Dominique Ansel’s New Cookie Cups Are Probably Not the New Cronut

Slate's Culture Blog
March 7 2014 1:58 PM

French Baker Misses the Point of Chocolate Chip Cookies

dominique_ansel_cookie_shots
The new Cronut? Maybe not.

Dominique Ansel via Instagram

The food world was abuzz this week with news that Dominique Ansel, the baker behind the blockbuster doughnut-croissant hybrid known as the Cronut, had invented another pastry composite: “Chocolate Cookie Milk Shots.” “Dominique Ansel has done it again,” gushed the Huffington Post, rather prematurely. The dessert consists of a shot-glass-shaped chocolate chip cookie containing a tablespoon or two of milk. You must sip (or pound) the milk before you eat the cookie, although I suppose you could take turns sipping and nibbling, as though you were eating an ice cream cone. Ansel figured that “if everyone was drinking milk with cookies, you might as well make a dessert that allows them both to be combined,” a representative of Ansel’s eponymous bakery, who apparently has never heard of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, told Eater.

Already, there are signs that this will not be another Cronut. For one thing, the cookie cups pose a practical problem not present with most desserts: There is a reasonable risk that you will spill milk all over your shirt, or shoes, or date. The traditional way of eating cookies with milk reduces this risk by confining the milk to a glass, which is unlikely to crumble or split open while you’re eating. If the cookie cup is soft and chewy—as chocolate chip cookies ought to be—you’ll have only a few seconds before it starts getting soggy. And if it isn’t soft and chewy—well, who’d want to eat that? (For the record, Ansel’s rep claims the cookie, which debuts this Sunday at SXSW, “stayed crispy and moist in parts.”)

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The bigger problem with the cookie cups, though, is that they get the entire milk-and-cookies ritual backwards. As supermodel Chrissy Teigen put it on Twitter, “but you need the cookie before the milk. this needs to be milk filled with cookie.”

Indeed, the point of eating cookies with milk is not merely to moisten the cookie, as Ansel seems to believe, but also to cleanse your palate with a gulp of ice-cold milk after you’ve eaten the cookie. Ansel’s invention cruelly requires that you finish your milk before you finish your cookie—unless you pour the milk into another receptacle first, which would seem to defeat the purpose of this crazy edible contraption.

It’s unsurprising that Ansel, who grew up in France, would not quite understand American cookie habits: The French don’t really do chocolate chip cookies. And he does French, or French-ish, pastries brilliantly. In addition to the Cronut, Ansel’s kouign amman, a caramelized puff pastry cake, is often described as life-changing. The cookie cups are not likely to earn that acclaim.

L.V. Anderson is a Slate assistant editor. She edits Slate's food and drink sections and writes Brow Beat's recipe column, You're Doing It Wrong. 

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