Traditional recipes

Milk Bar Adds New Soft Serve Ice Cream and Shakes to the Menu

Milk Bar Adds New Soft Serve Ice Cream and Shakes to the Menu

New York City’s Milk Bar, with Christina Tosi at the helm, has added a new menu of frozen desserts

A birthday cake truffle in milkshake form? There goes our summer diet.

Attention, New Yorkers: If it isn’t already, Milk Bar is about to become your favorite summer dessert spot in the city. Milk Bar, headed by James Beard award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi, has added new soft serve ice cream, shakes, and drinks to the menu.The selections are made from classic menu-favorite pastries like birthday cake truffles and malt cake.

Available at all New York City locations, these new frozen treats include chocolate chip passionfruit cake soft serve (Milk Bar’s chocolate chip layer cake with passionfruit and a hint of coffee, transformed into a soft serve ice cream topped with chocolate chips), crunchy cereal shake (cereal milk classic shake with added cornflakes), birthday cake truffle shake (a cereal milk shake blended with 3 birthday truffles), chocolate malt cake shake (cereal milk shake blended with hot fudge and three chocolate malt truffles), and the cereal milk affogato (an affogato is espresso topped with ice cream, and this one uses Stumptown coffee and Tosi’s famous cereal milk ice cream).

Catch these summer treats before the weather starts to cool off.


Milk Bar’s New Flagship Is All Sugar, No Soul

Most good bakeries don’t carry Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This makes sense, as ambitious venues generally prefer to nourish with their own homemade fare. And yet these confections, along with pouches of Big League Chew, are among the first things one might encounter at Milk Bar’s newest and most corporate New York location, inside the Ace Hotel in Nomad.

A certain logic underlies the presence of these candies. Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, whose success and TV exposure has turned her into one of the country’s most recognizable culinary figures, has a track record of branding her populist creations, complete with registered trademarks. One thinks of Compost Cookies®, a kitchen-sink snack made with coffee grounds and pretzels, and soft serve Milkquakes™, a topping-laden riff on the Dairy Queen blizzard.

An arcade-style claw machine labelled Milk Bar

And now, Milk Bar sells something called Cerealsies™, gumdrop-sized candies of flavored white chocolate surrounding little bites of cereal. The excellent green ones taste like an Andes mint chocolate crossed with malted milk balls, while the dusty cinnamon variety packs a stronger crunch, employing a pleasantly bitter version of the spice.

They’re all packaged in handsome matte bags, sitting above those Reese’s and stacks of Sugar Daddies and M&Ms. What was once a cool East Village hangout peddling egg sandwiches alongside cereal-flavored milk has become a national chain with shiny flagships in Melrose, Los Angeles Washington, D.C. and here, in Manhattan.

The Cerealsies and their neighboring pre-packed goods are Milk Bar’s way of saying it belongs in the same space as every major candy manufacturer out there. And maybe it does. But Tosi needs to make sure that the commercialism and the eerily hovering™ superscripts — which pepper the menu like edits from an intellectual property lawyer — don’t eat away at the soul of her bakery.

Cerealsies at the mini-mart kiosk at Milk Bar

Tosi has always been a nontraditional chef. Rather than follow in prevailing European pastry traditions, the Northern Virginia native channels 1980s suburban nostalgia and a love for junk food into balanced, salty, multi-textured sweets. If there is a croissant on the menu, chances are it will be a “Thanksgiving” croissant stuffed with turkey and cranberry sauce. If there is soft serve, it will likely be Cereal Milk, a dairy product — almost more savory than sweet — that tastes like it came from a fictional cow raised on Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. And if there are golf ball-sized truffles piled up on the counter, their flavor might be “birthday” (or “b’day,” in Tosi talk) the soft bites evoke the flavor of moist vanilla cake mix.

Milk Bar is like Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” (1943), except with cameos from the Keebler Elves, Ferris Bueller, Molly Ringwald, and a horribly stoned Tony the Tiger.

What to Actually Try at the Milk Bar Flagship

Cereal Milk: Best sampled either as cool soft serve ($5.50) or as actual sweet-salty milk the latter is off-menu but available.

Peppermint snaps: A chocolate wafer layered with caramel and pretzels, dipped in white chocolate peppermint bark each flavor comes through clearly without devolving into heavy sweetness (seasonal).

Birthday cake or corn truffles: Small snacky bites flavored like vanilla cake or vegetal corn and caramel. Eat them cold ($2.25).

Apple pie soft serve (vegan): The texture is a bit thin, but it packs a wallop of cider flavor ($5.50).

Cerealsies: Try the spicy cinnamon-sugar spheres or the Andes-like mint variety ($4.00). Avoid the birthday flavor.

Milk Bar pie: A riff on chess pie that tames buttery, sugary goodness with an oat crust ($6).

Strawberry corn Milkquake: A slightly soupy mix of Cereal Milk soft serve with fragrant pickled strawberries and salty cake bites ($6).

Chocolate cookies: Underbaked (like most of Tosi’s cookies), but with enough chocolate and salt to counterbalance the sugars ($2.75).

Anyone who’s ever encountered a bagel bite at a coffee chain, “Fruit Loop”-flavored ice cream at a grocery store, or unironic funfetti desserts can send Tosi a thank-you note. Milk Bar’s influence is nothing less than immense.

The new flagship Milk Bar, alas, is very different from the older neighborhood outposts. If a West Village Milk Bar is a bare-bones storefront with a leaner menu, this one is designed to vacuum up tourists with snap bracelets, plastic jump ropes, souvenir bandanas, pink-lettered cigarette lighters, and a longer bill of fare, including Milkquakes and Bagel Bombs (both no longer available at the smaller stores), specials, and occasional brand “partnerships.”

Tosi has compared the 4,000-square-foot space to a daytime “slumber party,” while the venue flaunts a high school cafeteria vibe, replete with plastic trays and communal benches. Children sometimes fill the room, pressing their faces against the sneeze guard glass for custom 8-inch cookies ($40) or bespoke cakes ($65), all with Milk Bar’s famously unfinished exteriors.

But as the burgeoning chain standardizes its production line, birthday-flavored items — indulgences laced with sprinkles and scented with a strain of vanilla that’s more candy store than creme brulee — now occupy a frightening portion of the flagship menu. The bulk of these delectables do not exhibit Tosi’s knack for reinventing classic snacks with unexpected doses of salt and crunch they serve instead as an Avengers-style study in self-reference and duplication.

A triangle slice of birthday crumb-studded cookie cake mimics the sensation of eating crystallized frosting by the mouthful, while the sludge-like birthday shake conveys the feeling of sucking up that same frosting through a straw and chasing it with musty sprinkle dust. A birthday latte tastes like what would happen if a barista accidentally poured half a cup of artificial vanilla syrup into milk-colored hot water and forgot to add coffee. Confetti cookies don’t fare much better, nor do (cold, dry) slices of birthday cake or birthday Cerealsies, whose noxious dairy punch recalls a waxy, petrified version of astronaut ice cream.

The shiny interior at Milk Bar

Vegan apple pie soft serve at Milk Bar

The only surefire birthday order is the plain truffles, a version of the original that can be found at smaller Milk Bar outposts. They are cold and vaguely creamy, with a flavor that’s like licking a spoon used to churn Duncan Hines cake batter. With any luck, Tosi will do for these truffles what Ben & Jerry’s did for cookie dough, which is to bring delicious mass-market legitimacy to a sneaky childhood snack.

It is possible to eat a treat at Milk Bar that doesn’t claim to taste like a birthday. Be sure to try the corn truffles, with an assertively salty and vegetal corn exterior that gives way to a soft, concentrated caramel core. The chocolate cookies flaunt a wicked sweet-salty balance, while a strawberry Milkquake uses pickled strawberry syrup to bring a bit of fragrant and tart contrast to the frozen treat.

Still, it’s hard to shake all the birthday ignominies — not to mention the questionable Milk Bar pie latte, slightly stale Compost Cookie, or corn cookie with little corn flavor. The infinite iterations suggest the creative process there is fueled by corporate-style replication rather than a smart gastronomic sensibility. It’s as if Tosi saw all the folks making silly cragels and cretzels after Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut and declared, “the dude should have invented all those spin-offs himself.” This doesn’t feel like the experimental Milk Bar that injected playful soul into New York neighborhoods. This feels like a Tao Group bakery or Black Tap cribbing from the Milk Bar playbook.


Milk Bar’s New Flagship Is All Sugar, No Soul

Most good bakeries don’t carry Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This makes sense, as ambitious venues generally prefer to nourish with their own homemade fare. And yet these confections, along with pouches of Big League Chew, are among the first things one might encounter at Milk Bar’s newest and most corporate New York location, inside the Ace Hotel in Nomad.

A certain logic underlies the presence of these candies. Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, whose success and TV exposure has turned her into one of the country’s most recognizable culinary figures, has a track record of branding her populist creations, complete with registered trademarks. One thinks of Compost Cookies®, a kitchen-sink snack made with coffee grounds and pretzels, and soft serve Milkquakes™, a topping-laden riff on the Dairy Queen blizzard.

