Why Making Great Desserts Doesn’t Have to Be Hard, According to Christina Tosi
Plus, her recipe for Unicorn Birthday Fudge.
If you’re familiar with Christina Tosi, you know that a signature of her particular brand of genius is tapping into the nostalgic delight found in grocery store goodies and convenience items. (Cereal milk soft serve, anyone?) Tosi leverages these tastes of childhood to create contemporary, unapologetically playful twists on classic American desserts.
So it comes as no surprise that the sprinkle maven and mastermind behind Momofuku Milk Bar teamed up with one of the most iconic brands in the baking aisle, Nestle Toll House, to launch new trend-focused offerings, Unicorn Morsels and Edible Cookie Dough.
“What it is is two teams that believe in bringing more color, magic, and fun to the everyday,” Tosi told MyRecipes in a recent interview.
Tosi further explains that the idea of taking something like the average baking chip—a standard staple of grocery store baking aisles and kitchen pantries across the country—and invigorating it with more creativity and possibility is the type of innovation that makes creating exciting, inspiring desserts accessible to home bakers of all skill levels. And that, to the powerhouse pastry chef, is thrilling.
According to Tosi, the possibilities are limitless when it comes to using the vibrant pink- and blue-swirled Unicorn Morsels. In addition to a bright pop of color, the baking chips deliver a rich kick of vanilla flavor, so they’re great for stirring into your favorite cookie dough—sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, and chocolate cookies are all great canvases.
She’s also a fan of sprinkling the Unicorn Morsels over a sheet cake, just before baking, to add flavor, color, and texture. Other favorite applications include adding them to a standard muffin batter (with dried blueberries, dried cranberries, or dried cherries), stirring them into brownies or blondies, sprinkling them into pancakes as they cook on the griddle, or stirring them into a no-bake treat like cereal bars or trail mix.
When it comes to Nestle’s new Edible Cookie Dough, eating it straight from the pint is obviously priority no. 1. But Tosi also loves layering chunks of it into homemade ice cream and popsicles, and even yogurt dessert parfaits for a slightly lighter treat. The dough, which is made with heat-treated flour and without raw eggs, is not intended for the oven, so Tosi suggests thinking of it as a way to boost no-bake desserts. (Think chunks of cookie dough mixed into a chocolate no-bake cheesecake.) You could even roll portions of the dough and dip them into melted chocolate for easy cookie dough truffles.
Really, the key with these products is to relax and have some fun in the kitchen. “I think a lot of people steer clear of the dessert side of things because they worry about the scientific nature of baking,” Tosi says. “So I typically like to encourage people on a stepping stone journey to build up confidence.”
In other words, if you’re not a pro pastry chef—don’t sweat it. You can still make a great dessert and enjoy the process. It doesn’t have to be made entirely from scratch to be made with enthusiasm.
“I baked brownies, and cakes, and muffins from a mix long before I ever learned to make them from-scratch and that gave me a lot more comfort in understanding what something looks like when it bakes and what the batter tastes like,” she says.
So try something simple; a recipe that feels less about science and more about basic ingredients, measuring them out, and bringing them together. Tosi says something like granola is a great place to start appreciating where fat and sugar play well together, and how caramelization works. Or, to keep things easy and keep the oven off, her Unicorn Birthday Fudge is the perfect project. Here's the recipe:
Christina Tosi's Unicorn Birthday Fudge
Prep Time: 15 minutes
- 3 1/4 cups Nestlé Toll House Premier White Morsels
- 1 cup Nestlé Toll House Unicorn Pink & Blue Swirled Vanilla Morsels
- 14 ozs. sweetened condensed milk
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup plus 2 TB rainbow sprinkles
1. Line a 13x9 Inch baking dish with parchment or wax paper. Sprinkle ½ cup Unicorn morsels onto the paper. Set dish aside.
2. Combine 3 Cups white morsels with the sweetened condensed milk in a microwave-safe medium sized bowl.
3. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Continue to microwave for 10-20 seconds at a time and stir in between to melt the morsels completely. The mixture will become smooth and glossy. Stir in salt and extract.
4. Stir ¼ cup rainbow sprinkles into mixture and then spread mixture into the baking dish. Top the mixture with the remaining white and unicorn morsels, as well as the remaining 2 TBS sprinkles.
5. Refrigerate the fudge for at least 30-45 minutes prior to cutting.