brown butter + chocolate chip cookies


It’s been a tough week for some of my nearest & dearest. So, it’s time to pull together, appreciate the good stuff and hope that the new month will bring better things… I don’t think I’d be much good in a proper emergency, but I’d like to think I’m sorted on the hugs and cookies front.

I had fun experimenting with brown butter this week. Brown butter (aka. beurre noisette) is one of those mainstays of the online food world; bloggers rave about using it in both savoury and sweet dishes.{see: Joy the Bakerthe Kitchn and Butter Me Up, Brooklyn for further reading!}
It’s deceptively simple to do. You melt butter in a pan, until the colour changes from golden to light brown. The finished product smells nutty – hence the French name {‘noisette’ = hazelnut; heck yeah AS level French!}. In this recipe, the browned butter is chilled and then used in place of ordinary butter in the cookie dough. 
It did take me a couple of attempts. Having done a little research beforehand, I was overly-cautious of burning the butter and consequently my first go was underdone. I was a bit braver second time round and whacked up the heat. As long as you’re watching the pan and stirring, I reckon the risk of burning it is pretty slim.

This isn’t a recipe to do in a hurry, and I understand that most people just wouldn’t bother with the brown butter! I managed to spread out the making and baking over a few days – the butter takes time to solidify, and the longer you can leave the dough to chill, the better. 

The finished cookies are lovely – this is a SBA recipe and I trust them all implicitly! I’m not sure the nuttiness of the brown butter totally came through – and I suppose I’d have to make a similar batch with ordinary butter to compare – but it’s always good to learn a new technique (and cheer up some housemates where possible)!

Ingredients:

  • 230g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs – 1 whole + 1 yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 312g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 30ml milk
  • 200g milk chocolate chips

Method:

Making browned butter:

Slice the butter into small pieces and spread out in a frying pan over a medium heat to melt. Stir often with a spatula.
Once the butter has melted, it will foam up as it heats, and small white bits (the milk solids) will separate out. Continue to stir so these bits don’t burn at the bottom of the pan.

The colour of the butter will change from golden to a light brown, and when the milk solids turn brown and you can smell a nutty aroma, it’s time to stop. Take the pan off the heat, and pour the melted butter into a tupperware container. Try to leave as many of the brown solids in the pan as possible.

Put the butter in the fridge for a few hours to solidify. 

Cookie dough:

Scoop out the chilled brown butter into a mixing bowl and beat until soft. Add the sugars and cream together. 
Beat in one whole egg, one yolk and the vanilla
Mix together the flours, baking powder and salt and add to the butter mixture. Add the milk and finally the choc chips. The dough will be pretty dry. 
Divide it roughly in three and wrap up each third in clingfilm. A sausage shape is best so you can easily cut off circles of dough later on. Chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours (at most 3 days). 
Retrieve the sticks of dough and preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper and cut rounds of cookie dough about 1cm thick. Arrange on a baking tray. {I found that one stick of dough gave me 12 cookies}
Bake for 12 minutes, turning round the tray if they’re browning unevenly. When they’re just going brown around the edges, take them out and leave them to cool for five minutes before moving them.

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