For me, summer always means baking. Which is counterintuitive since it’s hot in the summer and who wants to turn on the oven? But as I’ve talked about here many times, summers for us meant being at Camp Grandma with a big kitchen and lots of time. We Cousins Three found countless ways to entertain ourselves- swimming, stand-up comedy, starting a detective agency, creating and performing shows for our family complete with programs (god bless them, they sat through every. single.one.) and opening a restaurant. Out of Grandma’s kitchen. Boy, did we learn about timing with that one!
The best entertainment, however, outside of swimming and giggling, was always baking. We ended up with tasty results and as long as we cleaned up well and didn’t burn ourselves, Grandma was happy to lend us her kitchen (and, I suspect, get us out of her hair for a few hours). We tended to bake- sweets were what we wanted. We made cookies, cakes, and all sorts of stuff. We used Grandma’s cookbooks, some of which I still have:
After a while, we’d get creative and ice our cakes with special designs- I still remember a ying/yang cake. Once again, god bless our family members who ate what we made, even when it wasn’t made that correctly. Of course, now I wonder how we didn’t get fat every summer but I realize that we spent so much time playing in the pool or the park that it must have made a difference.
So when I was on the phone the other day with The Hippo and she suggested I bake something because she wanted something baked but didn’t want to do it (nevermind that we live several hundred miles apart- we’d really like to perfect the kitchen portal one of these days), I realized that she was right. I should bake something! But what to make? Nothing fancy- it’s impossible to do fancy when I’m home with a toddler. But nothing too ho-hum either. No point in baking something boring when I don’t really bake that often anymore.
I remembered Lady Gouda’s post about Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. I had read it when I was pregnant and had just been told I had gestational diabetes and was therefore off sugar for the last weeks of pregnancy. It was torture reading the recipe and knowing that I couldn’t make them. I decided that these were just what I needed to bake. I’ll link to both Gouda’s post and where she found it at Eat, Make Read. I’ll also put the recipe below but just wanted to make sure I gave credit where credit is due.
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies are delicious. They have a more complex flavor than regular chocolate chip cookies but be warned, the dough must be refrigerated at least 6 hours so this is not a quick fix treat. Totally worth the wait though. You can bump up the complexity by adding a tiny sprinkle of sea salt on top as soon as they come out of the oven but I don’t bother with this last piece. Yummy either way.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, browned
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12 oz (1 pkg) semisweet chocolate chips
fleur de sel (optional)
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place both sugars. I like to break my eggs into a small bowl just in case something goes awry.
Ok– and here’s where I fail as a food blogger– you need to brown your butter. A good food blogger would have photos of this as it’s the most unique part of the cookies. Me? I forgot to photograph this part. *hanging my head in shame* Basically, heat your butter over medium heat and stay with it. As it melts, the solids will sort of separate and you’ll see some yellow and white. Be patient and watch it. As it begins to brown, you’ll start to see it change color from yellow to a more golden color. Smell it as well, it will begin to smell sort of nutty and dark. Don’t let it burn- the line between brown butter and burned butter is very fine. If you click here, you’ll see an example. Once it’s browned, let it cool.
Add the butter to the sugar and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the eggs, one by one, and mix in between additions. Add the vanilla and mix. When it’s all smooth, it’ll be a sort of tan, smooth, thick mixture. Add the flour and mix (The original recipe has you add the flour in two parts but you know me, lazy).
Once it’s all incorporated, it will be smooth and yummy smelling. Resist the urge to sample now.
Add the chocolate chips- I never use a whole bag and I go back and forth between using semi-sweet and milk. I prefer milk but sometimes they’re too sweet. With this recipe, I think the bittersweet are better– this is more of an “adult” cookie so it makes for more complex flavor.
Once again, I differ from the original recipe- I mix the chips with the mixer. Once again, lazy.
Now, this doesn’t look like regular cookie dough. It’s smoother, darker, richer. And it tastes terrific. Even if you’re concerned about salmonella, it’s worth the risk of a spoonful. Amazing. Anyway, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate. I put mine in tupperware and let it sit overnight. When you’re ready to bake it up, preheat your oven to 375 and cover your cookie sheets with parchment or silpat (I *still* don’t own silpat. What is up with that?!). Use a scoop or spoon to measure out your cookies so they’ll be the same size and bake evenly.
Bake for about 8 minutes.
Let them cool for a minute on the cookie sheet before you transfer them to wire racks to finish cooling.
Try not to eat them all at once. They are that good. Maybe pack some up and give them to friends. Or the person who is going to photograph your daughter for free. Or strangers. Just don’t keep them at home- you’ll eat them all. Trust me when I tell you this.