December 19, 2023

Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar Pie Bars

Recipe: Christina Tosi

“Warm and sweet creaminess is what I long for most when I reach for dessert, and these golden cookie bars deliver it big time. Based on Milk Bar’s iconic pie, these squares start with an oat cookie crust that gets layered up with a gooey, buttery batter that pushes the limits of what a pie filling can do.”


Toasted Oat Crust

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1½ tbsp sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Pinch baking powder

Gooey Butter Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbsp milk powder*
  • 1 tsp corn powder**
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 12 tbsp (1½ sticks) unsalted
  • butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

* I don’t recommend making this recipe without it — it adds a depth and chew that
is essential!

** If you don’t have freeze-dried corn (and therefore can’t make corn powder), substitute with corn flour, all-purpose flour, or anything flavourful you can grind down. It’s not exactly the same, but likely only you will know the difference.


Yield: Makes 12 Bars

Make Crust

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8″ x 8″ square baking dish.
  2. In large bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar and sugar with spatula, until well combined. Mix in egg and stir until well combined, scraping down sides of bowl as you go. Add oats, flour, salt and baking powder, and mix just until combined. Pour mixture into greased baking dish and use spatula to evenly spread mixture, fully covering dish’s bottom.
  3. Bake at 350°F until edges of crust are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool at room temperature for 10 minutes. Leave oven on.

Make Filling and Bake

  1. In large bowl, whisk together sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder and salt. Whisk in melted butter, vanilla and egg yolks, and stir until smooth. Try not to aerate batter; mix slowly and gently. Pour mixture on top of oat crust, spreading evenly to all sides of baking dish, covering bottom layer entirely.
  2. Bake at 350°F until top and edges are golden brown and bull’s-eye centre is still a bit jiggly, about 25 minutes. While baking, make room in freezer for baking dish.

Cool Bars and Serve

  1. Remove from oven and transfer pan to freezer to cool completely. This not only cools down the greatest bite you might ever bake, but also ensures all steam pockets subside. The result is a dense and gooey bar cookie, which is also much easier to portion when frozen.
  2. Cut into 12 squares. Store in airtight container or plastic-wrapped on counter for up to 5 days, or in fridge for up to 2 weeks. Feel free to hide in freezer; no one will go looking there (wink).

Angus Fergusson


Christina’s recipes are excerpted from All About Cookies: A Milk Bar Baking Book by Christina Tosi. Penguin Random House, 2022, $47.


Food styling by Ashley Denton