Monday, September 2, 2013

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles - Baked Elements

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles - made dough August 18, 2013 from Baked Elements by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
It's September.  Not even the first day but the second.  Where did summer go?  Technically it still IS summer but let's face it, once it's Labor Day, summer's over.  Kids back in school?  I say break out the cookies for lunch boxes or after school snacks. Starting with these.

I love browned butter.  I have an almost Pavlovian response to it every time I read it as an ingredient in a recipe. I've made Brown Butter Snickerdoodles before but there's room in the universe and my blog for more than 1 version of it and anything from the "Baked" family of cookbooks has a good chance of being a winner.
I didn't even know there was a third Baked book out until a friend casually mentioned it.  You know my ears perked up and amazon was my destination before I drew my next breath.  Yup, sure enough, there it was: Baked Elements.  I think I must've lost a few minutes of conscious thought because the next thing you know, I was getting a confirmation email from amazon outlining the expected delivery date of my new baking book.  How'd that happen? I decided not to dwell on my lapse of consciousness it too closely but just rolled with it and waited for my book to arrive 2 days later (thank you, prime membership and free 2-day shipping).
I've made lots of snickerdoodles in my baking past.  I've even made lots of good snickerdoodles, modesty aside, and I know an 8-year-old Vanilla King who can attest to it.  But these are really, really good snickerdoodles. The browned butter gives them a decadent richness and I used fresh Vietnamese hoity-toity cinnamon from Sur La Table.  Snickerdoodle heaven.
Now you do have to chill these first but I do that with almost all cookies anyway.  The directions say to chill the bowl of cookie dough then when you're ready to bake, make them into dough balls and bake them.  I prefer to make them into dough balls first, depending on the softness of the dough.  If the dough is too soft, chill for 10-15 minutes then make them into dough balls and chill them for another 1 to 24 hours.  But don't chill them completely then make into dough balls.  Why?   Because it's much harder to portion out chilled dough than unchilled dough.  It's easier and faster to make them into dough balls then chill them.  Not to mention they'll chill a lot faster because they're now in individual dough balls instead of one mass of dough in a bowl.  And if you chill the whole bowl of dough, when you portion them into dough balls later, you sometimes have to thaw them a little to get the cookie dough malleable enough to be scooped out and then you just wasted/undid some of that chilling time.  I'm all for baking efficiency so I make the dough balls first then chill them.  If you're not going to bake these within a day of mixing the dough, just put the chilled dough balls into a freezer bag and store them in your freezer until you're ready to bake them.

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  1. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally until the foam subsides and the butter turns nut brown, 8 to 10 minutes.  Pour the brown butter through a strainer directly into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat the butter on medium-low speed to release the heat and bring it to room temperature, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and the salt.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the eggs and milk and whisk lightly.
  4. Once the butter is cooled, turn off the mixer, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar and the brown sugar and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again for a few seconds.  Turn the mixer to low and stream in the egg mixture.  Continue beating on medium speed until thoroughly combined, 30 to 45 seconds.
  5. Add the flour mixture in three parts, beating after each addition for 10 to 15 seconds, or until just barely incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gather dough into a mound in the middle.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 400⁰F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. In a wide-mouthed bowl, stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of cinnamon until the mixture is uniform in color.
  8. Using a small 2-tablespoon-size ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, scoop dough into balls and rolls the dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Place the cookies about 1 ½” apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until the cookies are cracked and the fissures are set.
  9. Set the pans on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes.  Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely.

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