An arcade-style claw machine labelled Milk Bar

And now, Milk Bar sells something called Cerealsies™, gumdrop-sized candies of flavored white chocolate surrounding little bites of cereal. The excellent green ones taste like an Andes mint chocolate crossed with malted milk balls, while the dusty cinnamon variety packs a stronger crunch, employing a pleasantly bitter version of the spice.

They’re all packaged in handsome matte bags, sitting above those Reese’s and stacks of Sugar Daddies and M&Ms. What was once a cool East Village hangout peddling egg sandwiches alongside cereal-flavored milk has become a national chain with shiny flagships in Melrose, Los Angeles Washington, D.C. and here, in Manhattan.

The Cerealsies and their neighboring pre-packed goods are Milk Bar’s way of saying it belongs in the same space as every major candy manufacturer out there. And maybe it does. But Tosi needs to make sure that the commercialism and the eerily hovering™ superscripts — which pepper the menu like edits from an intellectual property lawyer — don’t eat away at the soul of her bakery.

Cerealsies at the mini-mart kiosk at Milk Bar

Tosi has always been a nontraditional chef. Rather than follow in prevailing European pastry traditions, the Northern Virginia native channels 1980s suburban nostalgia and a love for junk food into balanced, salty, multi-textured sweets. If there is a croissant on the menu, chances are it will be a “Thanksgiving” croissant stuffed with turkey and cranberry sauce. If there is soft serve, it will likely be Cereal Milk, a dairy product — almost more savory than sweet — that tastes like it came from a fictional cow raised on Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. And if there are golf ball-sized truffles piled up on the counter, their flavor might be “birthday” (or “b’day,” in Tosi talk) the soft bites evoke the flavor of moist vanilla cake mix.

Milk Bar is like Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” (1943), except with cameos from the Keebler Elves, Ferris Bueller, Molly Ringwald, and a horribly stoned Tony the Tiger.

What to Actually Try at the Milk Bar Flagship

Cereal Milk: Best sampled either as cool soft serve ($5.50) or as actual sweet-salty milk the latter is off-menu but available.

Peppermint snaps: A chocolate wafer layered with caramel and pretzels, dipped in white chocolate peppermint bark each flavor comes through clearly without devolving into heavy sweetness (seasonal).

Birthday cake or corn truffles: Small snacky bites flavored like vanilla cake or vegetal corn and caramel. Eat them cold ($2.25).

Apple pie soft serve (vegan): The texture is a bit thin, but it packs a wallop of cider flavor ($5.50).

Cerealsies: Try the spicy cinnamon-sugar spheres or the Andes-like mint variety ($4.00). Avoid the birthday flavor.

Milk Bar pie: A riff on chess pie that tames buttery, sugary goodness with an oat crust ($6).

Strawberry corn Milkquake: A slightly soupy mix of Cereal Milk soft serve with fragrant pickled strawberries and salty cake bites ($6).

Chocolate cookies: Underbaked (like most of Tosi’s cookies), but with enough chocolate and salt to counterbalance the sugars ($2.75).

Anyone who’s ever encountered a bagel bite at a coffee chain, “Fruit Loop”-flavored ice cream at a grocery store, or unironic funfetti desserts can send Tosi a thank-you note. Milk Bar’s influence is nothing less than immense.

The new flagship Milk Bar, alas, is very different from the older neighborhood outposts. If a West Village Milk Bar is a bare-bones storefront with a leaner menu, this one is designed to vacuum up tourists with snap bracelets, plastic jump ropes, souvenir bandanas, pink-lettered cigarette lighters, and a longer bill of fare, including Milkquakes and Bagel Bombs (both no longer available at the smaller stores), specials, and occasional brand “partnerships.”

Tosi has compared the 4,000-square-foot space to a daytime “slumber party,” while the venue flaunts a high school cafeteria vibe, replete with plastic trays and communal benches. Children sometimes fill the room, pressing their faces against the sneeze guard glass for custom 8-inch cookies ($40) or bespoke cakes ($65), all with Milk Bar’s famously unfinished exteriors.

But as the burgeoning chain standardizes its production line, birthday-flavored items — indulgences laced with sprinkles and scented with a strain of vanilla that’s more candy store than creme brulee — now occupy a frightening portion of the flagship menu. The bulk of these delectables do not exhibit Tosi’s knack for reinventing classic snacks with unexpected doses of salt and crunch they serve instead as an Avengers-style study in self-reference and duplication.

A triangle slice of birthday crumb-studded cookie cake mimics the sensation of eating crystallized frosting by the mouthful, while the sludge-like birthday shake conveys the feeling of sucking up that same frosting through a straw and chasing it with musty sprinkle dust. A birthday latte tastes like what would happen if a barista accidentally poured half a cup of artificial vanilla syrup into milk-colored hot water and forgot to add coffee. Confetti cookies don’t fare much better, nor do (cold, dry) slices of birthday cake or birthday Cerealsies, whose noxious dairy punch recalls a waxy, petrified version of astronaut ice cream.

The shiny interior at Milk Bar

Vegan apple pie soft serve at Milk Bar

The only surefire birthday order is the plain truffles, a version of the original that can be found at smaller Milk Bar outposts. They are cold and vaguely creamy, with a flavor that’s like licking a spoon used to churn Duncan Hines cake batter. With any luck, Tosi will do for these truffles what Ben & Jerry’s did for cookie dough, which is to bring delicious mass-market legitimacy to a sneaky childhood snack.

It is possible to eat a treat at Milk Bar that doesn’t claim to taste like a birthday. Be sure to try the corn truffles, with an assertively salty and vegetal corn exterior that gives way to a soft, concentrated caramel core. The chocolate cookies flaunt a wicked sweet-salty balance, while a strawberry Milkquake uses pickled strawberry syrup to bring a bit of fragrant and tart contrast to the frozen treat.

Still, it’s hard to shake all the birthday ignominies — not to mention the questionable Milk Bar pie latte, slightly stale Compost Cookie, or corn cookie with little corn flavor. The infinite iterations suggest the creative process there is fueled by corporate-style replication rather than a smart gastronomic sensibility. It’s as if Tosi saw all the folks making silly cragels and cretzels after Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut and declared, “the dude should have invented all those spin-offs himself.” This doesn’t feel like the experimental Milk Bar that injected playful soul into New York neighborhoods. This feels like a Tao Group bakery or Black Tap cribbing from the Milk Bar playbook.


Milk Bar’s New Flagship Is All Sugar, No Soul

Most good bakeries don’t carry Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This makes sense, as ambitious venues generally prefer to nourish with their own homemade fare. And yet these confections, along with pouches of Big League Chew, are among the first things one might encounter at Milk Bar’s newest and most corporate New York location, inside the Ace Hotel in Nomad.

A certain logic underlies the presence of these candies. Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, whose success and TV exposure has turned her into one of the country’s most recognizable culinary figures, has a track record of branding her populist creations, complete with registered trademarks. One thinks of Compost Cookies®, a kitchen-sink snack made with coffee grounds and pretzels, and soft serve Milkquakes™, a topping-laden riff on the Dairy Queen blizzard.

An arcade-style claw machine labelled Milk Bar

And now, Milk Bar sells something called Cerealsies™, gumdrop-sized candies of flavored white chocolate surrounding little bites of cereal. The excellent green ones taste like an Andes mint chocolate crossed with malted milk balls, while the dusty cinnamon variety packs a stronger crunch, employing a pleasantly bitter version of the spice.

They’re all packaged in handsome matte bags, sitting above those Reese’s and stacks of Sugar Daddies and M&Ms. What was once a cool East Village hangout peddling egg sandwiches alongside cereal-flavored milk has become a national chain with shiny flagships in Melrose, Los Angeles Washington, D.C. and here, in Manhattan.

The Cerealsies and their neighboring pre-packed goods are Milk Bar’s way of saying it belongs in the same space as every major candy manufacturer out there. And maybe it does. But Tosi needs to make sure that the commercialism and the eerily hovering™ superscripts — which pepper the menu like edits from an intellectual property lawyer — don’t eat away at the soul of her bakery.

Cerealsies at the mini-mart kiosk at Milk Bar

Tosi has always been a nontraditional chef. Rather than follow in prevailing European pastry traditions, the Northern Virginia native channels 1980s suburban nostalgia and a love for junk food into balanced, salty, multi-textured sweets. If there is a croissant on the menu, chances are it will be a “Thanksgiving” croissant stuffed with turkey and cranberry sauce. If there is soft serve, it will likely be Cereal Milk, a dairy product — almost more savory than sweet — that tastes like it came from a fictional cow raised on Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. And if there are golf ball-sized truffles piled up on the counter, their flavor might be “birthday” (or “b’day,” in Tosi talk) the soft bites evoke the flavor of moist vanilla cake mix.

Milk Bar is like Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” (1943), except with cameos from the Keebler Elves, Ferris Bueller, Molly Ringwald, and a horribly stoned Tony the Tiger.

