'MasterChef' judge Christina Tosi on what she craves when she's not baking cookies: 'When it's Friday, it's always pizza night'

Christina Tosi, founder and owner of Milk Bar, says she was inspired by M&M'S new Crunchy Cookie variety to create a special cookie, the Crunchy Cookie Crunchy Cookie. (Photo: Winnie Au; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
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As founder and owner of Milk Bar, a chain of dessert and bakery restaurants with locations in cities like New York, Boston and Toronto, Christina Tosi spends lots of time cooking up sweet treats. But when she's not creating colorful desserts with ingredients like confetti sprinkles and breakfast cereal, the 40-year-old chef has a more savory food tradition she looks forward to: pizza night.

"When it's Friday night, it's always pizza night," Tosi, who shares a 1-year-old daughter with her husband, NYC-based restaurateur Will Guidara, says. "I feel like I'm a 12 or 16 or 20 year old always. I want pizza and I want a movie. I don't care what the week held. I don't care where I am. I always crave pizza and a movie night."

"The idea of snuggling with your family members on the couch and having a triangular slice of gooey cheesy pizza for dinner — something in that soothes my soul," she adds.

Tosi's soul is also soothed by Tosi's Bake Club, her weekly newsletter and livestream baking class where attendees cook up something different each session. Tosi says she started the virtual program at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when she felt "helpless."

"Food is what keeps us together," she tells Yahoo Life as part of her work promoting M&M'S new Crunchy Cookie variety. "Food marks moments and memories and milestones in this really beautiful way. The idea [of Tosi's Bake Club] is that at 2 p.m,. you show up and it's a leap of faith."

"It's like anything in life and I think when you come together as a community with an open mind prepared to make a leap of faith together, you know there will be some raucous moments and messes and eggshells in the batter and dropped bowls," she says, "but you come together unapologetically, believing that good things will come. That's probably the food moment that resonates with me most: When I needed help and I needed to solve and find a path forward, I found community around something as simple as dessert."

Tosi's cookie creation, the Crunchy Cookie Crunchy Cookie, uses Crunchy Cookie M&M's. (Photo: M&M's)
Tosi's cookie creation, the Crunchy Cookie Crunchy Cookie, uses Crunchy Cookie M&M's. (Photo: M&M's)

As part of her work with M&M's, Tosi recently created a Crunchy Cookie Crunchy Cookie. She describes the new M&M flavor, available in stores now, as having the "flavor of a crunchy vanilla cookie, coated in classic chocolate and then coated in a beautiful color-coated candy shell." Her creative cookie features a vanilla cookie center and chocolate cookie outside, all studded with M&M'S Crunchy Cookie candies.

Tosi says her first experiences with creating her own cookies in the kitchen started with baking oatmeal cookies with her grandmother as a child.

"That time in the kitchen as a kid has always been the place that I go back to," she says. "The kitchen was welcoming and I was encouraged to take up space and do my thing ... it was inspiring to me as a person. It was part of how I found my voice and the courage to be unapologetically me and it brought me to the lens of not just being passionate about what you do, but knowing the value of what you're putting out into the world."

And, while her own daughter is still too young to bake with her, she often tries to impart the same kitchen confidence to her young nieces. "When I spend time with them, they come in hot," Tosi says. "'What are we baking?' and 'What can we make?' and I always say to them, 'What should we dream up?'"

"Letting their imaginations go and watching it come around full circle to that 'if you can dream it, we can bake it' mentality and then asking who we're baking for and how can we create community and togetherness during our time together in the kitchen," she says, "It's a family tradition I hope will continue on."

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