I hope everyone is hanging in there. Given that this blog is called the Misanthropic Hostess, you can probably tell how I’m doing.
People keep asking me if I’m doing lots of baking and are surprised to hear that I’m not. Like most (I hope) people, I’m sequestered at home and adjusting to a for-now normal. For me, a big part of this is establishing a consistent and doable day job schedule.
For me, baking isn’t work (I’m not saying people shouldn’t bake or do whatever they can to get through these days–I just personally don’t want to confuse work and baking modes). So, I’ll be sticking to doing my baking on the weekends. Something to look forward to.
In the weeks before social distancing, I baked all of the sweet stuff that was in my freezers to make room for more sensible things like frozen ground turkey and a few trays of a dish TD and I call Shizzyladas. Giving away the baked goods was fun as always. But, I made very fatal error on my part: I forgot to hold anything back for me and TD.
So, last weekend, I made up a batch of dough for one of the few cookies TD and I agree on: Chocolate Chip. These are a little fancier than the norm with browned butter, a bit of rye flour and lots and lots and lots of chocolate. Really, get creative with the chocolate. The great thing about these is that you can make the dough, portion it, chill it and freeze it for on-the-spot baking.
Early returns show that I’m going to have to limit the number of baked cookies available to my housemates and I.
Grown Up Chocolate Chip Cookies
NYT/Toll House/Yo’ Momma Inspired
- 1 1/2 C cake flour
- 3/4 C rye flour
- 1 1/2 C bread flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 C) unsalted butter at room temp [note--brown the butter if you want to get super adult–if browning, use 3 sticks]
- 1 1/4 C light brown sugar
- 1 1/4 C granulated sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 20 ounces (about 3 1/4 cups) dark chocolate disks (you could use any combination of chocolate here. In the cookies pictured I happened to have 6 ounces of solid 72% chocolate that I chopped and combined with 12 ounces of discs).
- In a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter until fluffy (if using brown butter, it may only fluff a bit). Add in sugars and cream until light, 3-4 minutes.
- Add in egg, egg yolk and vanilla beating in between each to combine.
- Stop mixer and add dry ingredients. Mix on lowest speed until just combined. Fold-in your chocolate.
- Scoop dough into desired sized balls. While 1/4 C is a popular size and will give you amazing bakery-sized cookies, I like to use a 2 TBS scoop.
- Refrigerate balls for at least 24 hours (or do as I do and refrigerate until cold and then freeze double bagged until you want to use them).
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your sheets with parchment. Allow a couple of inches in between smaller dough balls and up to four if you are really going for it with the 1/4 C scoop.
- Bake until golden (this is about 11 minutes in my oven from very cold, 13 if frozen).
Sometimes TD will wander into the kitchen when I’m baking, survey the land of often strange ingredients and ask with a sigh, “why can’t you just make chocolate chip cookies?”
He’s basically asking me why I can’t be normal. We’ve been together for 19 years. You’d think he would have stopped asking by now.
But. I am sympathetic to his plight. He’s just looking for a tasty treat while I’m attempting world baking domination with dried hibiscus and tahini.
Earlier this summer, I offered up a peace flag in chocolate chip cookie form. Recognizable enough that TD wouldn’t have to guess the mystery ingredient but just extra enough to keep with my own baking agenda: brown butter caramel crispy chocolate chip cookies.
I told you I am fixated on these nearly-burned but not quite caramel crispies. Add in some brown butter and lots of chocolate and you’ve got an impressive Z score.
Because normal is boring.
Brown Butter Caramel Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Note–you could make the dough and bake in the same day. I happen to like to let my dough marinate over night (or a month in the freezer after I scoop into balls). I’ve written the recipe for an overnight–but do what you want.
- 1 C (8 ounces) brown butter at room temp (need the recipe? brown butter)
- 1 C packed golden brown sugar
- 1/2 C granulated sugar
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/8 C all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 12 ounces (regular sized package) chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 C (or to taste) caramelized crisps (link for recipe)
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking soda. Whisk in salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, add butter. Cream for a couple of minutes.
- Add both sugars, cream for another couple of minutes, scraping down the bowl as you go.
- Beat-in egg and egg yolk one-at-a-time. Beat-in vanilla.
- Pull bowl from standing mixer and gently fold-in flour mixture until nearly combined.