What to Actually Try at the Milk Bar Flagship

Cereal Milk: Best sampled either as cool soft serve ($5.50) or as actual sweet-salty milk the latter is off-menu but available.

Peppermint snaps: A chocolate wafer layered with caramel and pretzels, dipped in white chocolate peppermint bark each flavor comes through clearly without devolving into heavy sweetness (seasonal).

Birthday cake or corn truffles: Small snacky bites flavored like vanilla cake or vegetal corn and caramel. Eat them cold ($2.25).

Apple pie soft serve (vegan): The texture is a bit thin, but it packs a wallop of cider flavor ($5.50).

Cerealsies: Try the spicy cinnamon-sugar spheres or the Andes-like mint variety ($4.00). Avoid the birthday flavor.

Milk Bar pie: A riff on chess pie that tames buttery, sugary goodness with an oat crust ($6).

Strawberry corn Milkquake: A slightly soupy mix of Cereal Milk soft serve with fragrant pickled strawberries and salty cake bites ($6).

Chocolate cookies: Underbaked (like most of Tosi’s cookies), but with enough chocolate and salt to counterbalance the sugars ($2.75).

Anyone who’s ever encountered a bagel bite at a coffee chain, “Fruit Loop”-flavored ice cream at a grocery store, or unironic funfetti desserts can send Tosi a thank-you note. Milk Bar’s influence is nothing less than immense.

The new flagship Milk Bar, alas, is very different from the older neighborhood outposts. If a West Village Milk Bar is a bare-bones storefront with a leaner menu, this one is designed to vacuum up tourists with snap bracelets, plastic jump ropes, souvenir bandanas, pink-lettered cigarette lighters, and a longer bill of fare, including Milkquakes and Bagel Bombs (both no longer available at the smaller stores), specials, and occasional brand “partnerships.”

Tosi has compared the 4,000-square-foot space to a daytime “slumber party,” while the venue flaunts a high school cafeteria vibe, replete with plastic trays and communal benches. Children sometimes fill the room, pressing their faces against the sneeze guard glass for custom 8-inch cookies ($40) or bespoke cakes ($65), all with Milk Bar’s famously unfinished exteriors.

But as the burgeoning chain standardizes its production line, birthday-flavored items — indulgences laced with sprinkles and scented with a strain of vanilla that’s more candy store than creme brulee — now occupy a frightening portion of the flagship menu. The bulk of these delectables do not exhibit Tosi’s knack for reinventing classic snacks with unexpected doses of salt and crunch they serve instead as an Avengers-style study in self-reference and duplication.

A triangle slice of birthday crumb-studded cookie cake mimics the sensation of eating crystallized frosting by the mouthful, while the sludge-like birthday shake conveys the feeling of sucking up that same frosting through a straw and chasing it with musty sprinkle dust. A birthday latte tastes like what would happen if a barista accidentally poured half a cup of artificial vanilla syrup into milk-colored hot water and forgot to add coffee. Confetti cookies don’t fare much better, nor do (cold, dry) slices of birthday cake or birthday Cerealsies, whose noxious dairy punch recalls a waxy, petrified version of astronaut ice cream.

The shiny interior at Milk Bar

Vegan apple pie soft serve at Milk Bar

The only surefire birthday order is the plain truffles, a version of the original that can be found at smaller Milk Bar outposts. They are cold and vaguely creamy, with a flavor that’s like licking a spoon used to churn Duncan Hines cake batter. With any luck, Tosi will do for these truffles what Ben & Jerry’s did for cookie dough, which is to bring delicious mass-market legitimacy to a sneaky childhood snack.

It is possible to eat a treat at Milk Bar that doesn’t claim to taste like a birthday. Be sure to try the corn truffles, with an assertively salty and vegetal corn exterior that gives way to a soft, concentrated caramel core. The chocolate cookies flaunt a wicked sweet-salty balance, while a strawberry Milkquake uses pickled strawberry syrup to bring a bit of fragrant and tart contrast to the frozen treat.

Still, it’s hard to shake all the birthday ignominies — not to mention the questionable Milk Bar pie latte, slightly stale Compost Cookie, or corn cookie with little corn flavor. The infinite iterations suggest the creative process there is fueled by corporate-style replication rather than a smart gastronomic sensibility. It’s as if Tosi saw all the folks making silly cragels and cretzels after Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut and declared, “the dude should have invented all those spin-offs himself.” This doesn’t feel like the experimental Milk Bar that injected playful soul into New York neighborhoods. This feels like a Tao Group bakery or Black Tap cribbing from the Milk Bar playbook.


Milk Bar’s New Flagship Is All Sugar, No Soul

Most good bakeries don’t carry Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This makes sense, as ambitious venues generally prefer to nourish with their own homemade fare. And yet these confections, along with pouches of Big League Chew, are among the first things one might encounter at Milk Bar’s newest and most corporate New York location, inside the Ace Hotel in Nomad.

A certain logic underlies the presence of these candies. Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, whose success and TV exposure has turned her into one of the country’s most recognizable culinary figures, has a track record of branding her populist creations, complete with registered trademarks. One thinks of Compost Cookies®, a kitchen-sink snack made with coffee grounds and pretzels, and soft serve Milkquakes™, a topping-laden riff on the Dairy Queen blizzard.

An arcade-style claw machine labelled Milk Bar

And now, Milk Bar sells something called Cerealsies™, gumdrop-sized candies of flavored white chocolate surrounding little bites of cereal. The excellent green ones taste like an Andes mint chocolate crossed with malted milk balls, while the dusty cinnamon variety packs a stronger crunch, employing a pleasantly bitter version of the spice.

They’re all packaged in handsome matte bags, sitting above those Reese’s and stacks of Sugar Daddies and M&Ms. What was once a cool East Village hangout peddling egg sandwiches alongside cereal-flavored milk has become a national chain with shiny flagships in Melrose, Los Angeles Washington, D.C. and here, in Manhattan.

The Cerealsies and their neighboring pre-packed goods are Milk Bar’s way of saying it belongs in the same space as every major candy manufacturer out there. And maybe it does. But Tosi needs to make sure that the commercialism and the eerily hovering™ superscripts — which pepper the menu like edits from an intellectual property lawyer — don’t eat away at the soul of her bakery.

Cerealsies at the mini-mart kiosk at Milk Bar

Tosi has always been a nontraditional chef. Rather than follow in prevailing European pastry traditions, the Northern Virginia native channels 1980s suburban nostalgia and a love for junk food into balanced, salty, multi-textured sweets. If there is a croissant on the menu, chances are it will be a “Thanksgiving” croissant stuffed with turkey and cranberry sauce. If there is soft serve, it will likely be Cereal Milk, a dairy product — almost more savory than sweet — that tastes like it came from a fictional cow raised on Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. And if there are golf ball-sized truffles piled up on the counter, their flavor might be “birthday” (or “b’day,” in Tosi talk) the soft bites evoke the flavor of moist vanilla cake mix.

Milk Bar is like Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” (1943), except with cameos from the Keebler Elves, Ferris Bueller, Molly Ringwald, and a horribly stoned Tony the Tiger.

What to Actually Try at the Milk Bar Flagship

Cereal Milk: Best sampled either as cool soft serve ($5.50) or as actual sweet-salty milk the latter is off-menu but available.

Peppermint snaps: A chocolate wafer layered with caramel and pretzels, dipped in white chocolate peppermint bark each flavor comes through clearly without devolving into heavy sweetness (seasonal).

Birthday cake or corn truffles: Small snacky bites flavored like vanilla cake or vegetal corn and caramel. Eat them cold ($2.25).

Apple pie soft serve (vegan): The texture is a bit thin, but it packs a wallop of cider flavor ($5.50).

Cerealsies: Try the spicy cinnamon-sugar spheres or the Andes-like mint variety ($4.00). Avoid the birthday flavor.

Milk Bar pie: A riff on chess pie that tames buttery, sugary goodness with an oat crust ($6).

Strawberry corn Milkquake: A slightly soupy mix of Cereal Milk soft serve with fragrant pickled strawberries and salty cake bites ($6).

Chocolate cookies: Underbaked (like most of Tosi’s cookies), but with enough chocolate and salt to counterbalance the sugars ($2.75).

Anyone who’s ever encountered a bagel bite at a coffee chain, “Fruit Loop”-flavored ice cream at a grocery store, or unironic funfetti desserts can send Tosi a thank-you note. Milk Bar’s influence is nothing less than immense.

The new flagship Milk Bar, alas, is very different from the older neighborhood outposts. If a West Village Milk Bar is a bare-bones storefront with a leaner menu, this one is designed to vacuum up tourists with snap bracelets, plastic jump ropes, souvenir bandanas, pink-lettered cigarette lighters, and a longer bill of fare, including Milkquakes and Bagel Bombs (both no longer available at the smaller stores), specials, and occasional brand “partnerships.”

