Friday, February 11, 2011

Butter Goes Brown

I'm a big fan of brown butter.  It's rich and nutty and plays well with both savory and sweet applications.  And since I always (always) have butter on hand, it's a fun gourmet trick to keep in your back pocket.  When this month's Cooking Club magazine arrived with a full feature on brown butter desserts, I was so excited I stood in the hallway in my coat and boots to sneak a peek.  I was not disappointed.

I was most seduced by the brown butter cherry tart.  Cherries might be my most favorite fruit and are sorely underrepresented in baked goods (didn't I just say that?).  Alas, I did not have sour cherries on hand (shame!).  I did, however, have just about everything needed to make brown butter-chocolate chip icebox cookies.

Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Icebox Cookies

11 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw*
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten

1. Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat 6 to 9 minutes or until milk solids on bottom are dark chocolate brown. Pour into large wide bowl; freeze 15 to 20 minutes or until consistency of softened butter.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl.
3. Beat chilled butter in large bowl at medium speed 30 seconds or until smooth. Beat in sugar and brown sugar 1 minute or until combined. At low speed, beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in flour mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Divide dough in half; shape each into 8x2-inch log. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
5. Heat oven to 350°F. Combine turbinado sugar and sea salt in small bowl; spread on baking sheet. Lightly brush each dough log with egg white; roll in turbinado sugar mixture to completely coat outside. Cut each log into 24 slices; place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Yes, I crowded the pan.
6. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until pale golden brown around edges but still soft in center. Cool on baking sheets on wire rack 3 minutes. Remove cookies; cool completely.

*Turbinado sugar is a raw sugar with large pale brown crystals and a mild molasses flavor. Demerara sugar, another raw sugar, can be used, or substitute granulated sugar.

Literate Baker notes:  I did not have turbinado sugar on hand and substituted white sanding sugar.  I'm sure the flavor of the former would be better, but the texture of the latter worked just fine.  I also didn't have mini chocolate chips.  Regular chips tasted fine, but made slicing a little less neat.

All is all, these were really good.  The brown butter gave a good depth of flavor, while the crust of sugar and salt worked some the same type of magic that happens with a salt-rimmed margarita.  Mmmm... margarita.  But I digress.

The egg and baking powder made these cookies not quite shortbread, but still fairly crisp.  As I think back to other "icebox" cookie recipes I've tried, they're definitely that style.  I think I may try a variation that is more a traditional shortbread, but with brown butter.  The more butter, the better, right?  Right. Pin It

1 comment:

  1. These were placed in front of me while I was on the computer, and before the end of the night and without my awareness the whole bag was gone! Thanks for the mechanism of my over-indulgence!