Serious Eats is certainly no stranger to Momofuku Milk Bar. I've been fascinated with the place since it opened a few years ago. But recently when SE overlord Ed Levine told me he almost brought me a bottle of their Cereal Milk (he left it at a restaurant, but it's the thought that counts, right?) it got me thinking: how do Milk Bar's many cereal-inspired treats stack up for a cereal fiend? Well, in the name of research, I took a trip to Milk Bar's East Village location to find out.
The contenders: Cereal Milk, Cereal Milk Soft Serve with Cornflake Crunch, and a Cornflake Marshmallow Chocolate Chip cookie.
Of all the crazy creations at Milk Bar (crack pie, doughnut flavored softserve, etc.), the Cereal Milk really makes the place stand out. Obviously, it's what initially drew me to Milk Bar. The recipe involves a relatively simple process of steeping milk with toasted cornflakes and adding brown sugar.
Though I am a lover of the real-deal cereal milk at the bottom of the bowl, I was admittedly wary about this stuff. I mean, cereal milk is delicious, but removing it from its natural habitat is risky, as we learned with our Chocolate Cereal Milk Taste test. Kind of like how it's totally cool to be wearing, basically, underwear when it's made out of a certain material, worn at the beach and named a bathing suit. Then, when you are just a few feet too far away from the beach, suddenly you are uncomfortably and inappropriately half-naked.
Well, ok maybe not quite. But anyway, I was skeptical.
The first taste was the intense flavor of cornflakes, which mellowed into a creamy, sweet flavor reminiscent of malted milk. After a few more sips (somehow I killed half of the bottle), I was into it. It's super sweet, a bit grainy and definitely tastes of cereal. Nothing wrong with that. Not sure if this is something I would actively buy, but it's a tasty novelty that every cereal lover should try.
Cornflake Marshmallow Cookie
As far as cookies go, the more texture the better for me. Though soft cookies may be the most popular with the masses, I'm more into the crispy, crunchy variety, which is the category this cookie falls into. It pairs cornflakes with gooey marshmallow and chocolate chips, an awesome combo if I've ever heard one.
This particular cookie was a bit too hard and I couldn't quite appreciate the cornflakes, which got lost in the almost toffee-like quality of the hardened marshmallow, but I've had this cookie a few times before, and it's been delicious. Bottom line is, cereal in cookies = great idea. I truly wish this were a more frequent occurrence.
Cereal Milk Soft Serve
This has the potential to be truly awesome. While the milk could easily take a turn towards sickening, the frozen version avoids any hint of that with its unique taste and icy texture. By "unique" I mean the soft serve verges on tangy and almost sour, which some people enjoy but I found it a bit strange. Also, though I happen to like my soft serve on the icy side, this was too icy even for me, which added its strangeness.
I suppose if you are a sweets lover, like myself, the Cereal Milk is delicious, but for the more intense, sophisticated palate, the flavor of the soft serve is better. But one thing cereal and non-cereal lovers alike could agree on: the "cornflake crunch " topping is freaking delicious. I want to put it on top of everything I eat.
Is Cereal an Overlooked Dessert Ingredient?
Milk Bar is truly a cereal lovers' bakery. They know how to highlight cereal as the awesome and often overlooked dessert ingredient that it is. My only regret is that I didn't get to try these.
Any other bakeries that do great things with cereal? Any recipes for cereal desserts beyond the Rice Krispies Treat?
About the author: Aside from doing an awesome job with her role as Advertising Sales Manager, Leandra Palermo secretly harbors a lifelong passion with all things crunchy and served with icy cold skim milk. This column represents the culmination of that love affair.