Tosi has compared the 4,000-square-foot space to a daytime “slumber party,” while the venue flaunts a high school cafeteria vibe, replete with plastic trays and communal benches. Children sometimes fill the room, pressing their faces against the sneeze guard glass for custom 8-inch cookies ($40) or bespoke cakes ($65), all with Milk Bar’s famously unfinished exteriors.

But as the burgeoning chain standardizes its production line, birthday-flavored items — indulgences laced with sprinkles and scented with a strain of vanilla that’s more candy store than creme brulee — now occupy a frightening portion of the flagship menu. The bulk of these delectables do not exhibit Tosi’s knack for reinventing classic snacks with unexpected doses of salt and crunch they serve instead as an Avengers-style study in self-reference and duplication.

A triangle slice of birthday crumb-studded cookie cake mimics the sensation of eating crystallized frosting by the mouthful, while the sludge-like birthday shake conveys the feeling of sucking up that same frosting through a straw and chasing it with musty sprinkle dust. A birthday latte tastes like what would happen if a barista accidentally poured half a cup of artificial vanilla syrup into milk-colored hot water and forgot to add coffee. Confetti cookies don’t fare much better, nor do (cold, dry) slices of birthday cake or birthday Cerealsies, whose noxious dairy punch recalls a waxy, petrified version of astronaut ice cream.

The shiny interior at Milk Bar

Vegan apple pie soft serve at Milk Bar

The only surefire birthday order is the plain truffles, a version of the original that can be found at smaller Milk Bar outposts. They are cold and vaguely creamy, with a flavor that’s like licking a spoon used to churn Duncan Hines cake batter. With any luck, Tosi will do for these truffles what Ben & Jerry’s did for cookie dough, which is to bring delicious mass-market legitimacy to a sneaky childhood snack.

It is possible to eat a treat at Milk Bar that doesn’t claim to taste like a birthday. Be sure to try the corn truffles, with an assertively salty and vegetal corn exterior that gives way to a soft, concentrated caramel core. The chocolate cookies flaunt a wicked sweet-salty balance, while a strawberry Milkquake uses pickled strawberry syrup to bring a bit of fragrant and tart contrast to the frozen treat.

Still, it’s hard to shake all the birthday ignominies — not to mention the questionable Milk Bar pie latte, slightly stale Compost Cookie, or corn cookie with little corn flavor. The infinite iterations suggest the creative process there is fueled by corporate-style replication rather than a smart gastronomic sensibility. It’s as if Tosi saw all the folks making silly cragels and cretzels after Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut and declared, “the dude should have invented all those spin-offs himself.” This doesn’t feel like the experimental Milk Bar that injected playful soul into New York neighborhoods. This feels like a Tao Group bakery or Black Tap cribbing from the Milk Bar playbook.


Milk Bar’s New Flagship Is All Sugar, No Soul

Most good bakeries don’t carry Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This makes sense, as ambitious venues generally prefer to nourish with their own homemade fare. And yet these confections, along with pouches of Big League Chew, are among the first things one might encounter at Milk Bar’s newest and most corporate New York location, inside the Ace Hotel in Nomad.

A certain logic underlies the presence of these candies. Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, whose success and TV exposure has turned her into one of the country’s most recognizable culinary figures, has a track record of branding her populist creations, complete with registered trademarks. One thinks of Compost Cookies®, a kitchen-sink snack made with coffee grounds and pretzels, and soft serve Milkquakes™, a topping-laden riff on the Dairy Queen blizzard.

An arcade-style claw machine labelled Milk Bar

And now, Milk Bar sells something called Cerealsies™, gumdrop-sized candies of flavored white chocolate surrounding little bites of cereal. The excellent green ones taste like an Andes mint chocolate crossed with malted milk balls, while the dusty cinnamon variety packs a stronger crunch, employing a pleasantly bitter version of the spice.

They’re all packaged in handsome matte bags, sitting above those Reese’s and stacks of Sugar Daddies and M&Ms. What was once a cool East Village hangout peddling egg sandwiches alongside cereal-flavored milk has become a national chain with shiny flagships in Melrose, Los Angeles Washington, D.C. and here, in Manhattan.

The Cerealsies and their neighboring pre-packed goods are Milk Bar’s way of saying it belongs in the same space as every major candy manufacturer out there. And maybe it does. But Tosi needs to make sure that the commercialism and the eerily hovering™ superscripts — which pepper the menu like edits from an intellectual property lawyer — don’t eat away at the soul of her bakery.

Cerealsies at the mini-mart kiosk at Milk Bar

Tosi has always been a nontraditional chef. Rather than follow in prevailing European pastry traditions, the Northern Virginia native channels 1980s suburban nostalgia and a love for junk food into balanced, salty, multi-textured sweets. If there is a croissant on the menu, chances are it will be a “Thanksgiving” croissant stuffed with turkey and cranberry sauce. If there is soft serve, it will likely be Cereal Milk, a dairy product — almost more savory than sweet — that tastes like it came from a fictional cow raised on Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. And if there are golf ball-sized truffles piled up on the counter, their flavor might be “birthday” (or “b’day,” in Tosi talk) the soft bites evoke the flavor of moist vanilla cake mix.

Milk Bar is like Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” (1943), except with cameos from the Keebler Elves, Ferris Bueller, Molly Ringwald, and a horribly stoned Tony the Tiger.

What to Actually Try at the Milk Bar Flagship

Cereal Milk: Best sampled either as cool soft serve ($5.50) or as actual sweet-salty milk the latter is off-menu but available.

Peppermint snaps: A chocolate wafer layered with caramel and pretzels, dipped in white chocolate peppermint bark each flavor comes through clearly without devolving into heavy sweetness (seasonal).

Birthday cake or corn truffles: Small snacky bites flavored like vanilla cake or vegetal corn and caramel. Eat them cold ($2.25).

Apple pie soft serve (vegan): The texture is a bit thin, but it packs a wallop of cider flavor ($5.50).

Cerealsies: Try the spicy cinnamon-sugar spheres or the Andes-like mint variety ($4.00). Avoid the birthday flavor.

Milk Bar pie: A riff on chess pie that tames buttery, sugary goodness with an oat crust ($6).

Strawberry corn Milkquake: A slightly soupy mix of Cereal Milk soft serve with fragrant pickled strawberries and salty cake bites ($6).

Chocolate cookies: Underbaked (like most of Tosi’s cookies), but with enough chocolate and salt to counterbalance the sugars ($2.75).

Anyone who’s ever encountered a bagel bite at a coffee chain, “Fruit Loop”-flavored ice cream at a grocery store, or unironic funfetti desserts can send Tosi a thank-you note. Milk Bar’s influence is nothing less than immense.

The new flagship Milk Bar, alas, is very different from the older neighborhood outposts. If a West Village Milk Bar is a bare-bones storefront with a leaner menu, this one is designed to vacuum up tourists with snap bracelets, plastic jump ropes, souvenir bandanas, pink-lettered cigarette lighters, and a longer bill of fare, including Milkquakes and Bagel Bombs (both no longer available at the smaller stores), specials, and occasional brand “partnerships.”

Tosi has compared the 4,000-square-foot space to a daytime “slumber party,” while the venue flaunts a high school cafeteria vibe, replete with plastic trays and communal benches. Children sometimes fill the room, pressing their faces against the sneeze guard glass for custom 8-inch cookies ($40) or bespoke cakes ($65), all with Milk Bar’s famously unfinished exteriors.

But as the burgeoning chain standardizes its production line, birthday-flavored items — indulgences laced with sprinkles and scented with a strain of vanilla that’s more candy store than creme brulee — now occupy a frightening portion of the flagship menu. The bulk of these delectables do not exhibit Tosi’s knack for reinventing classic snacks with unexpected doses of salt and crunch they serve instead as an Avengers-style study in self-reference and duplication.

A triangle slice of birthday crumb-studded cookie cake mimics the sensation of eating crystallized frosting by the mouthful, while the sludge-like birthday shake conveys the feeling of sucking up that same frosting through a straw and chasing it with musty sprinkle dust. A birthday latte tastes like what would happen if a barista accidentally poured half a cup of artificial vanilla syrup into milk-colored hot water and forgot to add coffee. Confetti cookies don’t fare much better, nor do (cold, dry) slices of birthday cake or birthday Cerealsies, whose noxious dairy punch recalls a waxy, petrified version of astronaut ice cream.

The shiny interior at Milk Bar

Vegan apple pie soft serve at Milk Bar

The only surefire birthday order is the plain truffles, a version of the original that can be found at smaller Milk Bar outposts. They are cold and vaguely creamy, with a flavor that’s like licking a spoon used to churn Duncan Hines cake batter. With any luck, Tosi will do for these truffles what Ben & Jerry’s did for cookie dough, which is to bring delicious mass-market legitimacy to a sneaky childhood snack.

It is possible to eat a treat at Milk Bar that doesn’t claim to taste like a birthday. Be sure to try the corn truffles, with an assertively salty and vegetal corn exterior that gives way to a soft, concentrated caramel core. The chocolate cookies flaunt a wicked sweet-salty balance, while a strawberry Milkquake uses pickled strawberry syrup to bring a bit of fragrant and tart contrast to the frozen treat.

