Sunday, December 13, 2009

Brown Sugar Brown Butter Shorties

The other day, I tried a bunch of new cookie recipes, and these were among my favorites. They have a deep, almost nutty flavor which is pretty impressive given that they don't contain any nuts.

Due to imperfect rolling of the dough into a log, my cookies had somewhat flat bottoms instead of being round. As a result, one of my sons called these "tombstone cookies", a name that may stick in our house as it rolls off the tongue a little easier than "brown sugar-brown butter shorties". Or perhaps next time I'll just be more careful to make a round cylinder so my cookies don't resemble tombstones!

I found this recipe on smitten kitchen here, and made only very minor changes. Her recipe is originally from Gourmet magazine, so here's a link if you want to hark back to the original unchanged version.

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Sugar in the Raw for rolling (optional)

Place the butter in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the butter is a light brown and smells nutty. Pour into a container and place in the fridge until firm, possibly overnight. Remove from the fridge and allow to return to room temperature so the butter is soft but not melted. This is important...I believe this is why some commenters on the recipe on smitten kitchen reported bad results. After one hour in the fridge (what the linked recipe called for), my butter was still liquid-y. If the butter you use is liquid-y, the cookies probably won't turn out right! I browned the butter first thing in the morning, put it in the fridge, then once it was solid, took the container out of the fridge to soften while I made a different batch of cookies. It was perfect after that.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the flour and salt, mixing well. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer or electric beater, cream together the butter and brown sugar until well-combined, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the flour/salt mixture and mix on low speed until the flour is just incorporated. Don't overmix! The dough will be pretty firm.

Form the dough into a cylinder, any diameter you want...these are sliced cookies so the diameter will determine the size of your cookies. Try to make it round, unless you want your kids to excitedly exclaim, "These cookies look like tombstones!" Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove dough from the fridge and roll in sugar in the raw. Slice cookies with a sharp, NON-serrated knife to approximately 1/4" thick. If you use a serrated knife, the cookies will have lines in them from the serration. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until the cookies are slightly browned. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

I thought these were outstanding and well worth the bother of browning the butter. This recipe only makes about 2 and a half dozen cookies, which went FAST in our house. I would recommend making a double batch of these.

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