Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies, right? At least that’s what I hope, since I’ve made a batch to send to a stranger as part of Desserts for the Deserving. While browsing some of my favorite food blogs, I came across this recipe by Picky Palate and thought it would be perfect — it’s not too fancy that it would put anyone off with strange ingredients, but it’s slightly more indulgent than a typical chocolate chip cookie. Comforting, yet classy.
I am a mix-your-dry-ingredients-first kind of gal, so — after deciding to make a double batch to account for any “losses” that may occur in the taste-testing process — I skipped right to step 3.5 of the recipe and combined my flours, pudding, salt, corn starch and baking soda in a bowl. Turns out there’s only about five tablespoons of pudding powder in a box, and after putting four of them into the bowl, I seriously considered just dumping the rest of it in. (Had someone else not had to deal with the results, I would have.)
Then, back to the beginning: let’s brown some butter. I quickly realized that browning the butter might be the first step for a reason — because it’s boring. I probably could have easily assembled my dry ingredients while the butter was browning, but given my history of burning things, it’s probably a good thing that I remained vigilant during this part.
Browning butter is about as easy as it sounds: Stick your butter in a pot, and watch it progress through a few stages until it turns a deep golden brown with a layer of foam on top and gives off a slightly nutty aroma.
Once you’ve browned your butter, let it cool for about five minutes before adding your eggs, vanilla and sugar. Pro tip: use eggs that you’ve let sit out at room temperature, as they’ll mix with the other ingredients much more easily, instead of having to chase little bits around your bowl. And if you’re like me and forgot to let your eggs sit out on the counter? Stick them in some warm water for a few minutes before adding them to your mixture.
After adding your dry ingredients and your chocolate chips, start plopping your dough onto a cookie tray by the tablespoon. Literally — I used a tablespoon. They don’t have to be pretty — in fact, I think the more organically they’re shaped, the better. Perfect cookies are for grocery stores and bakeries. These cookies have character.
Once your cookies are on the baking sheet, go ahead and give them a generous sprinkle with some salt before popping them into the oven. I didn’t have fleur de sel, so I used a grinder of sea salt instead.
Sometimes I have trouble with the baking times suggested in recipes, which isn’t surprising given everyone’s oven is slightly different. This recipe called for ten minutes of baking at 350 degrees followed by ten minutes of cooling directly on the cookie sheet — and the cookies turned out perfectly. They spread a bit more than I expected them to given the pictures accompanying the original recipe, but that could be due to how warm it was in my kitchen and the fact that I didn’t refrigerate my dough at all.
The brown butter in these cookies provides an unexpected depth of flavor, while the salt is a nice contrast to the sweetness of the batter and chocolate. All in all, an excellent treat to make for a friend, a deserving stranger, or yourself!