Still, it’s hard to shake all the birthday ignominies — not to mention the questionable Milk Bar pie latte, slightly stale Compost Cookie, or corn cookie with little corn flavor. The infinite iterations suggest the creative process there is fueled by corporate-style replication rather than a smart gastronomic sensibility. It’s as if Tosi saw all the folks making silly cragels and cretzels after Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut and declared, “the dude should have invented all those spin-offs himself.” This doesn’t feel like the experimental Milk Bar that injected playful soul into New York neighborhoods. This feels like a Tao Group bakery or Black Tap cribbing from the Milk Bar playbook.


Milk Bar’s New Flagship Is All Sugar, No Soul

Most good bakeries don’t carry Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This makes sense, as ambitious venues generally prefer to nourish with their own homemade fare. And yet these confections, along with pouches of Big League Chew, are among the first things one might encounter at Milk Bar’s newest and most corporate New York location, inside the Ace Hotel in Nomad.

A certain logic underlies the presence of these candies. Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, whose success and TV exposure has turned her into one of the country’s most recognizable culinary figures, has a track record of branding her populist creations, complete with registered trademarks. One thinks of Compost Cookies®, a kitchen-sink snack made with coffee grounds and pretzels, and soft serve Milkquakes™, a topping-laden riff on the Dairy Queen blizzard.

An arcade-style claw machine labelled Milk Bar

And now, Milk Bar sells something called Cerealsies™, gumdrop-sized candies of flavored white chocolate surrounding little bites of cereal. The excellent green ones taste like an Andes mint chocolate crossed with malted milk balls, while the dusty cinnamon variety packs a stronger crunch, employing a pleasantly bitter version of the spice.

They’re all packaged in handsome matte bags, sitting above those Reese’s and stacks of Sugar Daddies and M&Ms. What was once a cool East Village hangout peddling egg sandwiches alongside cereal-flavored milk has become a national chain with shiny flagships in Melrose, Los Angeles Washington, D.C. and here, in Manhattan.

The Cerealsies and their neighboring pre-packed goods are Milk Bar’s way of saying it belongs in the same space as every major candy manufacturer out there. And maybe it does. But Tosi needs to make sure that the commercialism and the eerily hovering™ superscripts — which pepper the menu like edits from an intellectual property lawyer — don’t eat away at the soul of her bakery.

Cerealsies at the mini-mart kiosk at Milk Bar

Tosi has always been a nontraditional chef. Rather than follow in prevailing European pastry traditions, the Northern Virginia native channels 1980s suburban nostalgia and a love for junk food into balanced, salty, multi-textured sweets. If there is a croissant on the menu, chances are it will be a “Thanksgiving” croissant stuffed with turkey and cranberry sauce. If there is soft serve, it will likely be Cereal Milk, a dairy product — almost more savory than sweet — that tastes like it came from a fictional cow raised on Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. And if there are golf ball-sized truffles piled up on the counter, their flavor might be “birthday” (or “b’day,” in Tosi talk) the soft bites evoke the flavor of moist vanilla cake mix.

Milk Bar is like Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” (1943), except with cameos from the Keebler Elves, Ferris Bueller, Molly Ringwald, and a horribly stoned Tony the Tiger.

What to Actually Try at the Milk Bar Flagship

Cereal Milk: Best sampled either as cool soft serve ($5.50) or as actual sweet-salty milk the latter is off-menu but available.

Peppermint snaps: A chocolate wafer layered with caramel and pretzels, dipped in white chocolate peppermint bark each flavor comes through clearly without devolving into heavy sweetness (seasonal).

Birthday cake or corn truffles: Small snacky bites flavored like vanilla cake or vegetal corn and caramel. Eat them cold ($2.25).

Apple pie soft serve (vegan): The texture is a bit thin, but it packs a wallop of cider flavor ($5.50).

Cerealsies: Try the spicy cinnamon-sugar spheres or the Andes-like mint variety ($4.00). Avoid the birthday flavor.

Milk Bar pie: A riff on chess pie that tames buttery, sugary goodness with an oat crust ($6).

Strawberry corn Milkquake: A slightly soupy mix of Cereal Milk soft serve with fragrant pickled strawberries and salty cake bites ($6).

Chocolate cookies: Underbaked (like most of Tosi’s cookies), but with enough chocolate and salt to counterbalance the sugars ($2.75).

Anyone who’s ever encountered a bagel bite at a coffee chain, “Fruit Loop”-flavored ice cream at a grocery store, or unironic funfetti desserts can send Tosi a thank-you note. Milk Bar’s influence is nothing less than immense.

The new flagship Milk Bar, alas, is very different from the older neighborhood outposts. If a West Village Milk Bar is a bare-bones storefront with a leaner menu, this one is designed to vacuum up tourists with snap bracelets, plastic jump ropes, souvenir bandanas, pink-lettered cigarette lighters, and a longer bill of fare, including Milkquakes and Bagel Bombs (both no longer available at the smaller stores), specials, and occasional brand “partnerships.”

Tosi has compared the 4,000-square-foot space to a daytime “slumber party,” while the venue flaunts a high school cafeteria vibe, replete with plastic trays and communal benches. Children sometimes fill the room, pressing their faces against the sneeze guard glass for custom 8-inch cookies ($40) or bespoke cakes ($65), all with Milk Bar’s famously unfinished exteriors.

But as the burgeoning chain standardizes its production line, birthday-flavored items — indulgences laced with sprinkles and scented with a strain of vanilla that’s more candy store than creme brulee — now occupy a frightening portion of the flagship menu. The bulk of these delectables do not exhibit Tosi’s knack for reinventing classic snacks with unexpected doses of salt and crunch they serve instead as an Avengers-style study in self-reference and duplication.

A triangle slice of birthday crumb-studded cookie cake mimics the sensation of eating crystallized frosting by the mouthful, while the sludge-like birthday shake conveys the feeling of sucking up that same frosting through a straw and chasing it with musty sprinkle dust. A birthday latte tastes like what would happen if a barista accidentally poured half a cup of artificial vanilla syrup into milk-colored hot water and forgot to add coffee. Confetti cookies don’t fare much better, nor do (cold, dry) slices of birthday cake or birthday Cerealsies, whose noxious dairy punch recalls a waxy, petrified version of astronaut ice cream.

The shiny interior at Milk Bar

Vegan apple pie soft serve at Milk Bar

The only surefire birthday order is the plain truffles, a version of the original that can be found at smaller Milk Bar outposts. They are cold and vaguely creamy, with a flavor that’s like licking a spoon used to churn Duncan Hines cake batter. With any luck, Tosi will do for these truffles what Ben & Jerry’s did for cookie dough, which is to bring delicious mass-market legitimacy to a sneaky childhood snack.

It is possible to eat a treat at Milk Bar that doesn’t claim to taste like a birthday. Be sure to try the corn truffles, with an assertively salty and vegetal corn exterior that gives way to a soft, concentrated caramel core. The chocolate cookies flaunt a wicked sweet-salty balance, while a strawberry Milkquake uses pickled strawberry syrup to bring a bit of fragrant and tart contrast to the frozen treat.

Still, it’s hard to shake all the birthday ignominies — not to mention the questionable Milk Bar pie latte, slightly stale Compost Cookie, or corn cookie with little corn flavor. The infinite iterations suggest the creative process there is fueled by corporate-style replication rather than a smart gastronomic sensibility. It’s as if Tosi saw all the folks making silly cragels and cretzels after Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut and declared, “the dude should have invented all those spin-offs himself.” This doesn’t feel like the experimental Milk Bar that injected playful soul into New York neighborhoods. This feels like a Tao Group bakery or Black Tap cribbing from the Milk Bar playbook.


Milk Bar’s New Flagship Is All Sugar, No Soul

Most good bakeries don’t carry Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This makes sense, as ambitious venues generally prefer to nourish with their own homemade fare. And yet these confections, along with pouches of Big League Chew, are among the first things one might encounter at Milk Bar’s newest and most corporate New York location, inside the Ace Hotel in Nomad.

A certain logic underlies the presence of these candies. Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, whose success and TV exposure has turned her into one of the country’s most recognizable culinary figures, has a track record of branding her populist creations, complete with registered trademarks. One thinks of Compost Cookies®, a kitchen-sink snack made with coffee grounds and pretzels, and soft serve Milkquakes™, a topping-laden riff on the Dairy Queen blizzard.

An arcade-style claw machine labelled Milk Bar

And now, Milk Bar sells something called Cerealsies™, gumdrop-sized candies of flavored white chocolate surrounding little bites of cereal. The excellent green ones taste like an Andes mint chocolate crossed with malted milk balls, while the dusty cinnamon variety packs a stronger crunch, employing a pleasantly bitter version of the spice.

They’re all packaged in handsome matte bags, sitting above those Reese’s and stacks of Sugar Daddies and M&Ms. What was once a cool East Village hangout peddling egg sandwiches alongside cereal-flavored milk has become a national chain with shiny flagships in Melrose, Los Angeles Washington, D.C. and here, in Manhattan.

