Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:
Without a doubt, this cookie is the reason behind my brown butter obsession. I had no idea what brown butter was until I saw an episode of America’s Test Kitchen that included these Brown Sugar Cookies. Then I made these cookies, and now I have to restrain myself from browning the butter in any recipe. These cookies are a holiday favorite turned year-round cookie—I make at least a dozen batches of these every year. These and the Fudge Crackle Cookies hold a tie for my favorite cookie with because to me a dessert is not complete without chocolate, so I always go for the Fudge Crackle Cookies. If chocolate wasn’t an option, these would be my absolute favorite.
These cookies have everything that a cookie should have but often doesn’t. They’re rich and tender in the center, yet crisp on the edges from the large quantity of brown sugar, which adds molasses undertones to the dough. Melting and browning the butter reduces the water content of the dough, so rather than having a cake-like texture, the cookies are incredibly dense, setting it apart from mile high cookies that resemble cupcakes at best. Most importantly, the aromas made while making these cookies is unbelievable: the brown butter smells nutty and rich—the perfect pairing for a full tablespoon of vanilla. The fragrance released into the air every time you lift the lid of the cookie jar is infinitely better than the harsh scent any perfume or scented candle. Take these to any party or gathering and without fail, you’ll have people clamoring for the recipe, which is the best compliment anyone can receive.
Brown Sugar Cookies
Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated
Makes 24 cookies
2 cups dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F. In a shallow, wide bowl, mix together ¼ cup of the brown sugar and ¼ cup of the granulated sugar. Combine the remaining 1 ¾ cup brown sugar and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a medium skillet (not non-stick) over medium high heat, melt 10 tablespoons of the butter, then continue cooking for 1-3 more minutes until the milk solids caramelize and the butter has turned a deep golden brown. Transfer the butter to a large bowl, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- While the butter rests, mix together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
- Once the butter has rested, add the brown sugar and salt mixture and whisk vigorously to combine, ensuring that no lumps of brown sugar remain. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and whisk vigorously for 30-60 seconds until well combined. Add the flour mixture and stir gently with a rubber spatula until just combined.
- To shape the cookies, take 2 tablespoons of the dough, roll it into a ball, then roll in the brown sugar and granulated sugar mixture. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies only 1 sheet at a time to ensure that the fissures will form. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, rotating halfway through baking, until the edges are set and the fissure have formed but still look moist within the fissures. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.