First, let me preface the rest of this by saying that I straight up ripped this technique off from Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar, but I’ve added a few tweaks to it, making it slightly more my own, although it is quite true to the original.
Sometimes, when I need a mental break from coding, I bake stuff. This is one of those times.
I first came up with this when trying to come up with a new dessert for the restaurant I was working at at the time. I was trying to find something that would add texture to the dish, while still being packed with flavour – I find that a lot of “crumb” components in desserts lack flavour, and I’ve always tried to make sure anything I put on a plate has a function. I also wanted something playful, and something that people would recognize. After a little brainstorming, Captain Crunch came to mind, and I also thought that corn was a flavour that was constantly underplayed in the pastry world.
Once I decided upon Captain Crunch, I looked through a few of my cookbooks until I stumbled upon this technique from the Milk Bar book. I knew immediately that the “crunch” technique needed to be married with Captain Crunch (I mean, come on – it’s right in the name!). Now, how to make it my own?
A quick look through my pantry would answer that for me. Korean red pepper flakes – a product I’d taken to dousing on more or less everything I eat – stood out as another flavour that was criminally underplayed in the pastry world. My logic went something like: “Captain Crunch is made from corn, corn and dairy is delicious, corn and chilies are amazing… so mixing all three must be super amazeballs!” I merged the two and a star was born.
The only problem with this recipe is that I never got to actually use it – all the other cooks and I ate it all as a snack before it ever even touched a plate. Now when I bring it out, it’s kind of a special occasion, and it always takes less than an hour before it’s devoured (usually as a topping for sundaes or as a garnish on top of a slice of cake for some texture). Anyways, without further ado, caramelized Captain Crunch:
Recommended listening: Blu – Good Morning Neighbor
Mise En Place
- 130g (2 1/3 cups) Captain Crunch
- 40g (1/2 cup) skim milk power
- 30g (2 1/4 tablespoons) caster (white) sugar
- 2g (1/2 teaspoon) salt (use kosher salt if possible)
- 6g (1 tablespoon) Korean red pepper powder (optional – you can omit or add more if you like)
- 100g (1/2 cup) oil (I like using grapeseed, but you can use whatever you want, as long as it’s not olive oil)
- Preheat oven to 275°F
- Combine all the ingredients except for the oil in a bowl and give them a quick toss to disperse evenly
- Add the oil and toss/mix, taking care to break down the Captain Crunch as little as possible (ideally not at all), and all the pieces are coated evenly (something like this)
- Spread out in an even layer on a sheet pan, and bake in your oven for 12 minutes – rotating the pan halfway through the cooking process
- Once the 12 minutes is up and your “crunch” is looking mighty tasty , let it cool for at least 10 minutes (this is the hardest part of the whole recipe – resist temptation)
- Eat, enjoy, and contemplate the finer things in life