Monday, August 5, 2013

ginger and brown butter dark chocolate chunk cookies.

I've found chocolate chip cookie nirvana (at least for the moment).  

Yes, this is the closest I've ever come to chocolate chip cookie perfection (and I've been looking for a long time.)  Apparently the key to perfection is brown butter which may be the single greatest thing thing to happen to a cookie.  Brown butter if you are unfamiliar with it and all its goodness is basically cooked butter. As the butter cooks it develops a bold nutty taste.  It's the complex, intriguing cousin to regular butter and it's my new best friend.  The butter brings an unbelievable extra dimension of flavor to the cookie.  A super deep and complex caramel flavor that has me addicted.  The ginger is genius.  It brings a level of spice that is subtle but leaves you wondering what just hit your tongue.  Together all the components just work to produce a cookie that is magical and my new favorite.  

Ginger and Brown Butter Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Recipe from Une Gamine dans La Cusine 

Makes about 12 LARGE cookies

11 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons fresh ground ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
Fleur de sel, for sprinkling (optional but highly recommend)

Melt 10 Tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan (set the remaining 1 Tablespoon aside). Cook over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until the butter turns brown and develops a rich nutty aroma- about 5-8 minutes, depending on the heat. {Note: The butter will go through a "foamy" stage, once it settles down, keep a close watch on the colour.} Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside to cool to room temperature. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the granulated sugar and fresh ginger. Use your fingers to rub the ginger into the sugar until it's slightly moistened and fragrant; Set aside. {Note: If you're using ground ginger, just toss it in with the dry ingredients.}

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar (and ground ginger, if using instead of fresh). Add this mixture to the bowl of granulated sugar/ginger. Whisk to combine. Add the cooled brown butter and the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter. Using the paddle attachment, beat on med-low until you're left with something that resembles clumpy, wet sand.  Add the egg and beat on low until just combined. Switch over to a large rubber spatula and fold in both chopped chocolates.{Note: My batter was a tad dry, but once I started forming the dough into cookies, it became more cohesive.} 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. For each cookie, measure out about a 1/3 cup of dough. Form each into a ball, place on the cookie sheet, and flatten slightly (to a little less than 1/2-inch thickness). Once all the dough has been measured out, cover the sheet with plastic wrap and chill for about 12 hours. Note: The longer you chill the dough, the better the flavor

When you're ready to bake: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line another cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place about 4 cookies on the sheet--leave about 1-inch of space between each cookie. Sprinkle with a little bit of Fleur de sel (if using). Bake for 8-11 minutes, or until the cookies are light golden in colour. {Note: My cookies were perfect after 9 minutes.} The cookies may look uncooked in the middle but they will firm up as they cool. Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for about 8 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.  

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