Browned Butter Chocolate and Variety Chip Cookies

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Make these cookies for your family!  It’s like having a variety pack!  They’ll think you went to the bakery.

     There’s something homey and comforting about Chocolate Chip Cookies. Everyone loves them, and for good reason. They’re delicious. For years though, I was plagued by flat cookies. You know the ones I mean. They’re beautiful when they come out of the oven, but as they cool, they became flatter than a fritter. What was wrong that it happened time and time again? Time to put my thinking cap on to figure this out. 

     It had to be the recipe on the bag. Something or some things needed serious adjustments. I decided that browned butter was the first place to start. Eureka! It made all the difference. The texture is wonderful, the cookies are chewy, and the best part is they stay soft for days. And the flavor? Delish!! So here is my all-new recipe and how I did it. (Yes, of course I had to change almost everything. You know me by now.)

     The cookies will remain soft for days if kept in a covered plastic or glass container. Of course, that’s providing they last that long.
INGREDIENTS: YIELDS 30 LARGE COOKIES

1 ½ sticks salted butter, roughly chunked

¾ cup Dark brown sugar, packed

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 eggs

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 cups AP flour (If you want a firmer cookie, add a few extra TBSP flour)

 

Remember that at any given time I may have 20 different bags of chips, nuts, dried fruit, etc. in my freezer.  I mix and match a lot, so they last me a long time because I won’t use a whole bag of one flavor in one recipe.

OPTIONAL FLAVORS: Semi-sweet chips, Milk chocolate chips, Caramel chips, Peanut butter chips, White chocolate chips, Cherry chips, Cinnamon chips or even some of those crushed candy bar flavors.  Pecans, walnuts, raisins, dates, coconut. If it sounds good, it probably will be.  You can always make a few test cookies to taste before you make a whole tray of something you aren’t sure of.
PREPARATION:

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium/low heat. It will begin to foam, and that is due to the moisture escaping. Swirl the pan every minute or so. The color will change from yellow to light brown. You will also notice a difference in the scent. Some people say it smells nutty when it’s done. I can’t say that I smell nuts, but the scent definitely changes to something much richer. To me, it smells like brown sugar. Sediment will begin to form at the bottom. Either strain that out or leave as much as possible in the pan. Set aside to cool, and then refrigerate for 30-45 minutes, but not until it sets up again.  Remember, starting with hot ingredients will make your cookies spread. 

Add the browned butter to your mixer bowl and beat for about a minute. Then add the sugars and beat until the batter is smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat again. Add cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, giving it a quick mix to incorporate. Add the flour and beat on low speed only until incorporated. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Chill dough for an hour.

NOTE: Chilling the dough and baking at a lower temperature along with using the browned butter keeps the cookies from spreading into a flat cookie.

Preheat oven to 350° F. It’s always best to use a stoneware baking sheet, but if you don’t have one, use a silicone mat or parchment paper. I make large cookies and they need to bake about 14 -15 minutes or until edges are set.

INSTRUCTIONS TO USE VARIOUS CHIP FLAVORS:     If you want to make a variety of chip flavors, all you do is grab some of the dough from the bowl and plop it into a small bowl.  Stir in peanut butter chips, for instance.  Scoop the dough onto the baking sheet and top each unbaked cookie with a few extra peanut butter chips.  This will help people identify them after they’re baked.  Then put more dough in the same small bowl and add white chocolate chips, remembering to put a few white chocolate chips on top of each unbaked cookie. People will think you’re a genius, really!  (Or they’ll think you’re nuts, and spent 3 days making seventeen varieties of chip cookies.) I wanted some with coconut, of course, so I mixed a bit of coconut and semi-sweet chips with another small portion of dough in the small bowl.  After placing the dough on the cookie sheet, I sprinkled a bit of coconut on top of each.  (Look at the photos and you’ll see an example of marking each cookie for identification later.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re using regular baking sheets instead of stoneware, always make sure your baking sheets are cool before you drop a new batch of dough on them, even if you used silicone or parchment paper. Otherwise the dough will get hot and begin to spread before you put the sheet in the oven. This will mess with baking time, and possibly give you flat cookies.  I usually throw the unbaked dough in the fridge between batches.

WHY BROWN THE BUTTER? When butter melts, the water evaporates and the milk solids are exposed to heat and start to turn brown. They will sink to the bottom of the pan and begin to brown. You should see dark bits in the bottom. While you’re busy messing with Mother Nature’s perfect butter, it is taking on not only color, but flavor and aroma! It smells SO good!!

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017

Browned Butter

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Browned Butter Chocolate Chip and Variety Chip Cookies

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