Sunday, October 13, 2013

Brown Sugar Cookies

I love chocolate chip cookies because of their rich toffee taste and chocolate chunks.  This cookie takes that toffee flavor and makes it the sole focus.  When I saw the recipe in Cook's Illustrated, I knew it would be a winner.

What I love even more about this cookie though is that you are always likely to have the ingredients on hand.  This recipe calls for ordinary ingredients, but the cookies are anything but ordinary.  This is the cookie I'm going to reach for when it is late at night, and I just need a warm cookie and a glass of milk.  

Brown Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups packed brown sugar (the fresher, the better)
2 cups and 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. In a skillet, heat 10 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until melted.  Then, continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the butter is golden brown and has a nutty aroma (about 2-3 minutes).  I recommend using a lighter colored pan so that you can easily see the butter.
  2. Remove skillet from heat and pour the browned butter into a heat-proof bowl.  Stir in remaining four tablespoons of butter until completely melted. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Adjust oven rack to middle position, and heat over to 350 degrees.
  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, Silpat, or coat them with butter.  
  5. In a shallow bowl, combine 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar and the granulated sugar.  Toss with your hands until well combined.  
  6. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.  
  7. Add remaining brown sugar (1 3/4 of a cup) and salt to the melted butter.  Mix using an electronic mixer (either hand-held or standing) on low speed until no clumps remain.
  8. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Mix on low.
  9. Add flour mixture, and then mix on medium-low speed until the flour is combined into the dough.  To make sure there is no excess flour, use a spatula to stir the dough one last time.
  10. Spoon the dough into balls roughly 1 1/2 inches in diameter (about two tablespoons), and use your hands to shape them into a ball.  
  11. Roll the dough in the sugar mixture.  
  12. You should have roughly 24 cookies, with 12 cookies on each cookie sheet.  
  13. Bake the sheets one at a time for 12-14 minutes.  Rotate the sheet at the 6 minute mark.  
  14. The edges of the cookies should have set, but the centers should still be puffy.  Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to completely cool. 

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