March 13, 2010

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know they look like your everyday chocolate chip cookies. Looks can be deceiving!

Brown butter. What exactly is that? Butter that's cooked? Big whoop, right? Oh. so. wrong. Brown butter is silky, nutty, slighty tangy and unique - a complex flavor in and of itself. Put it in chocolate chip cookies and you get something sublime.

When you brown butter, you have to watch it very carefully because it will go from deliciously browned to burnt in a millisecond. Once the browned butter is mixed with brown sugar for this batter, it creates a caramelized undertone to the batter that stays prominent through the baking process.

You taste these cookies and think "Hmmm...there's *something* different, but I can't quite tell what it is." That, my friends, is brown butter.

1 cup unsalted butter, browned and slightly cooled*
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 TBS light cream, evaporated milk, or milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

*To brown butter, heat in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter begins to simmer. Continue cooking, stirring, just until butter begins to turn golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pour off into a measuring cup or bowl, leaving darkest sediment behind. Let the butter cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat the browned butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and egg yolk, milk, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until well blended.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the egg and butter mixture, mixing on low speed, until a soft dough forms. Scrape the bowl a few times. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover and chill for about an hour.

Heat the oven to 375°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat; spray paper with cooking spray. Using a cookie scoop, drop balls of dough onto the silicone mat or greased parchment, allowing about 2 to 3 inches in between the cookies.

Bake for 6 to 10 minutes, until browned around the edges. Cool completely and transfer to an airtight container for storage.