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brown sugar cookies

February 24, 2011

So, now that I had the Valentine’s Day cookies I was basically making for myself, I figured I needed a second batch that would actually be for Chris. And since the guy eats handfuls of brown sugar straight from the box (usually while singing “Brown Sugar”), it was a fairly easy choice to make. I’d actually had this in my files to make for him for a while, but they kept getting overshadowed by other, more chocolatey recipes. What better chance to make them when I already had my double shot of chocolate prepared?

It was fairly easy to add these to my afternoon plans along with the quarter pounders of glory, because they came together pretty quickly—bonus, no creaming of the butter! And man, did they taste like brown sugar. My mom tried one and said it was a cavity waiting to happen…but then came back for seconds. Good sign.

I was a little worried that they would taste too much like straight butterscotch, to which I have an aversion born of watching my grandpa eat a squishy, gloppy piece of butterscotch pie or yellow cake topped with sticky butterscotch frosting every. single. night. I mean, don’t get me wrong, my grandma’s baking and cooking is the best, but I did not cry into my chocolate pudding that I didn’t get my own slice of my grandpa’s grossness after dinner.

Anyway, my worries turned out to be unfounded. Yes, I know that butterscotch actually is just butter and brown sugar, so my feared outcome was a little unavoidable. However, these had a much nuttier, more complex taste than the butterscotch I remembered. The browned butter really added a lot to the flavor of these chewy little cookies, which made the intense brown sugar taste not as overwhelming as it might have been. Overall, not too shabby for a fancied-up sugar cookie.

Brown Sugar Cookies
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups packed dark brown sugar [I used light—I’d imagine dark would make the flavor even more complex]
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter to melt; set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a shallow baking dish or pie plate, mix granulated sugar and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, rubbing between fingers, until well combined; set aside. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in medium bowl; set aside.
3. Add remaining 1 3/4 cups brown sugar and salt to bowl with cooled butter; mix until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Give dough final stir with spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.
4. Divide dough into 24 portions, each about 2 tablespoons, rolling between hands into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Working in batches, toss balls in reserved sugar mixture to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart, 12 dough balls per sheet.
5. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), 12 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not overbake.
6. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated

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