- Fold-in chocolate chips and caramelized rice.
- Using a scoop of desired size (I like a #40 or just under 2 TBS scooper) scoop dough into domes. Line domes onto a baking sheet (separate layers with two parchment sheets), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. Once the cookie domes are cold, you can easily transfer them to a freezer ziplock bag and store for one-off baking for up to a month. Just add a couple of minutes to the cook time.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line backing sheets with parchment.
- Please dough domes on baking sheets leaving a couple of inches between each for spread.
- Bake in oven two-sheets at a time, rotating halfway through. In my ovens, these usually cook in about 10 minutes.
Nowadays, the recipes I choose to bake generally either center on new ingredients or techniques I’ve yet to master.
However, every once in a while I make something for the singular reason that I want to eat it.
That’s exactly what happened when these browned butter coconut cookies popped up in Smitten Kitchen’s Instagram feed. There I was, casually scrolling one weekday afternoon and there they were: nutty, coconutty and buttery. I’m not kidding when I say it took a herculean effort not to grab my car keys and flee my office so that I could go home and start browning butter.
Luckily for my employment status, I held off until the weekend.
They were SO worth the wait: browned butter and coconut were meant to be together. Even better than peas and carrots. I’m telling you. Cripsy on the edges but chewy through the middle, I really can’t think of a more appropriate summer picnic treat.
As if you needed further incentive, in my book, there is nothing that smells better than browning butter. Forget the potpourri or scented candle. If you want to sell your house, brown some butter before the open house.
While the original recipe only calls for coconut chips, the first time I made these I added a cup of butterscotch chips. The second time I used cinnamon chips. I have big plans for the third batch.
Coconut Brown Butter Cookies
From Smitten Kitchen who got the recipe from The City Bakery by way of The Martha Stewart Show. Adapted by The Misanthropic Hostess.
- 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
- 4 C (240 grams) dried, unsweetened coconut chips
- 1 C chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter or cinnamon chips (optional)
- 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 additional chips if using.
- 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.
I’m always on the lookout for a good chocolate chip cookie variation. So, when I came across one that included browned butter I said, ‘yes please and thank you.’ To add to the sophistication (this isn’t your kindergartner’s chocolate chip cookie), I added toasted walnuts and used super dark chocolate chunks.
Not a lot of process photos here because, well, browned butter isn’t very attractive on its own and at its core, this recipe follows basic chocolate chip cookie protocol (go here if you really need additional photos on how to make this cookie).
Two notes. Browned butter will form some sediment during the delicious smelling browning process. To keep this out of the dough I strained the cooled butter before using. Second, I prefer to toast my nuts in a pan rather than in the oven so that I can keep an eye on them (I know, I know). Heat a large pan over medium head, add nuts tossing occasionally until the start to smell toasty.
….aaaaaand we’re back to Coldplay.
Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
I get a weekly recipe email for Southern Food from Diana Rattray. Who knows why I get the email but I always look at the recipes…mostly because I am amazed by what people eat in the South (at least according to Diana Rattray and Paula Dean). This recipe is adapted from one of those weekly emails. Who knew?
- 1 cup unsalted butter, browned and slightly cooled
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temp
- 1 large egg yolk, room temp
- 2 TBS milk
- 1 TBS vanilla
- 2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
- 1 TSP baking soda
- 1 TSP kosher salt
- 2 C dark chocolate chunks (chips would do as well of course)
- I C toasted walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped (about the same size as your chunks or chips)
- To brown butter, heat in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter begins to simmer. Continue cooking, stirring, just until butter begins to turn golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pour off into a measuring cup or bowl, leaving darkest sediment behind. Let the butter cool to room temperature.
- While butter is browning, toast nuts in a pan on the stovetop or in the oven (350 degrees about 10 minutes). Let cool, chop roughly.
- In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat the browned butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and egg yolk, milk, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until well blended.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the egg and butter mixture, mixing on low speed, until a soft dough forms. Scrape the bowl a few times. Stir in the chocolate chunks/chips and walnuts. Cover and chill for about an hour.
- Heat the oven to 375°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop, drop balls of dough onto parchment, allowing about 2 to 3 inches in between the cookies.
- Bake for 6 to 10 minutes, until browned around the edges. Cool completely and transfer to an airtight container for storage.
- Makes about 4 dozen cookies, depending on size.