The Cerealsies and their neighboring pre-packed goods are Milk Bar’s way of saying it belongs in the same space as every major candy manufacturer out there. And maybe it does. But Tosi needs to make sure that the commercialism and the eerily hovering™ superscripts — which pepper the menu like edits from an intellectual property lawyer — don’t eat away at the soul of her bakery.

Cerealsies at the mini-mart kiosk at Milk Bar

Tosi has always been a nontraditional chef. Rather than follow in prevailing European pastry traditions, the Northern Virginia native channels 1980s suburban nostalgia and a love for junk food into balanced, salty, multi-textured sweets. If there is a croissant on the menu, chances are it will be a “Thanksgiving” croissant stuffed with turkey and cranberry sauce. If there is soft serve, it will likely be Cereal Milk, a dairy product — almost more savory than sweet — that tastes like it came from a fictional cow raised on Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. And if there are golf ball-sized truffles piled up on the counter, their flavor might be “birthday” (or “b’day,” in Tosi talk) the soft bites evoke the flavor of moist vanilla cake mix.

Milk Bar is like Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” (1943), except with cameos from the Keebler Elves, Ferris Bueller, Molly Ringwald, and a horribly stoned Tony the Tiger.

What to Actually Try at the Milk Bar Flagship

Cereal Milk: Best sampled either as cool soft serve ($5.50) or as actual sweet-salty milk the latter is off-menu but available.

Peppermint snaps: A chocolate wafer layered with caramel and pretzels, dipped in white chocolate peppermint bark each flavor comes through clearly without devolving into heavy sweetness (seasonal).

Birthday cake or corn truffles: Small snacky bites flavored like vanilla cake or vegetal corn and caramel. Eat them cold ($2.25).

Apple pie soft serve (vegan): The texture is a bit thin, but it packs a wallop of cider flavor ($5.50).

Cerealsies: Try the spicy cinnamon-sugar spheres or the Andes-like mint variety ($4.00). Avoid the birthday flavor.

Milk Bar pie: A riff on chess pie that tames buttery, sugary goodness with an oat crust ($6).

Strawberry corn Milkquake: A slightly soupy mix of Cereal Milk soft serve with fragrant pickled strawberries and salty cake bites ($6).

Chocolate cookies: Underbaked (like most of Tosi’s cookies), but with enough chocolate and salt to counterbalance the sugars ($2.75).

Anyone who’s ever encountered a bagel bite at a coffee chain, “Fruit Loop”-flavored ice cream at a grocery store, or unironic funfetti desserts can send Tosi a thank-you note. Milk Bar’s influence is nothing less than immense.

The new flagship Milk Bar, alas, is very different from the older neighborhood outposts. If a West Village Milk Bar is a bare-bones storefront with a leaner menu, this one is designed to vacuum up tourists with snap bracelets, plastic jump ropes, souvenir bandanas, pink-lettered cigarette lighters, and a longer bill of fare, including Milkquakes and Bagel Bombs (both no longer available at the smaller stores), specials, and occasional brand “partnerships.”

Tosi has compared the 4,000-square-foot space to a daytime “slumber party,” while the venue flaunts a high school cafeteria vibe, replete with plastic trays and communal benches. Children sometimes fill the room, pressing their faces against the sneeze guard glass for custom 8-inch cookies ($40) or bespoke cakes ($65), all with Milk Bar’s famously unfinished exteriors.

But as the burgeoning chain standardizes its production line, birthday-flavored items — indulgences laced with sprinkles and scented with a strain of vanilla that’s more candy store than creme brulee — now occupy a frightening portion of the flagship menu. The bulk of these delectables do not exhibit Tosi’s knack for reinventing classic snacks with unexpected doses of salt and crunch they serve instead as an Avengers-style study in self-reference and duplication.

A triangle slice of birthday crumb-studded cookie cake mimics the sensation of eating crystallized frosting by the mouthful, while the sludge-like birthday shake conveys the feeling of sucking up that same frosting through a straw and chasing it with musty sprinkle dust. A birthday latte tastes like what would happen if a barista accidentally poured half a cup of artificial vanilla syrup into milk-colored hot water and forgot to add coffee. Confetti cookies don’t fare much better, nor do (cold, dry) slices of birthday cake or birthday Cerealsies, whose noxious dairy punch recalls a waxy, petrified version of astronaut ice cream.

The shiny interior at Milk Bar

Vegan apple pie soft serve at Milk Bar

The only surefire birthday order is the plain truffles, a version of the original that can be found at smaller Milk Bar outposts. They are cold and vaguely creamy, with a flavor that’s like licking a spoon used to churn Duncan Hines cake batter. With any luck, Tosi will do for these truffles what Ben & Jerry’s did for cookie dough, which is to bring delicious mass-market legitimacy to a sneaky childhood snack.

It is possible to eat a treat at Milk Bar that doesn’t claim to taste like a birthday. Be sure to try the corn truffles, with an assertively salty and vegetal corn exterior that gives way to a soft, concentrated caramel core. The chocolate cookies flaunt a wicked sweet-salty balance, while a strawberry Milkquake uses pickled strawberry syrup to bring a bit of fragrant and tart contrast to the frozen treat.

Still, it’s hard to shake all the birthday ignominies — not to mention the questionable Milk Bar pie latte, slightly stale Compost Cookie, or corn cookie with little corn flavor. The infinite iterations suggest the creative process there is fueled by corporate-style replication rather than a smart gastronomic sensibility. It’s as if Tosi saw all the folks making silly cragels and cretzels after Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut and declared, “the dude should have invented all those spin-offs himself.” This doesn’t feel like the experimental Milk Bar that injected playful soul into New York neighborhoods. This feels like a Tao Group bakery or Black Tap cribbing from the Milk Bar playbook.


Milk Bar’s New Flagship Is All Sugar, No Soul

Most good bakeries don’t carry Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This makes sense, as ambitious venues generally prefer to nourish with their own homemade fare. And yet these confections, along with pouches of Big League Chew, are among the first things one might encounter at Milk Bar’s newest and most corporate New York location, inside the Ace Hotel in Nomad.

A certain logic underlies the presence of these candies. Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, whose success and TV exposure has turned her into one of the country’s most recognizable culinary figures, has a track record of branding her populist creations, complete with registered trademarks. One thinks of Compost Cookies®, a kitchen-sink snack made with coffee grounds and pretzels, and soft serve Milkquakes™, a topping-laden riff on the Dairy Queen blizzard.

An arcade-style claw machine labelled Milk Bar

And now, Milk Bar sells something called Cerealsies™, gumdrop-sized candies of flavored white chocolate surrounding little bites of cereal. The excellent green ones taste like an Andes mint chocolate crossed with malted milk balls, while the dusty cinnamon variety packs a stronger crunch, employing a pleasantly bitter version of the spice.

They’re all packaged in handsome matte bags, sitting above those Reese’s and stacks of Sugar Daddies and M&Ms. What was once a cool East Village hangout peddling egg sandwiches alongside cereal-flavored milk has become a national chain with shiny flagships in Melrose, Los Angeles Washington, D.C. and here, in Manhattan.

The Cerealsies and their neighboring pre-packed goods are Milk Bar’s way of saying it belongs in the same space as every major candy manufacturer out there. And maybe it does. But Tosi needs to make sure that the commercialism and the eerily hovering™ superscripts — which pepper the menu like edits from an intellectual property lawyer — don’t eat away at the soul of her bakery.

Cerealsies at the mini-mart kiosk at Milk Bar

Tosi has always been a nontraditional chef. Rather than follow in prevailing European pastry traditions, the Northern Virginia native channels 1980s suburban nostalgia and a love for junk food into balanced, salty, multi-textured sweets. If there is a croissant on the menu, chances are it will be a “Thanksgiving” croissant stuffed with turkey and cranberry sauce. If there is soft serve, it will likely be Cereal Milk, a dairy product — almost more savory than sweet — that tastes like it came from a fictional cow raised on Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. And if there are golf ball-sized truffles piled up on the counter, their flavor might be “birthday” (or “b’day,” in Tosi talk) the soft bites evoke the flavor of moist vanilla cake mix.

Milk Bar is like Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” (1943), except with cameos from the Keebler Elves, Ferris Bueller, Molly Ringwald, and a horribly stoned Tony the Tiger.

What to Actually Try at the Milk Bar Flagship

Cereal Milk: Best sampled either as cool soft serve ($5.50) or as actual sweet-salty milk the latter is off-menu but available.

Peppermint snaps: A chocolate wafer layered with caramel and pretzels, dipped in white chocolate peppermint bark each flavor comes through clearly without devolving into heavy sweetness (seasonal).

Birthday cake or corn truffles: Small snacky bites flavored like vanilla cake or vegetal corn and caramel. Eat them cold ($2.25).

Apple pie soft serve (vegan): The texture is a bit thin, but it packs a wallop of cider flavor ($5.50).

Cerealsies: Try the spicy cinnamon-sugar spheres or the Andes-like mint variety ($4.00). Avoid the birthday flavor.

