Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Brown Sugar Cookies

Imagine for a moment a cookie made with no spices that relies on its flavor from butter and butter alone. What do you think it might taste like? Perhaps those butter cookies so popular around the holidays? Something like shortbread, maybe?

What if I told you it elements of caramel and butterscotch. What if I told you that you could taste hints of ginger or molasses in the finish? You wouldn't believe me. But it's true. This sugar cookie gets is flavor from that incredible magic known as "brown butter" or as the French say "beurre noisette." The flavors in this simple and easy to make cookie are astounding. You truly will find hints of caramel and butterscotch along with some lovely notes of ginger and molasses (depending on the quality of the butter and brown sugar you use).

Honestly, I fell in love with this cookie. I also found that eating them on the second day was even better as the flavors mixed and melded even more.

When you bake these you probably will remove them from the oven thinking they are not done yet and you'll be right. These are deliberately undercooked to preserve their wonderful chewy texture at the center. If you cook these until they are completely done your cookie won't have that magical chewy texture and beautiful flavor notes. So be sure to follow the directions about removing them at about 12 minutes and allowing them to sit on the cookie sheets for an additional five before putting them on a wire rack to cool completely.

Oh, while I'm thinking about it. I'm working on recreating Mama's Fruit Cake for the holidays. My nephew and niece found her original handwritten notes and sent them to me. Of course, like many of Mama's recipes there are important parts that seemed to be kept in her brain and not written down on the paper! It might take a couple tries to get it right, but when I figure out the secret formula, I'll be sharing here.

If you're one of those people who make jokes about fruitcake be prepared to be embarrassed. This thing is killer and beyond belief good!

: Brown Sugar Cookies
: Brown sugar and browned butter give these cookies a magical mixture of flavors. Adapted from Cook's Illustrated - America's Test Kitchen

  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 cups packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp.baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 yolk

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a small light bottomed skillet, melt 10 tbsp of the unsalted butter. Continue to cook until the milk solids begin to brown, 2-4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, add the remaining 4 tbsp of cold butter, and set aside to cool, 15 minutes.
  3. In a shallow dish, combine 1/4 c packed brown sugar with white sugar, rubbing with fingers to break up the brown sugar. Set aside.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining 1 3/4 c brown sugar with cooled melted butter, along with vanilla and salt. Add egg and yolk to butter and sugar and stir well. Add flour mixture and stir until well-mixed and no pockets of dry flour remain.
  6. Turn dough onto a board and pat into a rough circle. Cut circle in four equal pieces, then divide each piece into six equal pieces, for a total of 24 cookies. Roll each piece into a ball, then roll in the mixed sugars to coat, then place onto lined cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake one tray at a time for 12-14 minutes, spinning the tray front to back at the halfway point. They will appear underdone. Let sit on the tray 5 minutes to finish cooking, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 12 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 24
Culinary tradition: USA (General)

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