Monday, April 13, 2015

coconut brown butter cookies.

My ability to become completely fixated and obsessed with an item or food is probably one of my worst quirks.  I have zero patience when I want something - it's as if my brain starts screaming "must get this now".  I've tried to desperately control it, but the second I tell myself no, it just rears it's ugly head even stronger.  I've learned to just give-in.  It's better for everyone and will-power is overrated if you ask me.   
Which is why, less than a week after returning from Nashville, I found myself in my kitchen with a mission to make a buttery coconut cookie that embodied everything the version found south of the Mason-Dixon had. Thankfully the ever-reliable Deb at Smitten Kitchen had already done all of the work for me.  Her coconut brown butter cookie looked to be the thing my dreams were made of.   

And it was.  It was everything and more.  A cookie composed of massive amounts of butter and coconut and just enough flaky sea salt to make them impossibly addicting.   Crispy edges and a slightly chewier center - it's my kind of textured cookie-nirvana.

And while Deb does not suggest a drizzle of bittersweet chocolate, I can't help but think she wouldn't be opposed to such an idea.  (It really is a brilliant addition if you ask me.)   

Coconut Brown Butter Cookies
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen 

Yield: 1 dozen (if you make the massive bakery size), about 2 dozen of a medium size (about 2T dough each) or 4 dozen of a small size (1T each).

1 cup (2 sticks or 225 grams) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (145 grams) packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Slightly heaped 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
4 cups (240 grams) dried, unsweetened coconut chips

See note about chocolate at the end of the recipe.   

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as it seems to take forever (more than 5 minutes) but then turns dark very quickly. Once it is a deeply fragrant, almost nut-brown color, remove from heat and pour butter and all browned bits at the bottom into a measuring cup. Adding 2 tablespoons water should bring the butter amount back up to 1 cup. Chill browned butter in the fridge until it solidifies, about 1 to 2 hours. You can hurry this along in the freezer, but check back and stir often so it doesn't freeze unevenly solid.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
Scrape chilled browned butter and any bits into a large mixing bowl. Add both sugars and beat the mixture together until fluffy. Add egg and beat until combined, scraping down bowl as needed, then vanilla. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl. Pour half of flour mixture into butter mixture and mix until combined, then add remaining flour and mix again, scraping down bowl if needed. Add coconut chips in two parts as well.

Scoop dough into 1, 2 or more (Rubin recommends a 2-inch wide scoop for bakery-sized cookies) balls and arrange a few with a lot of room for spreading on first baking sheet; use the back of a spoon or your fingers to flatten the dough slightly.   Bake first tray of cookies; 1 tablespoon scoops will take 10 to 11 minutes; 2 tablespoon scoops, 12 to 14 minutes, the 2-inch scoop used at the bakery, 14 to 16 minutes; take the cookies out when they’re deeply golden all over.

Cool cookies on baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cookies keep for up to one week at room temperature. Extra dough can be stored in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for a month or more.

Note: If you are like me and enjoy some chocolate with your coconut – melt some bittersweet chocolate in the microwave (watch carefully so it doesn't burn!) and drizzle over the top (about 2 ounces) or more if you feel like being really generous.  

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