The possibilities for dessert are expansive, and yet cookies, often served with ice-cold milk, continue to captivate diners. At restaurants across the country, pastry chefs are putting their personal stamp on this classic pairing.
Kevi Lee Furgason, pastry chef at Spork, a small plates restaurant in Pittsburgh, offers her cookie-craving guests a miniature wooden table covered with a selection of 13 of her creations and set with four glasses of milk.
Furgason said the presentation is inspired by the cookie table, a wedding tradition in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio in which a table full of cookies made by family members and friends is displayed along with, or instead of, a wedding cake.
“The cookie table is a way for family and friends to contribute to the happy couple,” Furgason said. “A nod to the love and happiness a couple and their family shares, my version of the cookie table hopes to instill the same feelings on a less formal basis.”
Furgason rotates the cookies to keep tastes and textures interesting in this $30 dessert offered for 2-4 guests. Among the current mix are lemon poppy swirls; phun-phetti, a cream cheese sugar cookie coated in rainbow jimmies; rainbow cookies, a classic Italian petit four with frangipane, apricot jam and dark chocolate; plus assorted lollies, house-made gelt and a scattering of sugared nuts.
Chocolate chip cookies with red miso buttercream and milk with cinnamon at Toki Underground. (Photo: Toki Underground)
Not surprising from the chef that brought us the cronut, the signature dessert at Dominique Ansel Bakery, with locations in New York City and Los Angeles, is the Cookie Shot, a warm chocolate chip cookie shaped like a shot glass and filled with cold milk infused with Tahitian vanilla. Servers pour the milk to order, diners get to sip it and then eat the cookie cup. It's $4.25.
Cookies and milk get a Japanese twist at Toki Underground, a ramen restaurant in Washington, D.C., with a plate of white chocolate and rosemary cookies served with matcha milk and matcha buttercream for $7.
“Matcha and white chocolate are a natural pairing,” partner and creative director Olivier Caillaibet said. “In early versions the matcha was too subtle. We added the rosemary-infused butter into the cookies to accentuate the herbaceous notes of the matcha.”
Previous cookies and milk pairings at Toki have included chocolate chip cookies served with red miso buttercream and a little pot of milk with cinnamon for dipping.
Kitchen Notes, the Southern cuisine restaurant at the Omni Nashville Hotel, is serving a plate of two cookies with a carafe of milk for $8. The cookies are a bourbon-soaked oatmeal raisin and caramel pecan chocolate chip.
April 17, 2019: The price of Dominique Ansel Bakery's Cookie Shot has been added to this story, and the caption for the Toki Underground cookies has been corrected.