I stumbled upon Momofuku Milk Bar cookie mixes.

If you do not know Momofuku Milk Bar, you do now. It’s the bakery part of the Momofuku family of restaurants, which is based in NYC, and it’s delightful. It’s incredibly whimsical and yet nostalgic, but also so simple. Flavors straight out of childhood (or straight out of a smoky hotbox).

I’m a bit too familiar with the Milk Bar website for my own good. I bought some cookies and truffles as Christmas gifts this year. But I didn’t realize they sold these mixes at Target.

I started with the Compost Cookie, one of their signature flavors. Like other Target versions of haute brands, this product is a bit cheaper than you would get it on the Milk Bar site ($6.99 vs. $16.00). But you actually get a bit more cookie for your buck. A package from Target makes a dozen. The box from the Milk Bar site makes 9. Curious.

But what is not compromised in the slightest is the flavor. I’ve had the cookies from the bakery and they taste identical to the ones that I made in my kitchen this weekend. So, I stand corrected. Some cookie mixes can live up to the real thing. Mea culpa.

Compost Cookie, a tableau

Compost Cookie, a tableau

My friend Natalie saw my Instagram post about the mixes on Saturday and requested “a review with photos and lots of adjectives.” So without further ado, this is for you, Natalie. And anyone else who managed to make it through all the “jokes” to the point of the post.

Ok, adjectives. Um. Well. Yikes. Ok. These cookies are good. Err, no. They’re delicious.

No, those are fluff words that mean squat. Has watching Alton Brown taught me nothing??!

These cookies are perplexing. You shouldn’t want to like them but you do. They shouldn’t make sense but they do. They’re sweet. They’re super sweet. Chocolate chips and butterscotch chips combined put it almost over the edge. But then you come across the potato chips and the pretzels, which give a much-needed punch of salt. It’s a well-balanced cookie.

Mix it up

Mix it up

It’s also a cookie that is has great texture, almost like a granola bar. The crunchy pretz, the flaky chip, the thick oats. For all the stuff that is in it, it is packed full of flavor, but finishes really light. The cookies bake up soft in the middle, but caramelized on the edges.

Christina Tosi, you sexy bitch.

I’m not mad at it. 

This would be the cookie your grandma would make if you got your grandma kinda high. And everybody would love them. Regular grandma. High grandma. Kids. Adults.

Even the recovering snobs among us.

Momofuku Mixes are available at many but not all Target stores and on Target.com.

Check out Momofuku Milk Bar for their whole line of products. They ship pies, cakes, cookies, trufflies, mixes, cookbooks, etc. Word on the street is that the truffles are the tits.

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Betcha Can’t Eat Just One!: Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Taste Test

On Tuesday night, Anna, Kevin and I embarked upon a Lay’s taste test cage match. Four flavors will enter, only one will survive. Who gets the vote to be saved??

Chip Tasting with a PBR palate cleanser

Chip Tasting with a beer palate cleanser

No, literally. You vote to save one flavor. This is some real Lost type shit happening here.*

*I only saw that first like 3 episodes of Lost. But, I’ve got a whole mythos created in my mind. Everyone on it was a potato chip and had to be saved. But in the end, all the chips wound up in heaven. Or something.

As promised, I am sharing with you the good (Wasabi Ginger), the bad (Mango Salsa) and the ugly (the DoUsAFlavor.com website).

Our incredibly scientific and not-at-all-ripped-off-from-a-wine-tasting criteria is as follows. We scored based on the following criteria: Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Finish, and Texture. Each category was worth 5 points for a total of 25.

Spoiler Alert: I can't spell cappuccino and I'm a huge nerd

Spoiler Alert: I can’t spell cappuccino and I’m a huge nerd

The good. The undeniable winner was Wasabi Ginger. While for me, its appearance was sort of blah (the little flecks of flavor feel cheap), the taste and texture were undeniable. Out of the 4 new flavors, these were the only chips that were kettle cooked. For that reason, they were by far the crunchiest. (Crunch = my favorite texture.) They also had the added benefit of being the chips that tasted most like the inspiration. The flavor started heavy on the wasabi and then rounded out with the sweetness of the ginger, with just a hint of spice in the finish. We just kept eating them. (Betcha can’t eat just one!) We quite literally finished the bag in one sitting and I liked them so much that I bought another bag at the grocery store yesterday. #savewasabi

Then, there’s the bad. To call the Mango Salsa artificially, cloyingly sweet would be kind. We started referring to it as a ‘garbage chip’ and we started feeding it to the dog. (YOU’RE WELCOME, FULTON.) We actually threw the bag away. It’s a real shame because mango salsa sounded like it would be the easiest one to accomplish. Plus, chips and salsa are a natural marriage. But the texture was unpleasantly soft, particularly when you compared to the crunch of the kettle cooked Wasabi chips (#savewasabi). The smell was overwhelming and the taste was chemical.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that these are standard, regular American potato chips. I’m not pretending these are organic or all natural. This mango salsa spice was created in a lab, not picked from the mango salsa spice tree. But, Kettle Brand potato chips have given us some really authentic chip flavors. So, it’s not impossible.

Beyond that, we were split in our voting. Anna and Kevin really liked the Cappuccino chips. I wasn’t sold. To all of us, they tasted like dessert (my brain: tiramisu, Anna’s brain: sopapillas). But even more than that, it tasted of gas station cappuccino. I couldn’t see eating them with a sandwich. Chips are the sidekick to sandwiches, so…

Bacon Mac and Cheese was heavy on the cheese, light on the bacon, and the mac wasn’t anywhere to be seen. This was a standard, cheesy chip. Would’ve been greatly improved by a thicker, kettle cooked texture.

So, the ugly. The Lay’s Do Us a Flavor website. Hoo boy. First things first. You can vote on the site, but ONLY if it links to your Facebook. All three of us opted to text our votes in. Because how embarrassing would it be if I voted for the Wasabi chips EVERY DAY for the next 66 days. (But #savewasabi, y’all.) But the weirdest part is that both the “Flavor Reviews” and “Flavor News” sections link to aggregated pictures from FB and Twitter using the Save Flavor hashtags. The #savewasabi hashtag (et al) aggregates to the Flavor Reviews section. And the #dousaflavor hashtag aggregates to the news section. I realize I’m being overly critical here, but very rarely are the #savewasabi comments more than that. I’d be hard pressed to call them reviews. Even more hard pressed to consider the photos of other chip tastings “news.”

In the end, I think the experiment is worth it. Only good comes from this. Except for the Mango Salsa chips.

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Challenge Accepted: Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Tasting

Potato chips, like fine wine, should be tasted and savored. They deserve as much pomp and circumstance as said fine wine. Sniffing the bouquet, evaluating their appearance, swish and spit, etc.

Lay’s has put out four new limited edition, consumer-submitted flavors: Cappuccino, Mango Salsa, Wasabi Ginger, and Bacon Mac & Cheese. And tonight, Kevin, Anna, Alison and I taste them. We will then vote to save our favorite chips via dousaflavor.com.

The New Class

The New Class

We’ll be using an incredibly official template (that I will make up), similar to the one below.

Pinky out. (via myexceltemplates.com)

Pinky out. (via myexceltemplates.com)

I’ll report back on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Chip cage match, y’all. Four flavors enter, only one survives.

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