We've heard people talk about browned butter cookies, but have wondered, is it really worth the effort? The answer is YES! Can you still benefit from using your mixer to make them? The answer is YES again! (Did you really expect another answer?)
Browning the butter gives chocolate chip cookies a toffee-like taste and a more sophisticated texture than those ubiquitous Tollhouse treats. It was a hassle for us, because you need a non-dark saucepan or skillet to brown the butter. We had to dig around in our pantry and use our stainless double boiler pot. Even our enameled cast iron is dark inside! We browned the butter until we had quite a few browned bits, leading to a wonderful caramel color. We let the browned butter/sugar mix cool for a few hours while we ran errands so it had a chance to solidify a bit before we put it in the mixer.
This recipe comes from one of our favorite sources, America's Test Kitchen. As is frequently the case, the results are perfect but there are more steps than we normally like for a quick batch of cookies. But the browning of the butter and the toasting of the walnuts were totally justified when we tasted the results. We think you'll find that to be the case, too.
Our adapted recipe is below; we made several modifications from the original. We did not mix by hand, with multiple mixing and rest periods as ATK described. We used a mixer fitted with the SideSwipe paddle and mixed as we would normal cookies once the butter and sugar mixture cooled. We used our 1.5 tablespoon scoop to make slightly smaller cookies and refrigerated the dough balls overnight. Finally, we did not rotate our baking pans, as our oven bakes pretty evenly - and who wants to take the time, really? Our cookies baked perfectly at about 12 minutes.
ingredients & special equipment
Makes about 24, 3-inch cookies.
NOTE: Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is browned. Use fresh, moist brown sugar instead of hardened brown sugar, which will make the cookies dry. This recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cookies will be less full-flavored. (We used light brown sugar)
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