What's in a Name? That which we call a Cookie by any other name.... with so many variations and nuances just in the Large Chocolate Chunk Cookie genre alone, let's not even *bitchyrealityTVvoice* taaaalk about cookies of other textures or sizes. Kids, let's focus today in play. We're zoning in on large Chocolate Chunk Cookies and within that, narrowing it down to ones using browned butter (VS creaming it or just melting butter straight). You know how you know a food group in general has reached an exalted status? When it inspires divisive debates on not only where has "the best XXX in Place ZYX (haha my chinese initials)" but also on what constitutes the best version of this particular food. Taste, and "best", is always subjective, but keep an open mind and you may just discover another version of something hardwired in your mind, or see things with fresh eyes like Andy Grammar croons, suddenly in love with a stranger...
Well, isn't re-discovery just what the antidote needed for everyday life? :b
When developing this recipe, I had pictured this sinful ratchet of a cookie - something that was crisped and caramelized along the edges, fudgy and gooey in the centre, with nutty, toffee notes just ringing throughout the dough, which also happens to be rich with an obscene amount of molten dark chocolate rivulets. Yes, this is in-yo-face. Like nouveau riche clad in monogram designer pieces from head to toe, the logos flashing at every turn. You can't miss it. They're also cookies of a flatter variety, not the huge humps with severely underbaked centres. Okay, let's get straight to how we're doubling up on that browned butter flavour, and how this doesn't require waiting 24 hours for your cookie dough to develop flavour.
1) Browned Butter is basically melting and heating butter up until milk solids separate and then get toasty. Those white bits will float around, and subsequently turn a lovely golden brown colour, releasing nutty, caramelized notes. Have a watchful eye though cause it's a fine line between browned and burnt butter.
2) Double Browned Butter. What's better than Buerre Noisette? Double the Noisette. To do that, we're adding milk powder to our browned butter, essentially doubling up on that caramelized, nutty, browned butter flavour. We want that just RiNGiNg in our cookie dough.
3) Water. While browning butter leads to many magical flavour compounds, it also evaporates all the water in the butter. This leads to a cookie that doesn't have sufficient gluten development (aka it will be too soft). To combat that, we add some water back into the browned butter.
4) Dark Brown Sugar. To get the cookie even richer and fudgier, we're going dark. Dark brown sugar, that is. It's got more molasses in it than light brown sugar, and that means a richer, gooier flavour in your cookie.
5) White Sugar. We're also using white sugar in the batter so that A) the dark brown sugar doesn't overpower everything B) the cookie still gets a chance to develop a crispness around the edges.
6) Resting the dough. You do need to chill the dough before it's more manageable (otherwise, it's a nightmare to shape, as with doughs with melted butters), so allow it to firm up. Letting it chill overnight in your fridge will also aid the dough in developing more flavour. Though if you're in a hurry, you can definitely get away with chilling it for a couple of hours cause there's so much complex, aromatic compounds built into the dough already!
7) Baking. Remember to space your cookies apart from each other. This dough spreads a fair bit so if your cookies are placed too close to one another, they'd conjoin. (This word is bringing back foggy memories of a Southpark episode..)
8) Baking Time. To get the centres all ooey and gooey, you don't want to fully bake and set the cookies. And you don't want them so pale and raw like a Levain-style cookie. You want them just slightly underbaked. Experiment with your oven and check the timing to see what works best.
9) Pinch of instant Espresso powder to enhance the taste of the chocolate.
130g unsalted butter
water, as needed (read step 2)
30 to 35g red miso
pinch of instant espresso powder (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6g milk powder
70g dark brown sugar
70g white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
150g all-purpose flour
150g dark chocolate chunks
toasted sesame seeds for garnish
1) To brown the butter, melt it in a saucepan over low heat. There will be a sizzling sound as the water initially evaporates. You need the moisture gone for it to brown, kinda like frying something. Then, you'll notice white foamy bubbles appearing. When more white foamy bubbles appear, add in your milk powder, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of your pan. Make sure to do this over low heat. Eventually, the entire mixture will turn brown and your kitchen will smell like nutty butter. You'll know it's done cause.. you'll smell it. Then quickly pour the browned butter out into another bowl to arrest further cooking. Like i said, just a quick slide away from burnt butter.
2) With whatever browned butter you've got, weigh it. Add water back into the butter, until it reaches 130g again. Let everything cool to room temperature before proceeding to the next step.
3) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your butter, miso, vanilla, espresso powder (if using), dark brown sugar, and white sugar. You just need to combine this.
4) Add your egg and whisk till everything is emulsified. Add your flour and chocolate chunks, mixing until just combined. Put it in your fridge for at least a couple hours. You want the dough to firm up enough before you shape them. To shape them, take your dough out of the fridge and let it soften a little before portioning them out. You should get 6 large cookies out of this.
5) When you're ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees celsius. Space your cookies far apart on your sheet tray, using multiple trays or working in batches if necessary. When your oven has been sufficiently pre-heated, bake your trays of cookies for 8 to 11 minutes.
When fresh out of the oven, sprinkle some sesame seeds and/or sea salt on top of the cookies. Let it cool down (as much as you can wait) before digging in. Enjoy!
P/S: Working on a Recipe Reels for this soon on my IG.