Milk Bar pie: A riff on chess pie that tames buttery, sugary goodness with an oat crust ($6).

Strawberry corn Milkquake: A slightly soupy mix of Cereal Milk soft serve with fragrant pickled strawberries and salty cake bites ($6).

Chocolate cookies: Underbaked (like most of Tosi’s cookies), but with enough chocolate and salt to counterbalance the sugars ($2.75).

Anyone who’s ever encountered a bagel bite at a coffee chain, “Fruit Loop”-flavored ice cream at a grocery store, or unironic funfetti desserts can send Tosi a thank-you note. Milk Bar’s influence is nothing less than immense.

The new flagship Milk Bar, alas, is very different from the older neighborhood outposts. If a West Village Milk Bar is a bare-bones storefront with a leaner menu, this one is designed to vacuum up tourists with snap bracelets, plastic jump ropes, souvenir bandanas, pink-lettered cigarette lighters, and a longer bill of fare, including Milkquakes and Bagel Bombs (both no longer available at the smaller stores), specials, and occasional brand “partnerships.”

Tosi has compared the 4,000-square-foot space to a daytime “slumber party,” while the venue flaunts a high school cafeteria vibe, replete with plastic trays and communal benches. Children sometimes fill the room, pressing their faces against the sneeze guard glass for custom 8-inch cookies ($40) or bespoke cakes ($65), all with Milk Bar’s famously unfinished exteriors.

But as the burgeoning chain standardizes its production line, birthday-flavored items — indulgences laced with sprinkles and scented with a strain of vanilla that’s more candy store than creme brulee — now occupy a frightening portion of the flagship menu. The bulk of these delectables do not exhibit Tosi’s knack for reinventing classic snacks with unexpected doses of salt and crunch they serve instead as an Avengers-style study in self-reference and duplication.

A triangle slice of birthday crumb-studded cookie cake mimics the sensation of eating crystallized frosting by the mouthful, while the sludge-like birthday shake conveys the feeling of sucking up that same frosting through a straw and chasing it with musty sprinkle dust. A birthday latte tastes like what would happen if a barista accidentally poured half a cup of artificial vanilla syrup into milk-colored hot water and forgot to add coffee. Confetti cookies don’t fare much better, nor do (cold, dry) slices of birthday cake or birthday Cerealsies, whose noxious dairy punch recalls a waxy, petrified version of astronaut ice cream.

The shiny interior at Milk Bar

Vegan apple pie soft serve at Milk Bar

The only surefire birthday order is the plain truffles, a version of the original that can be found at smaller Milk Bar outposts. They are cold and vaguely creamy, with a flavor that’s like licking a spoon used to churn Duncan Hines cake batter. With any luck, Tosi will do for these truffles what Ben & Jerry’s did for cookie dough, which is to bring delicious mass-market legitimacy to a sneaky childhood snack.

It is possible to eat a treat at Milk Bar that doesn’t claim to taste like a birthday. Be sure to try the corn truffles, with an assertively salty and vegetal corn exterior that gives way to a soft, concentrated caramel core. The chocolate cookies flaunt a wicked sweet-salty balance, while a strawberry Milkquake uses pickled strawberry syrup to bring a bit of fragrant and tart contrast to the frozen treat.

Still, it’s hard to shake all the birthday ignominies — not to mention the questionable Milk Bar pie latte, slightly stale Compost Cookie, or corn cookie with little corn flavor. The infinite iterations suggest the creative process there is fueled by corporate-style replication rather than a smart gastronomic sensibility. It’s as if Tosi saw all the folks making silly cragels and cretzels after Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut and declared, “the dude should have invented all those spin-offs himself.” This doesn’t feel like the experimental Milk Bar that injected playful soul into New York neighborhoods. This feels like a Tao Group bakery or Black Tap cribbing from the Milk Bar playbook.


Milk Bar’s New Flagship Is All Sugar, No Soul

Most good bakeries don’t carry Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This makes sense, as ambitious venues generally prefer to nourish with their own homemade fare. And yet these confections, along with pouches of Big League Chew, are among the first things one might encounter at Milk Bar’s newest and most corporate New York location, inside the Ace Hotel in Nomad.

A certain logic underlies the presence of these candies. Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, whose success and TV exposure has turned her into one of the country’s most recognizable culinary figures, has a track record of branding her populist creations, complete with registered trademarks. One thinks of Compost Cookies®, a kitchen-sink snack made with coffee grounds and pretzels, and soft serve Milkquakes™, a topping-laden riff on the Dairy Queen blizzard.

An arcade-style claw machine labelled Milk Bar

And now, Milk Bar sells something called Cerealsies™, gumdrop-sized candies of flavored white chocolate surrounding little bites of cereal. The excellent green ones taste like an Andes mint chocolate crossed with malted milk balls, while the dusty cinnamon variety packs a stronger crunch, employing a pleasantly bitter version of the spice.

They’re all packaged in handsome matte bags, sitting above those Reese’s and stacks of Sugar Daddies and M&Ms. What was once a cool East Village hangout peddling egg sandwiches alongside cereal-flavored milk has become a national chain with shiny flagships in Melrose, Los Angeles Washington, D.C. and here, in Manhattan.

The Cerealsies and their neighboring pre-packed goods are Milk Bar’s way of saying it belongs in the same space as every major candy manufacturer out there. And maybe it does. But Tosi needs to make sure that the commercialism and the eerily hovering™ superscripts — which pepper the menu like edits from an intellectual property lawyer — don’t eat away at the soul of her bakery.

Cerealsies at the mini-mart kiosk at Milk Bar

Tosi has always been a nontraditional chef. Rather than follow in prevailing European pastry traditions, the Northern Virginia native channels 1980s suburban nostalgia and a love for junk food into balanced, salty, multi-textured sweets. If there is a croissant on the menu, chances are it will be a “Thanksgiving” croissant stuffed with turkey and cranberry sauce. If there is soft serve, it will likely be Cereal Milk, a dairy product — almost more savory than sweet — that tastes like it came from a fictional cow raised on Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. And if there are golf ball-sized truffles piled up on the counter, their flavor might be “birthday” (or “b’day,” in Tosi talk) the soft bites evoke the flavor of moist vanilla cake mix.

Milk Bar is like Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” (1943), except with cameos from the Keebler Elves, Ferris Bueller, Molly Ringwald, and a horribly stoned Tony the Tiger.

What to Actually Try at the Milk Bar Flagship

Cereal Milk: Best sampled either as cool soft serve ($5.50) or as actual sweet-salty milk the latter is off-menu but available.

Peppermint snaps: A chocolate wafer layered with caramel and pretzels, dipped in white chocolate peppermint bark each flavor comes through clearly without devolving into heavy sweetness (seasonal).

Birthday cake or corn truffles: Small snacky bites flavored like vanilla cake or vegetal corn and caramel. Eat them cold ($2.25).

Apple pie soft serve (vegan): The texture is a bit thin, but it packs a wallop of cider flavor ($5.50).

Cerealsies: Try the spicy cinnamon-sugar spheres or the Andes-like mint variety ($4.00). Avoid the birthday flavor.

Milk Bar pie: A riff on chess pie that tames buttery, sugary goodness with an oat crust ($6).

Strawberry corn Milkquake: A slightly soupy mix of Cereal Milk soft serve with fragrant pickled strawberries and salty cake bites ($6).

Chocolate cookies: Underbaked (like most of Tosi’s cookies), but with enough chocolate and salt to counterbalance the sugars ($2.75).

Anyone who’s ever encountered a bagel bite at a coffee chain, “Fruit Loop”-flavored ice cream at a grocery store, or unironic funfetti desserts can send Tosi a thank-you note. Milk Bar’s influence is nothing less than immense.

The new flagship Milk Bar, alas, is very different from the older neighborhood outposts. If a West Village Milk Bar is a bare-bones storefront with a leaner menu, this one is designed to vacuum up tourists with snap bracelets, plastic jump ropes, souvenir bandanas, pink-lettered cigarette lighters, and a longer bill of fare, including Milkquakes and Bagel Bombs (both no longer available at the smaller stores), specials, and occasional brand “partnerships.”

Tosi has compared the 4,000-square-foot space to a daytime “slumber party,” while the venue flaunts a high school cafeteria vibe, replete with plastic trays and communal benches. Children sometimes fill the room, pressing their faces against the sneeze guard glass for custom 8-inch cookies ($40) or bespoke cakes ($65), all with Milk Bar’s famously unfinished exteriors.

But as the burgeoning chain standardizes its production line, birthday-flavored items — indulgences laced with sprinkles and scented with a strain of vanilla that’s more candy store than creme brulee — now occupy a frightening portion of the flagship menu. The bulk of these delectables do not exhibit Tosi’s knack for reinventing classic snacks with unexpected doses of salt and crunch they serve instead as an Avengers-style study in self-reference and duplication.

