Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Brown Butter Brown Sugar Shorties*

*you may notice that the title today is just the name of the cookie, they warrant no further explanation. Read on...

Every week I face a challenge, the same challenge: to bake or not to bake? And I mean that in reference only to cakes, cookies, pies and the like. Now I love sweets, a lot, but I really and truly try not to eat them a lot. I have learned that the best way not to eat too many sweets is not to have them around and for most people that's pretty manageable. Instead I went ahead, started this little old blog and gave myself a reason to break that rule.
Yesterday, after turning in an econ paper and a frightful wrestle with my windswept umbrella (I lost), I knew it was time to bake. To make things a little more fun, I set some ground rules: I had to have the ingredients in my house, the recipe had to be simple, and it had to be delicious. I managed to follow all the rules, except for my cardinal rule of 'everything in moderation.' But, hey, I have no regrets. When the cast of characters includes nutty brown butter and brown sugar, regrets are impossible. And I don't want to show off or anything, but my way-too-old brown sugar clumped together in parts essentially leaving me with brown butter brown sugar chip cookies. Yeah, I know, right?
If you haven't run off to make these yet, let me tempt you more. I'll bet you already have all the ingredients you need sitting in your pantry, dying to be transformed into a brown butter brown sugar shorty. If you're bored by the thought of waiting for these to chill, you should know that the raw dough is killer; a delectable preview of the final product (if you manage to keep enough dough to actually have a final product). Or, try making these a little bigger, I can only imagine what perfect coffee ice cream sandwiches they would make. If you're feeling really decadent take the little shorties for a swim in some chocolate ganache. I know, I know... well, if you're showing restraint and want to eat them plain, they may be best that way. In case you're not in your kitchen yet, let me remind you: brown butter and brown sugar (chips). You still here?
Brown Butter Brown Sugar Shorties
(from Gourmet)

As I mentioned my brown sugar was a little out of date. To make it usable, I put it in a bowl covered with damp paper towel and microwaved it for thirty seconds. Then, I put it in the food processor and pulsed it until it looked like sugar again. This is also how I got those 'chips' I mentioned.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (preferably dark)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1) Cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it has a nutty fragrance and flecks on bottom of pan turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer butter to a bowl and chill until just firm, about 1 hour.
2) Beat together butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, then mix in flour and salt at low speed until just combined. Transfer dough to a sheet of wax paper or parchment and form into a 12-inch log, 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Chill, wrapped in wax paper, until firm, about 1 hour.
3) Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, arranging 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until surface is dry and edges are slightly darker, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.


Mei said...

Okay, I am SO doing this today : DD
thank you so much for the recipe!

Julia said...

Oh, and I found them on tastespotting.

Julia said...

I have a new found love for brown butter. I have been really wanting to make some shortbread with maple walnuts...But these cookies with some maple walnuts are the winners!!!!

Evan B said...

these look amazing.. i love brown sugar. i cant wait to try these!!

Tas said...

We gave these a try this weekend. As expected, they were fantastic. But they melted in the oven, so they're quite thin instead of the thick ones you've got there. We're thinking maybe a little extra flour (1 and 1/2 cups, instead of 1 and 1/3) will help prevent this. Thanks for a tasty recipe!

Frenchie said...

Tas, I'm sorry to hear about that. Adding a bit more flour is probably a good idea, especially if you live in a more humid climate. However, I just want to make sure that you went through all the steps of cooling the butter, it's tempting to rush through these but it really does mess with the integrity of the cookies. Definitely try again though and let me know how it goes.