Any fitness junkie knows that it’s important to fuel your body with superfoods pre-workout. And according to SoulCycle, that menu now includes cookies—specifically ones that teem with protein-heavy ingredients like almonds, macadamia nuts, coconuts, turmeric, quinoa puffs, pineapple, and citrus, and also happen to be vegan and gluten-free. Christina Tosi, founder of the cult bakery Milk Bar, has partnered with the cycling studio to make your healthy dessert dreams a reality. The SoulFuel cookie, available starting tomorrow at select SoulCycle studios across the country and on milkbarstore.com for $5, is meant to fuel riders before a class, satiate them afterward, or provide a sweet fix any old time without spiking their blood sugar. A portion of proceeds from sales will go toward SoulScholarship, a non-profit program that provides fitness programs for underserved youth.
Here, Tosi talks about the collaboration, key ingredients, and her number one baking rule.
How do you start your day on a good note? My days are packed from early morning to late at night because that’s how I prefer it. I love starting every new day with a BANG! I carve out a 20-minute meditation sesh, sip a strong cup of java, and then do something active like go for a run or take an early morning class with a friend (I live a block away from SoulCycle) to get my heart pumping and my creativity flowing.
What do you wear in the kitchen? Lately I’ve been sporting the super cute apron that Milk Bar recently designed with Madewell. It’s denim, and with all my favorite patches, so it is versatile and easy to throw in the wash once it’s covered in frosting and flour, which it is more often than not. Beyond that, I keep it comfy and simple: a pair of jeans or overalls, a striped tee, and a pair of Converse so I can run from the ovens to the walk-in when needed—our N.Y.C. kitchen is 11,000 square feet! I’m into fashion but I’m also a make-a-mess-in-the-kitchen kind of gal. You gotta know how to throw caution to the wind, you know?
What’s always in your pantry? A lot of my recipes have been inspired and shaped by my experiments with milk powder, a great secret weapon in your favorite cookie recipe, so I always keep some on hand. Beyond that, the obvious flour and sugar. I try to keep a stock of interesting-flavored extracts, cereals and nuts, and of course, sprinkles. I’m always looking for inspiration through ingredients. Often I’ll also have a bunch of Tupperwares of crumbs and crunches or curds and frostings on hand to play with for when those late-night ideas or cravings hit.
What ingredient makes everything taste better? Good butter. Always, always, always use nice quality, unsalted European-style butter. I like Plugra. It makes all the difference in the final product, I promise.
Where do you find inspiration for your recipes? I grew up in a family of sweet-teeth, baking side by side with my grandmothers. A lot of my inspiration comes from those moments of learning, laughing, and stealing licks of cookie dough from the bowl when they turned their backs. Baking, for me, is a way to connect with the most human form of myself, no walls up, only heart. Baking is my true expression, and I’m constantly finding ways to connect with people through my food. I look at the creative side of my job as striving to understand people’s core, appeal to their cravings, and innovate from there. soft-serve ice cream brings me back to being a kid in line at the local Dairy Queen. Crack Pie is actually inspired by a super simple gooey butter cake that my mom made when I was a kid. Chocolate-covered pretzel ice cream reminds me of the first time I discovered salty and sweet as a teenager. I’m always on the lookout for things that excite me or spark an idea, whether it be an old memory, a trip or my favorite grocery store or just around the corner to my local bodega, and I’m relentless in my pursuit of tweaking the recipe until we have it just right. Until it feels like a looking glass into your soul. We get that deep!
What would be your ideal food day? I am living my food dream, so my day would definitely involve cake of some sort, probably Milk Bar birthday cake with pickled strawberry jam. I’d throw back a green juice somewhere in there. If I could really have it my way, I’d want to eat my grandma’s oatmeal cookies, made by her just one last time. They speak to me and soothe my soul. For savory food, I would hit up the NoMad restaurant for a fun dinner (I’m partial … my husband Will is the co-owner) or Momofuku Noodle Bar for some ramen (again, biased!). I also love Mission Chinese and Roberta’s. I’m a sucker for a Shake Shack burger too.
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Do you have a dessert rule? My dessert advice is to know you and do you. Don’t hold back at all in baking. For sure, it is a science, full of exact ratios and measurements, but beyond that, the kitchen is my creative space. An empty mixing bowl is my version of a blank canvas. Inevitably, some flavor combos won’t work, but if you can dream it, it’s worth a shot.