Our go-to afternoon pick-me-up is usually some kind of sweet and caffeine combination. While surrounded by a multitude of cafés that can satisfy this craving with a biscotti and espresso, we often take the initiative into our own hands.
To continue our new found appreciation for burnt butter, we incorporated the nutty, robust flavor into an all time favorite baked treat. After experimenting with countless chocolate chip cookie recipes, we sought a foolproof source, Cook’s Illustrated. Their cookie using browned butter has a rich and complex flavor, soft and chewy interior, and crispy and crackly exterior. Before baking, we both sampled the uncooked cookie dough (arguably the best part of the cookie-making process), and were surprised by the "caramelly", candy-like taste.
Browned Butter Chocolate Cookies
(adapted from Cook’s Illustrated's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies)
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
14 T (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 c granulated sugar
3/4 c packed dark brown sugar
1 t salt
2 t vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 c semisweet chocolate chunks
3/4 c chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour and baking soda together.
Heat 10 T butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Bring to a slow boil. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, allowing the butter to bronze. The butter will foam a bit after the first 5 minutes or so. Keep cooking and stirring for a few more minutes until the melted butter is a rich amber color. Remove from heat and transfer browned butter to large bowl. Stir the remaining 4 T butter into the hot butter until completely melted.
Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to the bowl with the butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for another 30 seconds. Repeat the process two more times. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks and walnuts, and give the dough a final stir
Using a large spoon or small ice cream scoop, divide the dough into 16 portions, each about 2 T. Arrange the dough balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until golden brown and still puffy, 11 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
The caffeine component to our afternoon jolt is a much simpler recipe, but packs a punch equally as flavorful. While delving into some Pho Ga at our favorite Vietnamese spot, Pho Pasteur, we first tried the Southeast Asian take on iced coffee. The version is flavored with sweetened condensed milk that adds a smooth richness and sweetness to the dark-roasted coffee. While we do not have the classic Vietnamese coffee filter to brew an authentic blend, we simply brew our favorite Joe and swirl in a few spoonfuls of sweetened condensed milk over ice.
Vietnamese-Inspired Iced Coffee
2 T dark-roast ground coffee (we love Rao's Coffee Roasting Company)
6 oz water
2 T sweetened condensed milk
Brew coffee. In a large glass, pour the warm coffee and stir in sweetened condensed milk until blended. Add the ice, stir, and serve.
The addition of browned butter to the cookies and the sweetened condensed milk to the coffee are two simple enhancements that truly revolutionize these classic treats.