Thursday, August 14, 2014

Chocolate Cookies- With a Granddaughter!

We were especially lucky this summer when Reeder- our beautiful granddaughter- came for a visit from Virginia.  Of course we had- I mean really had- to make cookies!  If you'll remember from this  blog post when we just moved into our beautiful new kitchen, we have a cookie jar that seems always to be saying "FEED ME"!  And "FEED ME" we did. Chocolate cookies this time of course!

I have been exploring the use of browned butter in the cookies I bake.  I'm still a bit on the fence about just how remarkable this is- though at the moment the feedback is generally positive especially when I used it for chocolate chip cookies-  but then who doesn't like chocolate chip cookies browned butter or not.  That said, with Reeder I decided to make two batches of chocolate cookies- one with browned butter and the other the old fashion way- regular softened butter.

We started by browning the butter. You can read how to brown butter here.

Which looks like this when you're finished.

After the butter is significantly cooled you proceed with the "cookie making" part and we did!

Of course since we were going to be very organized in our experiment we gathered all of our ingredients first.  

CHOCOLATE COOKIES: From here with very slight modifications.


Butter: 1 cup (2 sticks), softened (I'll tell you later about the browned versus softened for these cookies.)
Brown Sugar: 1 1/2 cups
Eggs: 2
Vanilla: 1 tsp
Flour: 2 cups
Cocoa powder: 3/4 cup
Baking soda: 1 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Turbinado (or raw) sugar: 1/2 cup (or more as needed) for rolling the cookie in before baking (you can use plain sugar, but the thick sugar particles in Turbinado Sugar are especially nice for rolling cookies before baking.)


Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt).

Then in a stand mixer (have I mentioned before how easy stand mixers make all baking whether we're talking cakes, cookies, or bread). So anyway, in the stand mixer cream the butter with the sugar until very smooth.  Don't rush this step. 

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until completely mixed.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl.

Mix these just until combined- you don't want to over mix at this stage.

Refrigerate the dough for about an hour.  This improves the texture of the cookie- and also makes it easy to roll the cookies in the sugar before placing them on the cookie sheets.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Then cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transfering to wire cooling racks.

And I almost forgot the best part of this process.  Licking the beaters!

And of course now was the final step.  The Taste Test!

We had 5 tasters in our experiment- Reeder and me of course- and then Grandpa Don (who isn't the best taster of chocolate) and then our very helpful neighbors Ann and Mark Lampe.  The results were mixed.  While the cookies are a big hit- you really must try them- they are for sure a kid pleaser (or any chocolate lover for that matter).  Reeder liked them both- though perhaps just a bit more the texture of the browned butter cookies.  Don liked the plain, I liked the browned butter, Ann liked the browned buttered ones- and Mark the plain.  

That said- you really couldn't tell the difference unless you were told there was a difference and you tasted one after the other.  It seems that with chocolate cookies- and that much cocoa- the chocolate overpowers the subtleties of the effect of the butter.  

I'm going to keep testing this "browned butter" in other recipes- but for this one just skip the extra work with browning the butter.  You're going to love these chocolate cookies! With milk of course.