A triangle slice of birthday crumb-studded cookie cake mimics the sensation of eating crystallized frosting by the mouthful, while the sludge-like birthday shake conveys the feeling of sucking up that same frosting through a straw and chasing it with musty sprinkle dust. A birthday latte tastes like what would happen if a barista accidentally poured half a cup of artificial vanilla syrup into milk-colored hot water and forgot to add coffee. Confetti cookies don’t fare much better, nor do (cold, dry) slices of birthday cake or birthday Cerealsies, whose noxious dairy punch recalls a waxy, petrified version of astronaut ice cream.

The shiny interior at Milk Bar

Vegan apple pie soft serve at Milk Bar

The only surefire birthday order is the plain truffles, a version of the original that can be found at smaller Milk Bar outposts. They are cold and vaguely creamy, with a flavor that’s like licking a spoon used to churn Duncan Hines cake batter. With any luck, Tosi will do for these truffles what Ben & Jerry’s did for cookie dough, which is to bring delicious mass-market legitimacy to a sneaky childhood snack.

It is possible to eat a treat at Milk Bar that doesn’t claim to taste like a birthday. Be sure to try the corn truffles, with an assertively salty and vegetal corn exterior that gives way to a soft, concentrated caramel core. The chocolate cookies flaunt a wicked sweet-salty balance, while a strawberry Milkquake uses pickled strawberry syrup to bring a bit of fragrant and tart contrast to the frozen treat.

Still, it’s hard to shake all the birthday ignominies — not to mention the questionable Milk Bar pie latte, slightly stale Compost Cookie, or corn cookie with little corn flavor. The infinite iterations suggest the creative process there is fueled by corporate-style replication rather than a smart gastronomic sensibility. It’s as if Tosi saw all the folks making silly cragels and cretzels after Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut and declared, “the dude should have invented all those spin-offs himself.” This doesn’t feel like the experimental Milk Bar that injected playful soul into New York neighborhoods. This feels like a Tao Group bakery or Black Tap cribbing from the Milk Bar playbook.


Milk Bar’s New Flagship Is All Sugar, No Soul

Most good bakeries don’t carry Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This makes sense, as ambitious venues generally prefer to nourish with their own homemade fare. And yet these confections, along with pouches of Big League Chew, are among the first things one might encounter at Milk Bar’s newest and most corporate New York location, inside the Ace Hotel in Nomad.

A certain logic underlies the presence of these candies. Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, whose success and TV exposure has turned her into one of the country’s most recognizable culinary figures, has a track record of branding her populist creations, complete with registered trademarks. One thinks of Compost Cookies®, a kitchen-sink snack made with coffee grounds and pretzels, and soft serve Milkquakes™, a topping-laden riff on the Dairy Queen blizzard.

An arcade-style claw machine labelled Milk Bar

And now, Milk Bar sells something called Cerealsies™, gumdrop-sized candies of flavored white chocolate surrounding little bites of cereal. The excellent green ones taste like an Andes mint chocolate crossed with malted milk balls, while the dusty cinnamon variety packs a stronger crunch, employing a pleasantly bitter version of the spice.

They’re all packaged in handsome matte bags, sitting above those Reese’s and stacks of Sugar Daddies and M&Ms. What was once a cool East Village hangout peddling egg sandwiches alongside cereal-flavored milk has become a national chain with shiny flagships in Melrose, Los Angeles Washington, D.C. and here, in Manhattan.

The Cerealsies and their neighboring pre-packed goods are Milk Bar’s way of saying it belongs in the same space as every major candy manufacturer out there. And maybe it does. But Tosi needs to make sure that the commercialism and the eerily hovering™ superscripts — which pepper the menu like edits from an intellectual property lawyer — don’t eat away at the soul of her bakery.

Cerealsies at the mini-mart kiosk at Milk Bar

Tosi has always been a nontraditional chef. Rather than follow in prevailing European pastry traditions, the Northern Virginia native channels 1980s suburban nostalgia and a love for junk food into balanced, salty, multi-textured sweets. If there is a croissant on the menu, chances are it will be a “Thanksgiving” croissant stuffed with turkey and cranberry sauce. If there is soft serve, it will likely be Cereal Milk, a dairy product — almost more savory than sweet — that tastes like it came from a fictional cow raised on Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. And if there are golf ball-sized truffles piled up on the counter, their flavor might be “birthday” (or “b’day,” in Tosi talk) the soft bites evoke the flavor of moist vanilla cake mix.

Milk Bar is like Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” (1943), except with cameos from the Keebler Elves, Ferris Bueller, Molly Ringwald, and a horribly stoned Tony the Tiger.

What to Actually Try at the Milk Bar Flagship

Cereal Milk: Best sampled either as cool soft serve ($5.50) or as actual sweet-salty milk the latter is off-menu but available.

Peppermint snaps: A chocolate wafer layered with caramel and pretzels, dipped in white chocolate peppermint bark each flavor comes through clearly without devolving into heavy sweetness (seasonal).

Birthday cake or corn truffles: Small snacky bites flavored like vanilla cake or vegetal corn and caramel. Eat them cold ($2.25).

Apple pie soft serve (vegan): The texture is a bit thin, but it packs a wallop of cider flavor ($5.50).

Cerealsies: Try the spicy cinnamon-sugar spheres or the Andes-like mint variety ($4.00). Avoid the birthday flavor.

Milk Bar pie: A riff on chess pie that tames buttery, sugary goodness with an oat crust ($6).

Strawberry corn Milkquake: A slightly soupy mix of Cereal Milk soft serve with fragrant pickled strawberries and salty cake bites ($6).

Chocolate cookies: Underbaked (like most of Tosi’s cookies), but with enough chocolate and salt to counterbalance the sugars ($2.75).

Anyone who’s ever encountered a bagel bite at a coffee chain, “Fruit Loop”-flavored ice cream at a grocery store, or unironic funfetti desserts can send Tosi a thank-you note. Milk Bar’s influence is nothing less than immense.

The new flagship Milk Bar, alas, is very different from the older neighborhood outposts. If a West Village Milk Bar is a bare-bones storefront with a leaner menu, this one is designed to vacuum up tourists with snap bracelets, plastic jump ropes, souvenir bandanas, pink-lettered cigarette lighters, and a longer bill of fare, including Milkquakes and Bagel Bombs (both no longer available at the smaller stores), specials, and occasional brand “partnerships.”

Tosi has compared the 4,000-square-foot space to a daytime “slumber party,” while the venue flaunts a high school cafeteria vibe, replete with plastic trays and communal benches. Children sometimes fill the room, pressing their faces against the sneeze guard glass for custom 8-inch cookies ($40) or bespoke cakes ($65), all with Milk Bar’s famously unfinished exteriors.

But as the burgeoning chain standardizes its production line, birthday-flavored items — indulgences laced with sprinkles and scented with a strain of vanilla that’s more candy store than creme brulee — now occupy a frightening portion of the flagship menu. The bulk of these delectables do not exhibit Tosi’s knack for reinventing classic snacks with unexpected doses of salt and crunch they serve instead as an Avengers-style study in self-reference and duplication.

A triangle slice of birthday crumb-studded cookie cake mimics the sensation of eating crystallized frosting by the mouthful, while the sludge-like birthday shake conveys the feeling of sucking up that same frosting through a straw and chasing it with musty sprinkle dust. A birthday latte tastes like what would happen if a barista accidentally poured half a cup of artificial vanilla syrup into milk-colored hot water and forgot to add coffee. Confetti cookies don’t fare much better, nor do (cold, dry) slices of birthday cake or birthday Cerealsies, whose noxious dairy punch recalls a waxy, petrified version of astronaut ice cream.

The shiny interior at Milk Bar

Vegan apple pie soft serve at Milk Bar

The only surefire birthday order is the plain truffles, a version of the original that can be found at smaller Milk Bar outposts. They are cold and vaguely creamy, with a flavor that’s like licking a spoon used to churn Duncan Hines cake batter. With any luck, Tosi will do for these truffles what Ben & Jerry’s did for cookie dough, which is to bring delicious mass-market legitimacy to a sneaky childhood snack.

It is possible to eat a treat at Milk Bar that doesn’t claim to taste like a birthday. Be sure to try the corn truffles, with an assertively salty and vegetal corn exterior that gives way to a soft, concentrated caramel core. The chocolate cookies flaunt a wicked sweet-salty balance, while a strawberry Milkquake uses pickled strawberry syrup to bring a bit of fragrant and tart contrast to the frozen treat.

Still, it’s hard to shake all the birthday ignominies — not to mention the questionable Milk Bar pie latte, slightly stale Compost Cookie, or corn cookie with little corn flavor. The infinite iterations suggest the creative process there is fueled by corporate-style replication rather than a smart gastronomic sensibility. It’s as if Tosi saw all the folks making silly cragels and cretzels after Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut and declared, “the dude should have invented all those spin-offs himself.” This doesn’t feel like the experimental Milk Bar that injected playful soul into New York neighborhoods. This feels like a Tao Group bakery or Black Tap cribbing from the Milk Bar playbook.


Watch the video: How Milk Bar develops new cakes (December 2021).