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Liam’s #toughcookie Truffles by Christina Tosi

Christina Tosi, Chef/Owner of Milk Bar, is a long-time supporter of Cookies for Kids' Cancer and friend of OXO. She shared her recipe for Liam's #toughcookie Truffle, which was inspired by Liam Witt and is featured in her latest book, All About Cake.

7 min read

Liam's #toughcookie Truffles

Makes about 30 1-ounce cake truffles


1 recipe vanilla cake (recipe below)
1 recipe creamsicle soak (recipe below)
1 recipe white chocolate coating (recipe below)
1 recipe creamsicle sand (recipe below)


1. Combine the cake scraps and half of the creamsicle soak in a medium sized bowl and toss with your hands until moist enough to knead into a ball. if it is not moist enough to do so, add the rest of the creamsicle soak and knead it in.
2. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop 30 even balls, each half the size of a ping-pong ball. roll each one between the palms of your hands to shape and smooth it into a round sphere.
3. With latex gloves on, put 2 tablespoons of the white chocolate in the palm of your hand and roll each ball between your palms, coating it in a thin layer of melted chocolate; add more chocolate as needed.
4. Put 3 or 4 chocolate-covered balls at a time into the bowl of creamsicle sand. immediately toss them with the sand to coat, before the chocolate shell sets and no longer acts as a glue (if this happens, just coat the ball in another thin layer of melted chocolate).
5. Refrigerate for at least 5 minutes to fully set the chocolate shells before eating or storing. in an airtight container, the truffles will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge.

Vanilla Cake

Makes 1 quarter sheet pan


115 g unsalted butter, at room temperature (8 tablespoons or 1 stick)
250 g granulated sugar (1 ¼ cups)
60 g light brown sugar (¼ cup, tightly packed)
3 large eggs
110 g buttermilk (½ cup)
75 g grapeseed oil (½ cup)
12 g vanilla extract (1 tablespoon)
185 g cake flour (1 ½ cups)
4 g baking powder (1 teaspoon)
4 g kosher salt (1 teaspoon)


1. Heat the oven to 350°f.
2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high again for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
3. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. don’t rush the process. you’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for the liquid. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl. if you see any lumps of cake flour in there while you’re scraping, mix for another 45 seconds.
5. Pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. give the bottom of your sheet pan a tap on the countertop to even out the layer.
6. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. the cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. at 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.
7. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). the cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

Creamsicle Soak

Makes about a ½ cup (90 g)


60 g orange juice, no pulp (¼ cup)
4 g clear vanilla extract (1 t)
2 g kosher salt (½ t)
25 g tang™ original drink mix (2 T)


1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk until salt and tang are fully dissolved.

White Chocolate Coating

Makes 370 g (about 2 cups)


350 g white chocolate, melted (6 ounces)
20 g neutral oil (2 tablespoons)


1. In a small bowl, whisk together melted white chocolate and canola oil until homogenous, keep warm before using.

Creamsicle Sand

Makes about 530 g (about 1 quart)


120 g milk powder (1 ½ cups)
120 g all-purpose flour (¾ cup)
40 g cornstarch (⅓ cup)
65 g granulated sugar (⅓ cup)
100 g tang™ original drink mix (½ cup)
2 g citric acid (½ t)
115 g unsalted butter, melted (8 tablespoons or 1 stick)


1. Heat the oven to 275°f.
2. Combine the milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar and drink mix in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until well combined.
3. Add the melted butter and paddle again to distribute. the butter will make the mixture come together in small clumps then the clumps will break down into a well-combined sand.
4. Spread the sand on a quarter sheet pan and bake for 10-12 minutes. the sand should remain orange, without any hint of toasting.
5. Let the sand cool completely. transfer sand to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fine.
6. Stored in an airtight container, the sand will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.


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