Monday, November 2, 2009

Brown Butter Cookies


If you are in the mood for a cookie that is not too sweet, but just sweet enough then you have found it. Some of my favorite cookies are the ones that are not too sweet, but sweet enough. Snickerdoodle, sugar, tea cakes, all among my favorites. I even like to make my chocolate chip cookies with semi-sweet chips because I just don't want them to be too sweet.
The cookie part of this recipe is my favorite sugar cookie dough. I have tweaked and adapted this recipe over the years to be just the texture, softness, basically all things I love about a sugar cookie. I really can't stand a sugar cookie that crumbles in your mouth making you feel like you just ate a mouthful of sand. Not my type of cookie. I tend to under bake my sugar cookies because I like them soft and chewy with a crisp edge and find that knocking of a minute or two usually helps me achieve this. You have to know your oven though, for me it's a minute off the maximum recommended bake time.
If you want to use this dough as a roll and cut dough, I think it would work out great. One trick I learned from reading recipes is to roll your cut-out dough on the cookie sheet, then cut the cookies out and lift the scrap dough off the pan. Is that not a brilliant idea? It works great! I always use parchment paper because nothing makes me more angry than something that sticks. I want to enjoy my baking and cooking as it relieves stress, sticking stuff makes me crazy!
The browned butter used in making the frosting/glaze is really the star of this show. If you have never tried a browned butter glaze/frosting you are certainly missing out and must try it immediately. It goes without saying that you have to use real butter here, no substitutes. Browning butter is really very easy. It is certainly something that you approach as you would watching a toddler-constant attention. You can't leave the stove to do something else or the results could be disastrous. Burned butter is a far cry from the heavenly flavor of browned butter. As you play with the browning process you will find that you may prefer a darker color to your butter or lighter just depending on your taste preference. As the butter melts and begins to cook it gets very foamy, stirring it calms the foaming down just long enough for it to get worked up again. As it begins to foam back up you will see how the butter is browning. I usually go with a taupe brown--light brown.
Brown butter has a nutty, toasty flavor much like caramel or toasted pecans. Depending on how much milk you add will determine whether or not this is a glaze or a frosting. I use this browned butter recipe for icing oatmeal cookies (Lord, lord talk about upgrading an oatmeal cookie!) sugar cookies, which will be called brown butter cookies from here on out, tea cakes, and even yellow cake, and pound cake. It's just delicious.

Butter Cookie dough:

1 cup Butter Flavored Crisco
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 T. Milk
1 T. Vanilla Extract
1/8 t. Almond Extract (I have always used a cap full and called it good)
3 cups Flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375. Line two cookie sheets with parchment and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add crisco and sugar. Mix with paddle attachment on medium speed for five minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add salt, baking powder, and extracts mixing to incorporate. Add egg, and milk, mixing to incorporate then slowly reduce speed and add flour slowly until combined and pulls away.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined sheet and bake 7-9 minutes. Remove to cooling rack. Ice when cool.

Notes:
  • I use a spring loaded scoop for my cookies because I can't really trust my eye. I have a small scoop I've used for years from pampered chef. It works great.
  • I baked these cookies on a half sheet baking pan (double the size of a jelly roll pan) that I picked up at Sam's Club (two for under 10 dollars). I could get 24 cookies on this pan which really cut down on the tedious dollup and bake time.
  • Using two pans meant that I would have a cool pan ready for me while the others baked.
Brown Butter Icing

4 Tablespoons butter
2 cups Confectioners sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon Almond Extract

In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Swirl pan or stir until the butter reaches the desired color. 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside. In a medium size bowl add extracts, then pour hot butter into the bowl. Add half of the confectioners sugar, stir with a whisk or beat on low speed with a hand held mixer. It will clump together, but don't give up just keep mixing and begin to slowly add half of the milk, it will smooth out just fine. Add the remaining confectioners sugar and beat to incorporate. Determine at this point how thick or thin you would like it and add milk accordingly.

1 comment:

hrgottlieb said...

If you have an interest in selling cookies or cookie dough for a fundraiser there is a website called Easy Fundraising Ideas that has about 10 different Cookie Dough Fundraising programs and they don't cost anything to start.