Nothing says “Welcome Home!” to a pre-teen like home-baked cookies. Are you with me?
I tried to skirt my way around it, rolling around thoughts of cheese quesadillas, New England clam chowder and Pillsbury cinnamon buns. Anything to avoid baking. But when picturing my son coming home from a school sponsored Outdoor Education trip, consisting of three wet, chilly days in the Maryland wilderness, I knew he’d want nothing more than straight from the oven cookies.
When I get around to baking, I like to keep things simple. I know my limitations and anything requiring special techniques or multiple steps can easily send me into a tailspin. So I settled on making basic chocolate chip cookies but I wanted a slight twist.
In searching for my “twist” I noticed two current trends in cookie baking. The first being the addition of sea salt and the second being brown butter. Figuring that a salted cookie was more of an adult thing, I decided to test out the browned butter technique. The theory behind browning your butter before adding it to the batter is that you get a layer of flavor otherwise missing when using just straight-up butter in your cookies.
So I set off on browning two sticks of butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. I attentively stirred, fearful that if I stepped away, “brown” would turn to “burnt” in the blink of an eye. While I stood over the butter I couldn’t help but notice the smell which was almost caramel-like. It was an “ah-ha” moment for me where I immediately understood the effect that browning would have on my cookies. I realized that there just may be no turning back.
Fast forward to trays of Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies that exceeded all expectations. The cookies looked a bit over baked when I pulled them out of the oven at the designated time but I think that can be attributed to the brown butter–they tasted just right. My dirty, tired, exhilarated son couldn’t have been happier with his “Welcome Home!” and I savored the excuse to devour a couple (okay, more than a couple) of these cookies straight out of the oven. And then another, sprinkled with sea salt, with my coffee the next morning…but who’s counting? Enjoy!
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/4 c brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate morsels
- sea salt garnish, optional
- In a heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat until browned, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In your stand mixer, combine sugars and butter. Add eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture until just combine. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop approx. 1 1/2 Tbls sized balls onto a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat mat or parchment, leaving space between for spreading. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool for one minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- If desired, sprinkle with a little sea salt before devouring.