Momofuku Milk Bar Pie Bars
These Momofuku Milk Bar Pie Bars are buttery and sweet and crunchy and chewy and well, outstanding. Famous as a pie, I decided to make them as bars and they were a huge hit!
Have you heard about the Crack Pie from Christina Tosi’s bakery, the Momofuku Milk Bar in New York, City? I sure have…I’ve heard it mentioned over and over so many times that of course it’s the first thing I had to make when a friend gifted me with a copy of the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook.
But I’ll be honest; I really struggled with calling something named after an addictive substance like crack with such a destructive nature. So even though I had already published this post, I revised it on Saturday the 5th of October because I was tickled when I heard from Amy Sherman that Christina herself had felt the same.
The pie has been renamed simply Milk Bar Pie. That was a gift!
Not being from NYC, I’m familiar with Christina from her work with Gordon Ramsey on the MasterChef series where she was the first woman judge. Known for her pastry and sweets, I expect to enjoy several of the recipes from this book. For this one I took only one liberty and decided to make Milk Bar Pie Bars!
So how did they turn out? Well, the taste is hard to describe; guess that officially makes them indescribable? Buttery and sweet, with a crumbled oat crust and a sweet buttery filling, it’s a caramelized wonder.
The crust is actually derived from a large 13X9″ oatmeal cookie that is baked in a pan and then crumbled into a smaller pan before the filling is added.
If you are familiar with Gooey Butter Cake, the topping for Milk Bar Pie Bars is similar but in this instance, it almost melds with that crust and becomes one.
I had a friend who had some of the pie mention ‘granola’ like but that never struck me…but then when I make granola I always put fruit and nuts in it so I didn’t have the same reference. Just trust me, it’s rich and wonderful with coffee so you would be excused for stealing a bar for breakfast too.
One thing for certain; I cannot imagine eating a entire pie slice of a Milk Bar Pie; one bar was enough for me. I’m so glad I tried this method; my friends totally devoured them. Funny, I did have someone on Facebook mention that she had heard that Christina’s pie was really sweet. I was pretty much, ‘Well, yeah, I mean it is dessert!’
It is indulgent but oh so good…indulge yourself!
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Momofuku Milk Bar Pie Bars
For the Oatmeal Cookie
- 6 Tbsp butter softened to room temperature
- 4 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp granulated white sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon generous salt
For the Oatmeal Cookie Crust
- Crumbled Oatmeal Cookie after it bakes and cools
- 4 Tbsp butter softened to room temperature
- 1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar
For the Filling
- ¾ cup granulated white sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp dry buttermilk or nonfat milk powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup 1 stick butter melted, cooled slightly
- 6 ½ Tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar for dusting
To Make the Oatmeal Cookie
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper; coat with nonstick spray. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes.
- Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan. Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack; let cool 5 minutes and then turn out cookie on parchment and let cool completely.
To Make the Oatmeal Cookie Crust
- Using hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add the 4 Tbsps butter and 1 & 1/2 Tbsps brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together.
- Line 9X9" baking pan with parchment paper, leave overhang for easy removal. Transfer cookie crust mixture to pan. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom. Place dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.
To Make the Filling
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.
- Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend.
- Add melted butter and whisk until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour filling into crust. Bake for 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when dish is gently shaken, about 15-20 minutes longer.
- Cool in pan for 2 hours on rack. Chill uncovered overnight.
- Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of dessert. Carefully remove from pan using parchment paper and cut into bars, serve cold.
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Can’t wait to try this!
What is golden brown sugar?
I consider that to be light brown sugar and honestly I’m even wondering why I didn’t revise the recipe to say that! I will be soon…like in a few seconds! Thanks for the headsup.
Milk Bar’s pie recipe uses corn powder; you don’t use this. I’m curious why you did not include it in the bar cookie. Thanks!
My guess is because it’s a hard to come by ingredient.
Sorry I missed your comment in December! My guess, and that’s all it is because I got the inspiration for bars from someone else, is that the thickness of the bars did not require that extra thickening agent that the pie does. And…Dina might be on to something as I don’t recall ever seeing a product called ‘corn powder’ at my grocery store! I’m thinking a good substitute would be cornstarch…but again, did not think the bars needed it.
In the ingredients it lists 4 Tbsps butter for the crust. In the instructions it says add 3 Tbsps butter.
What to do with the extra Tbsps of butter?
Oops…that’s a typo. All 4 Tbsps go in the crust; I’m fixing that now thanks!
I’ve had this, but we’ve never made it. Really should — it looks like an excellent recipe. And your rendition of it looks gorgeous!
I’ve never made it as a pie John and I probably won’t. It’s a very rich morsel of goodness; a pie slice would be overkill for me!