Friday, November 11, 2016

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

What do you do when you don’t feel like sitting at the computer?
These aren’t just any cookies; they are browned butter chocolate chip deliciousness that will slam all your senses.  Watch that beautiful butter melt and listen to it sizzling away.  Close your eyes and breathe in the smells coming from your kitchen.  Feel that fresh-out-of-the-oven cookie warm your soul.  And finally, sink your teeth into one of these.  Wow, that’s beyond good.
A great thing about this recipe is that it makes about 3 dozen cookies, which is good considering how quickly they’ll be gone.
1 C. unsalted butter (I used Kerrygold, but any unsalted butter is fine)
1 C. light brown sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (Costco has a GREAT price on vanilla!)
1 tsp. molasses (I know this is rarely used, but it will last for all of eternity in your cupboard.)
½ C. sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 ¼ C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C. chocolate chips (roughly, and you can use any flavor or combo of chips)
½ C. chopped pecans (again, Costco.  During the holidays, they have a huge bag for a great price.)
Sea salt to sprinkle on top (Costco also has a good deal on this)

First, let’s get the butter going.
You’ll want to babysit this.  It isn’t something you just melt and walk away from.  I used one of my very loved cast iron pans, the smaller one.  Put 8 T. (half of your butter) into the pan on medium.  Give it a little jiggle here and there until is completely melted.  After a few minutes, it will begin to sizzle and get foamy.  Give it a swirl.  Do not walk away!  Keep watching and frequently giving it a swirl.  After about ten minutes (APPROXIMATELY.  Go by eye and smell!) the crackling will slow down.  Keep swirling!  The separated bits at the bottom of the pan are milk solids and should be golden brown and delicious (GBD.) and it will smell amazing.  Remove your pan from the heat and, if using cast iron especially, pour into a Pyrex measuring cup or bowl immediately to stop cooking.  You’re going to let this cool while you get everything else ready.

Switching gears.
In a large mixing bowl, beat your other 8 T. of butter with the brown sugar for 3-5 minutes until it is well blended.  Set a timer and do it for the time specified.  You will see a change in color and consistency.  Then beat in the vanilla and molasses.
Here’s where your browned butter jumps into the party.  You want to make sure it has cooled down completely, at least 20 minutes.  Add it into the mixture, along with the sugar and beat for 2 minutes.  Set your timer.  2 minutes.  The mixture will lighten in color and texture.  Add your one egg and egg yolk and beat for 1 minute longer.  1 minute.
In a separate bowl, sift your dry ingredients:  flour, salt and baking soda.
On low speed, beat this into the wet ingredients just until it’s incorporated.
Scrape down the bowl and add in your chips and pecans, making sure anything dry that might have been missed is mixed in.  (My last chip combo was about a cup of dark chocolate and a cup of milk chocolate chips.  Each.  See how that measurement for chips is flexible? ;)  )
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Clean up your kitchen and get the cookie sheets and parchment paper set up.  We’re heading to phase 3.
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Scoop a little smaller than golf ball sized balls of dough onto the parchment covered sheet.  You should be able to fit a dozen.  Just make sure to leave space in between so they have room to spread.  Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on top of each one.  I did a test pair- one with and one without- and that slight taste of salt on your lips does make it better.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, then remove and let cool for a minute.  Then they’ll slide right off the parchment onto a cooling rack.  Try not to eat one.  Yeah, right.
Now I know you can do two dozen at a time, but I find that you end up needing to rotate them halfway through so they cook evenly, and then you’re letting heat out of the oven and are still not going to get a consistent cookie.  Up to you.  I do one tray at a time, which also allows the other tray to cool in between batches.
Now eat them until you are sick.
A couple of notes-
You could probably freeze these.  You can probably freeze the dough.  I’ve never done either.  Just be sure that they are packed well to avoid freezer burn.  A hint for the dough (and anything else you’re freezing) is to put it into a Ziploc and flatten it.  It fits better in the freezer as well as thaws more evenly.
You can put them in an airtight container but I let ours sit on the counter (because I knew they’d be gone in a day) and they were the perfect texture.
Before Christmas, WinCo has Guittard chips for $1.88!!!
They have milk, semi-sweet, dark, and white chocolate, mint and butterscotch!

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