Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cookies and the Thaw


Well, we appear to have weathered the worst of the cold snap, and all of our various starts and blossoms and such look fine. We kind of have the coverup drill down at this point, so it's a lot less dramatic, if still a pain in the ass.

So baking. I have not been doing as much lately, given the warm spring weather. The mind turns to ice cream, I suppose. Well, it really turns to ice cream and fruit pie, but we are a tad early for that just yet. But with the cold snap came a Cook's Illustrated with yet another chocolate chip cookie recipe. And at first I was not one bit excited about reading another recipe for a kind of cookie that I can make while asleep, but then! I noticed! Browned. Butter. I am a complete sucker for browned butter goodies. The browned butter chocolate pecan financiers from a certain bakery in Portland are the second and probably sometimes the first thing that pops into my mind to get excited about when we book a ticket there. The browned butter (beurre noisette if you want to be fancy pants) flavor is so distinct. So. Out came the baking sheets.

They *taste* fantastic. Deep, dark toffee-caramel-nuttiness. But I was really not happy with how much they spread. Also, I just don't like an enormous cookie, which is their recommendation for how to get a cookie with crispy edges and a chewy center. So after the first batch I added a bit more flour and chilled the dough for about 20 minutes. Better, but still not my preferred architecture/texture. So the rest of the dough is still in the fridge and I will see if a proper chilling and a smaller cookie does the trick. But even so: yum. I would make these over a more traditional chocolate chip recipe any day. Plus you don't have to let the butter come up to room temperature so they qualify as an emergency cookie possibility. You just never know when you might need to make cookies on a dime. Below is the recipe as printed.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Cook's Illustrated

1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg room temperature
1 large egg yolk room temperature
1 1/4 cup chocolate chips (type is up to you)
3/4 cups nuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour and baking soda together in a small bowl.

Heat 10 of the 14 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch skilled over medium high heat until melted. Then continue to cook, swirling gently until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma. The recipe says that this will take about 4-5 minutes, but it was much longer for me. If you have never browned butter, this link has some helpful pictures. The smell is unmistakable but if you’ve never tried this and thus never smelled the brown butter fragrance, it can be easy to stop too early. When browned, remove from heat and scrape into a large heatproof bowl. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and swirl until melted.

Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and egg yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no lumps, about 30 seconds. Let mixture rest for 3 minutes, then whisk for another 30 seconds. Repeat this resting and whisking an additional two times. Your batter should be thick, smooth, and shiny.

Stir in flour mixture until just combined, then add chocolate chips and nuts.

Divide dough into 16 portions (about 3 tablespoons per portion), arrange two inches apart on a baking sheet for 8 at a time.

Bake cookies one tray at a time until they are golden brown and still puffy with edges that have begun to set, 10-14 minutes. Rotated baking sheet halfway through baking time. Transfer entire sheet to baking rack to cool.

4 comments:

queenbeehoney said...

ME WANT COOKIE!

cake said...

gawd that sounds yummy. sadly, i don't have that much butter in the house at the moment, or i may be having a cookie emergency right now! oh, and we don't have any choc. chips either. but, i WILL be making this.

though i agree with you on size, i don't mind a cookie that spreads. i prefer it to the thick, cakey ones, which i consider a complete failure. crispy edges and chewy center, sounds like perfection.

glad to hear your plants are ok. mine are too, for the most part.

cake said...

we made these last night. yum!
we made ours small, and had to adjust the cooking time. it is easy to over bake them, and it has an impact on the taste.

cosmo looked up the butter browning tutorial with me, and we made a song out of "not brown enough, just right, too brown"
cosmo watched the butter with me, and shouted "STOP!" when he saw the color he was looking for. tons of fun, thanks for passing this on.

Heather said...

Oh YAY! I am so glad that you guys liked them too. I wish I could hear your song, I bet it was drop dead cute.