Thursday, July 26, 2012

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello blog! I've been on vacation. And then I've been living in the fog that is post vacation. Sadly it wasn't until I had to sweep my floor yesterday (after, shocker, just one meal) that I realized that I hadn't swept a floor all week. And I'm pretty sure that my kids were still dropping things on other people's floors, so I'd just like to thank all my family members for making my vacation so princessy. And to my brother Jake for introducing me to waffle cakes. And to my sister-in-law Shelle for some of the best ice cream ever. And to whoever made the mac and cheese that both Mark and I loved (a miracle I never thought I'd see). And to everyone else who made awesome food the whole time so that I never had to. I can't actually remember the last time I went for a week without once lifting my finger to cook something. And, while I love to cook, it was a really special treat.

Unfortunately, I never got a picture of any of the delicious foods I ate. I even thought about it, but was too lazy to pose the food and photograph the food. That's right. I just ate it. I know--the nerve. So one of these days I'm going to have to recreate those foods and share them with you.

For now, I give you a cookie. If you follow this blog you know that I have a sordid past with my chocolate chip cookies. I just can't seem to be loyal to just one. I'm kind of like a movie star in that way. The good part about that is that you don't have to issue public apologies when you cheat on your cookies. And they don't ruin your political careers. Today I present to you my latest fling. It's a lot like this little gem, only before you cook it you brown the butter. Browned butter is something, for the record, that I'm extremely loyal too. Through it, these cookies acquire an amazing caramel-y taste that I haven't been able to capture in my other chocolate chip cookies.

I've made this several times now and I can tell you a few things. You don't want the butter crazy hot or your chocolate chips will melt. But you don't want the butter to cool off completely either, or you'll wind up--for whatever scientific reason--with a less chewy cookie. Also, these are good if baked right off the bat, but if you can let the batter rest in the refrigerator for a day and then roll them into balls and cook them, you will have something darn near worth marrying. If, you know, you do that with your cookies. If you're a cookie floozy like me, then you'll probably just move in together for a while until something comes along with cinnamon or cardamom that you just have to try. But then, if that doesn't work out, you can always just return to this cookie. Which is why it's so much better to cheat on cookies than people. Amen.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from The New Best Recipe Cookbook
makes about 18 cookies
Prep time: 30-40 minutes (including the browning of the butter)
Cook time: 12 minutes
Cost: $2.80
butter: .90, chocolate chips: 1.00, brown sugar: .35, white sugar: .15, eggs: .20, flour: .20

Note: This worked best when using very large eggs. If you don't have an extra large egg, you could substitute 2 eggs instead of the egg and yolk. It's not quite as perfectly rich, but still crazy good.

12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned and still warm (see instructions on browning below)
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
1 extra large egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
2 C plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C chocolate chips

Brown your butter. You can do this slowly on low heat (which takes for-e-ver) or quickly on medium high (which risks burning the butter, but is quick). I usually compromise and do mine on medium heat. It takes 10-20 minutes and you've got to watch it at the end. I'll do a full tutorial on this later. Here's a brief one.
1. Melt butter in a pan on medium heat. It will look like melted butter--a light yellow color.
2. As it cooks, it will begin to separate. You'll have the darker oily part on the bottom and the lighter foamy looking part on the top (the solids).
3. Tilt the pan every few minutes and keep your eye on it.
4. Eventually it will start to sort of gently bubble (if it's not gentle, take it off the heat or it will likely burn). This is where you need to watch it a little more closely. Tilt the pan every minute or so, or stir it.
5. When it starts to brown, you'll notice a change in the smell. It will smell nuttier rather than butterier.
6. It will start to darken, especially the solids, which may have sunk to the bottom of the pan. Watch it and tilt or stir it.
7. It should smell like heaven and be a goldeny brown color. Don't let it get black or really dark brown.
8. When it's ready pour it into the bowl.
9. Let it cool for just a couple of minutes. You want it to remain warm.

Once your butter is ready, add the sugars and stir. They should melt a bit into your butter. Add the egg and egg yolk and stir. Add the vanilla.

Mix the dry ingredients together and add them to your butter/sugar/egg mixture. Mix with a spoon. It's going to look way different than most cookie batters, like this, so don't freak out, okay:

Add the chocolate chips.

If possible, let batter rest for a day. If not possible, I understand. (You can always compromise and make a batch now and let the rest of the batter rest and then make it the next day.)

Bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes. You don't want them gloppy, but you don't want them fully cooked either (oh, they'll still taste good fully cooked, but they're better if taken out when the center is just a bit underdone). The edges will be just golden and the center will not.


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