Cookie recipe a sweet, salty success
Published 8:19 am Saturday, January 13, 2018
Browned Butter Salty Sugar Cookies
— 1 cup unsalted butter
— 2 cups all-purpose flour
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— 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
— 1 teaspoon salt
— 1 cup packed light brown sugar
— 1/2 cup granulated sugar
— 1 large egg
— 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
— Coarse salt, for sprinkling tops of cookies
Place butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once butter melts and begins to foam, continue to cook until brown specks begin to appear beneath the foam. Butter will have a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and transfer to a glass bowl. Allow to cool.
Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Beat cooled butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until combined. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing just until combined.
Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Using about a tablespoonful of dough, roll into balls and place on prepared pans. Flatten each ball slightly. Sprinkle coarse salt on tops of cookies. (The amount of salt is a preference thing.)
Bake 12-15 minutes, or until edges of cookies are browned and centers are set. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5-10 minutes. Then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Sugar cookies are probably my favorite cookie and this one with salt sprinkled on top just sent my thoughts of sweet and salt over the moon. I found the recipe while looking through Facebook a while back. It comes from bakeorbreak.com.
I printed the recipe and placed it in my folder to make one day soon. The author of the recipe used black sea salt and mentioned its nutritional properties because the coal in it, hence, the black color. I started searching for black flaked sea salt and had no luck, except on the Internet. I finally found some that was a little expensive, but since salt lasts forever I bit the bullet and ordered it.
I finally decided to make these cookies when our neighbors called and invited us to a New Year’s eve get-together. They asked us to bring dessert for 20 people. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try this recipe since I could share with lots of people and get their comments. I also decided to take a couple of pies.
On the Saturday before New Year’s Eve, I made the pies and then started putting the cookie dough together. True to the name of the cookies, the first thing I needed to do was brown the butter.
I placed two sticks in a small pan and turned the burner on to medium heat. As the butter melted and started to foam, I realized I should have used a bigger pan (like the recipe says). To keep the butter from foaming out of the pan, I stirred it constantly. It took longer than I expected, but the butter finally began to get little brown bits in it. I turned the stove off and poured the butter into a bowl so it wouldn’t continue cooking and burn.
While the butter was cooling, I combined the flour, baking soda and salt and set it aside. Then I put the sugars in a bowl and waited until the butter cooled completely. After about 30 minutes I was ready to finish.
I poured the butter into the sugar, added the egg and vanilla, and mixed well. I gradually added the flour mixture and then put a lid on the bowl. The recipe says to refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
Since it was getting a bit late and I was tired of being in the kitchen, I decided to leave the dough in the refrigerator overnight and make the cookies the next afternoon. Then they would be really fresh for the party.
After church on New Year’s Eve we ate lunch and I pulled the sugar cookie dough out of the refrigerator. I lined two cookie sheets with silicone mats and was ready to bake.
I removed the lid from the bowl and tried to scoop a tablespoon of dough from the ball. Now I knew why the recipe said to refrigerate for 30 minutes. The dough was so hard I could not scoop any dough from the giant dough ball.
Since we had our gas logs on in our great room, I took the cookie dough upstairs and placed it on the catwalk to soften. I figured it would take about 20 minutes for the dough to soften so I did some other stuff and checked on it again. It still too hard to work with.
After about an hour, the dough was finally soft enough to scoop. I headed to the kitchen and began rolling out the sugar cookie dough into balls.
I flattened each ball with my fingers, and then sprinkled each with a bit of black sea salt that I’d crushed up (I thought the flakes in the jar were a bit too big for sprinkling on cookies).
I put the cookies in the oven and set the timer for 12 minutes. When the timer sounded, I peeked at the cookies and they looked good and done. I removed them from the oven and let them cool.
While they were cooling, I put another pan into the oven. After a few minutes I removed the first batch from the pan and let them finish cooling on a wire rack.
The second batch came out of the oven just like the first and things were looking good.
I decided to taste one of the cookies, and yum, they had a great taste, but they were crunchy.
I like a soft cookie so I only baked the third batch of cookies for 10 minutes. They didn’t look done, but I pulled them out of the oven anyway. After they cooled, they looked just like the others, but not as brown.
I had enough dough left to make four more cookies so I baked them for 10 minutes also.
When it was time to head to the neighbors, I placed the cookies on a platter, grabbed the pies and we were off.
After a great meal of smoked pork, black eyed peas (my first time trying them, and to my surprise, they weren’t bad), and salads, everyone was ready for dessert.
I let everyone know I needed their honest opinion about the cookies. I loved them (even the more done ones) since I really like sweet and salty stuff.
All opinions were good, except one person thought they were too salty. When he learned the black stuff wasn’t chocolate, he replied, “Oh, OK, they’re alright.”
Overall, the party was a success and I nailed these yummy cookies. We left most of the leftovers for our neighbors, Mark and Kristin and their girls, to finish up. I certainly didn’t need more sweets after the holidays.
Sarah Condley is an amateur baker and chef who is compiling a cookbook of her favorite recipes.