Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Brown Butter Candy Cookies

I've been subscribing to Netflix for about 3 years now. I was hesitant to join at first because I'm just a big ol' cheap-o. Plus, I have friends who let me use their accounts for years. But, at some point in life, you get to a point where you feel old and like you should no longer mooch. I mean, it was only $8 a month; I could totally afford it. Well, it's certainly been worthwhile. It's my best friend when it comes to food blogging. As much as I enjoy being in the kitchen and tapping away on my laptop, I need a little background noise and Netflix is an awesome source of background noise.

Lately, I've been watching Criminal Minds. I've had a few people recommend it to me, especially because I watch SVU religiously. It's a pretty intense crime drama and despite the flaws I've noticed here and there, I enjoy watching it. So, I've been leaving it on while I blog. In fact, I have it on right now. The problem though, is that it's so intense that I get a little scared watching it, especially at night. To balance out the frightening show, I decided to make a batch of sweet cookies.

I ended up making these amazing brown butter cookies. Brown butter is so fragrant and nutty, and caramel-y, and it's amazing in desserts because it takes an ordinary cookie and deepens the flavor and makes it take more sophisticated and yummy.
Ingredients [yields 2½ dozen cookies]:
2 sticks cold butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 cold eggs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped candy (I chose pretzel M&Ms and Twix; regular M&Ms, chocolate chips, Snickers, Reese's pieces, Reese's cups, Almond Joy, Whoppers, Milky Way, caramels)
+ sea salt
Brown butter is incredibly easy to make but it's also incredibly easy to mess up. The first five minutes of brown butter-making is casual but the last two minutes is where you've really got to babysit because it will go from brown to black in the blink of an eye.
Get your butter in a saucepan and heat over a low flame. The butter will melt and then get foamy. Then, it'll start to bubble. When the bubbles are rapid, start whisking and babysit the pot until you see little brown bits in the bottom of the pan.
So, because the color change happens so quickly, I wasn't able to capture it on camera when it happened on the stove. I was too busy babysitting. But, you can certainly see in the photo below that the butter is no longer a vibrant yellow. The butter is brown, hence brown butter; how clever. Let the pan cool down for about 10 minutes until it's no longer steaming hot.
Dump the brown sugar into the pan and stir to combine. The warmth of the butter will melt the sugar a little and the sugar will also cool down the butter a bit. A great example of a symbiotic relationship, maybe.
Grab a big bowl and add in the cold butter and the brown butter and sugar mixture. Whisk together until smooth. The heat from the brown butter will melt the cold butter and the cold butter will also help to cool down the brown butter. More give and take! After the mixture is uniform, whisk in the caster sugar. Then, plop in the cold eggs and beat until fluffy; again the cold eggs will cool down the batter. Add in the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla extract.
Beat the flour in, 1/2 cup at a time, until the batter is smooth and thick.
Can you see the brown bits from the brown butter? Ugh, the batter will smell amazing, I promise you.
Chop up your preferred candies and then dump them into the bowl. Stir them in. If you're a fan of super chunky cookies, you can certainly add more than just 1 cup of goodies.
Scoop the batter (I used a 1-1/2 tablespoon scoop) onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. If you're like me, you'll want to sprinkle a little sea salt on top of each cookie. Bake the cookies at 375F for 12 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are brown.
I also crammed one sheet pan full of cookies (all of them sprinkled gently with salt) and popped them in the freezer to chill. I love keeping cookies in the freezer, ready to bake at a whim.
Cool the cookies on a wire rack just long enough so that you're able to pick them up without burning your fingers. Don't cool them too long because, you're going to want to eat these warm. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, where the cookies might lose a little bit of their crispness but the centers should still be soft and chewy.
Serve the cookies with a tall glass of cold milk. The brown buttery cookies are perfect with milk. The edges are crisp, the center is fluffy, the bits of candy are a fun surprise, and gosh, that brown butter. The brown butter makes the cookies smell delicious, look delicious, and taste delicious. It's a triple threat!
Here's the recipe page:

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