Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Forgetful Frida

Fact:  I always forget which burner I turned on.  Usually it is the wrong one, and consequently I am wondering why my pan hasn't heated up.  And then it's Oh...  duh.  *hah*  [switches burners]

It's forgetful little things like this that remind me how precious memory is and how close I am to thirty.  THIRTY.  Thirty.  Let's breathe and remember life is about constantly learning, and I am learning to remember which burner I turned on.

I forgot which burner I turned on when I went to make these cookies.  I couldn't understand why my butter hadn't melted.  It just slid to the edge of the pan (because my stove's burners have a nice ghetto lean to them), and remained in its solid state.  When I reached to check the temperature dial, I felt how warm my wrist suddenly became and then realized the back burner was on.  I'm going to make an *awesome* elderly lady someday.  Look out for meeeee!

Now you're thinking, "Wait... Kasey... honey... why are you using the stove top to make cookies?  Are you okay?  Do you need to sit down?".  No.  I do not need to sit down.  This was on purpose (unlike the burner switch-up), and there is a reason for my madness.

Brown.  Butter.  POW.

I've found my new favorite cookie trick, and it's about to get cuh-ray-z in here.  It's about browning half your butter, thus releasing the nutty, third layer of flavor to your cookies.  It's about intensifying your cookie flavor profile and bringing it up to par with the rich chocolate chunks of goodness you'll throw in.  You don't want to just have a cookie base for the chocolate to nestle into - no.  You want a hotbed of crispy, lip-smackingly good baked cookie dough to hit that chocolate into the outfield.  Run that home run and brown that butter!

*whew*  It's that good.

You'll also notice I've thrown what appear to be some colored pebbles into the dough.  Be not afraid, dear reader, for these are the pebbles of magic from Trader Joe's that you can find with the chocolate and the cookies above the frozen food.  These are the chocolate covered sunflower seeds that come in beautiful girly colors of pink, lavender, brown, and yellow.  This was a last minute decision on my part for these cookies, and they really make them feel extra summery and special.  Add them or don't, but know that they're worth your out-of-the-way trip to to TJ's to snatch them up.  It should be noted:  I didn't measure how much of the sunflower seeds I put in.  I maybe, sort of, kinda just dumped the whole box into the dough mixture, as illustrated by the overflowing seeds in the above picture.  Have at it.

Don't like sunflower seeds?  Try roughly chopped almonds, walnuts, or  pecans.  Heck!  Go wild and add a different kind of chocolate to kick this thing into high gear.  Go crazy, yo.  Go.  Crazy.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Lovingly and slightly adapted from Joy the Baker.

1 cup (two sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark, it's just a matter of taste)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6oz) roughly chopped dark chocolate
1 box candy coated sunflower drops from Trader Joe's

In a small, silver-bottomed skillet, bring 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the butter to a sizzle over medium heat.  Let the water cook out the butter (it will foam and pop, so use a screen to prevent a huge mess or burns).  Swirl the pan occasionally to prevent burning the butter.  You will start to see little tiny brown bits of butter on the bottom of the pan when the popping subsides.  Remove immediately from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl to cool slightly.

In the bottom of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the other 1/2 cup of butter with the granulated sugar, about 3-5 minutes on medium speed.  Add the vanilla and molasses and blend for another minute.  Add the brown sugar and blend again.  Add both the egg and the egg yolk, mix until just combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  All at once, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until the flour just disappears.

Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold in the chocolate and sunflower drops.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place racks in the oven in the upper third and middle of the oven.  Preheat to 375 degrees F.  Prep two large rimless baking sheets with parchment paper.

When the dough has chilled and the oven has come up to temperature, begin making 1 inch dough balls (roughly two tablespoons) with the help of a small ice cream scoop.  Roll the dough balls around in your palms to get a perfect shape.  Place dough balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time.  When they are slightly golden, they will be done.  Remove from the oven, let sit on the cookie sheet for about 1 minute, and then use a spatula to remove and place on wire racks to finish cooling.  Proceed with the second batch of dough.

Cookies will keep fresh in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  Would also make an amazing ice cream sandwich, now that I think about it...

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