Because leaving well enough alone is boring, I like to rotate a couple of the cookie selections each year for holiday baking. This year, one of the new kids is a deeply browned butter, lacy coconut and caramel crispy concoction.
This should not come as a surprise considering my current obsession with caramelized rice crispies. As you might recall, I employed them in various and delicious ways including a Cracker Jack inspired bar, an extra chocolate chip cookie and some meta rice cripsie (or is it Krispy…or Krispie) treats.
And then there is my absolute favorite cookie discovery of 2019: Browned Butter Coconut Cookies.
I know. You know. Where I’m going.
These take some time; the butter needs to brown and cool in advance and the caramel crispies need to be made separately. BUT, if these flavors are your jam, it’s totally worth it.
Brown Butter Caramel Crispies
For the Caramelized Crispy Rice
- 2 C crispy rice cereal (have had good results with both regular and brown rice versions)
- 3 TBS water
- 1/2 C granulated sugar
- Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan add sugar. Then add water and mix until sugar dissolves. This is the last time you are going to want to touch the mixture until you take it off the heat the first time.
- Bring mixture to a boil (don’t stir) and allow to simmer until the syrup just starts to brown.
- Remove from heat and mix in cereal (I find a rubber spatula works the best). Gently mix cereal until ever last piece is covered in syrup. By the time you there, everything will have dried and look like its dusted in snow (and now we know how they make Frosted Flakes).
- Return to heat over a medium burned and fold constantly. The sugar will start to melt and caramelize. Keep folding until you reach desired depth of caramelization. I know the version I like is done when the sugar starts to smoke.
- Spread cereal on parchment lined baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
- From here you can store in an airtight container in big hunks.
For the cookies
- 1 C (2 sticks or 225 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 TBS water
- 1/2 C plus 2 TBS (125 grams) granulated sugar
- 3/4 C (145 grams) packed light-brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 C plus 3 tablespoons (175 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Slightly heaped 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3 C (180 grams) dried, unsweetened coconut chips
- 1/2 batch caramelized crispy rice (so feel free to eat the other half)
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Once it is a deeply fragrant, almost nut-brown color, remove from heat and pour butter and all browned bits at the bottom into a measuring cup. Adding 2 tablespoons water should bring the butter amount back up to 1 cup.
- Chill browned butter in the fridge until it solidifies, about 1 to 2 hours.
- Scrape chilled browned butter and any bits into a large mixing bowl. Add both sugars and beat the mixture together until fluffy.
- Add egg and beat until combined, scraping down bowl as needed, then vanilla.
- Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl. Pour half of flour mixture into butter mixture and mix until combined, then add remaining flour and mix again, scraping down bowl if needed. Add coconut chips in two parts as well.
- Fold-in caramelized rice crispies.
- Scoop dough into 1 inch balls, flatten each slightly and arrange all onto a baking sheet (separating layers with parchment paper). Refrigerate for an hour up to over night.
- When you are ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
- Arrange a few with a lot of room for spreading on the baking sheets. Bake cookies until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes (rotate halfway through cooking). Repeat to bake all cookies.
- Cool cookies on baking sheets for 1 to 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cookies keep for up to one week at room temperature. Extra dough can be stored in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for a month or more.