Sunday, August 26, 2012

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

From the number of different Snickerdoodle recipes you can find on the web, it's obvious it's a favorite of many a peep.  It's one of those cookies I don't often bake because they suit my tastebuds more than hubs and we all know what that means.  This version of the nostalgic little cookie has a slightly sophisticated addition in the form of brown butter.  Brown butter is like makes everything better and it gives these a nutty quality that perfectly counters the sweetness.

Don't be scurred of browning butter.  It's super easy but does require that you pay attention.  As soon as the foam subsides don't leave the stove.  It can go from wonderfully brown to burnt rather quickly!  If you're new to the process, I suggest using a pan with a light colored bottom so you can easily see the color of the butter changing.  It's really worth the extra effort in these cookies.

Here's the recipe:

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
BAKED Elements, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat swirling the pan occasionally until the foam subsides and the butter turns nut brown, 8 to 10 minutes.  Pour the browned butter through a strainer directly into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat the butter on medium-low speed to release the heat and bring it to room temperature, 5 to 7 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the salt.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs and milk and whisk lightly.

Once the butter is cooled, turn off the mixer, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar and the brown sugar, and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again for a few seconds.  Turn the mixer to low and stream in the egg mixture,  Continue beating on medium speed until thoroughly combined, 30 to 45 seconds.

Add the flour mixture in three parts, beating after each addition for 10 to 15 seconds, or until just barely incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gather the dough into a mound in the middle.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a wide-mouthed bowl, stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of cinnamon until the mixture is uniform in color.

Using a small 2-tablespoon-size ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, scoop the dough into balls and roll the dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture (Alternatively, measure the dough using a tablespoon and use your hands to form it into a ball before rolling in the cinnamon sugar mixture.)  Place the cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until the cookies are cracked and the fissures are set. (We prefer our snickerdoodles chewy.  If you want a slightly crunchier cookie, bake for an additional  1 to 2 minutes, but still take care to not overbake the cookies.)

Set the pans on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes.  Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely.

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