Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
Posted: May 20 2015
Cookies; a category which needs no introduction, and no bulking out in the recipe department. And yet so few examples seem to capture the most delicious of characteristics that a cookie naturally exhibits -- the toasted, nutty, caramelized notes of the Maillard reaction, and salt.
After much research and deliberation, we've decided it all comes down to salt. The most basic and ancient spice without which all of our food would be...bland. While it is of the utmost importance to salt appropriately before baking, a little show of sea salt on top of baked goods will reinforce that seasoning throughout. This is where we turn to good, flaked sea salt, preferably from a traceable locale.
La Jolla Salt Co. fits the bill here; they make a hand harvested product from pristine Pacific sea water sourced out of San Diego, California. A generous sprinkling atop cookie dough just prior to baking yields a cookie with crunch, salinity, and addictive flavor. It's the final flourish of finishing sea salt that brings all the other elements into focus.
1/2 c butter (1 stick), browned and cooled slightly
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla or the seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour, or whole grain pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 c semi-sweet, or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tsp pure La Jolla Salt Co. sea salt
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt. Set aside while you get on with the rest of the ingredients.
In a large bowl stir together the cooled, browned butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla. Add the egg and stir vigorously into the butter and sugar mixture until everything is well-combined and has become a couple of shades lighter in color. Gently fold in the dry ingredients, stopping just before all the flour is incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips, being careful not to over-stir the batter. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. (The dough improves with age, which allows to flour to become fully hydrated.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Take dough out of refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes; this will make it easier to work with. Scoop rounded spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet. With the bottom of a glass, flatten the tops of the cookies slightly and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating front to back halfway through baking time, until the centers are just set. Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
makes about 18 cookies