Thursday, February 7, 2013

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last summer, I wrote about my pursuit of making the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  It can be a little unfair to compare different types of cookies to each other.  What you want one day may not be what you're in the mood for the next.  Flat, chewy and gooey or soft and cakey or crisp edges with a soft center - they're all different and they're all wonderful.  And while those cookies were wonderful in their own right – when a chewy, gooey, flat cookie is what you’re looking for – I still was determined to bake a chocolate chip cookie that didn’t flatten out after cooling.

You sea-level bakers may not be familiar with this problem, but here in the mountains, the high altitude causes all kinds of headaches when it comes to baking, such as sunken, overflowed dry cakes and flat cookies.  I’ve had to learn all sorts of tricks to avoid these problems so that my baked goods are beautiful and moist.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

When it comes to avoiding flat cookies, the answer is to slightly increase the flour, slightly decrease the leavening (baking powder and/or baking soda), or slightly decrease the sugar, or a combination of all three.  For my experiment, I adjusted the flour and sugar on my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, and added a splash of milk to make up for the missing moisture.  And, well, the pictures speak for themselves, don’t they?  Not a flat cookie in sight.

They were soft through and through, just the way I like them - when that's what I'm in the mood for, that is...

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

In addition to my adjustments to the ingredients, I browned the butter first for a nuttier, more intense flavor.  The browned butter added such a wonderful depth of flavor to the cookies that I want to try browned butter in all my favorite recipes now.

I’m curious, what do you consider to be the perfect chocolate chip cookie?  Flat and chewy?  Soft and cakey?  Crisp?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments…

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
printable recipe
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 2/3 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place the butter in a saucepan and melt the butter over medium heat.  Once melted, continue cooking over medium heat, swirling the pan every so often, until the butter is very fragrant and nutty golden brown solids have formed at the bottom of the pan, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Scrape the butter (it will still be liquid) and all of the brown solids into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer.  Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar.  With the paddle attachment, beat for 3-4 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl, add the vanilla and egg and beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients a spoonful at a time, mixing just until combined.  If the dough is too dry, add a small amount of milk just to moisten it.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Cover and chill for 3-4 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Shape the chilled dough into balls, place two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.  Bake for 8-9 minutes until a very pale golden.  Cool on the pan for 1 minute then transfer to a wire rack to cool; the cookies should still be gooey in the middle, but they will set up as they cool.

Store in an airtight container.

Yields about 1 1/2 dozen cookies.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen


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