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Smoked Brown Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Alright, team, you asked for it, and I will provide. These cookies are undoubtedly the best I’ve ever made myself, and after running a few different test batches to see the best approach, I have decided on the approach I am sharing with you now. There are three main components to these cookies that set them apart from others:

1. The butter is browned first, to provide flavors of caramel without adding any extra ingredients.

2. The browned butter is then cooled, then smoked with hickory smoke for 40 mins. This gives the sweetness and fat in the cookie an extra level of flavor you don’t find in other baked goods.

3. I use half cake flour and half all-purpose flour, to promote a chewier, taller, softer cookie.

Now, if you don’t have a smoker, that’s fine, you can skip step #2, and still come away with a fantastic cookie. If you do have a smoker, I would recommend cold-smoking the chocolate chips too. When buying your chocolate chips (REAL chocolate discs are best though), make sure the first ingredient is cocoa, or at least chocolate liquor. If not, the first ingredient will probably be sugar or corn syrup, which means there’s barely any actual chocolate in them, and the texture will be more gritty, as well as not melting in the best way. I opt for bittersweet chocolate (70% and above) to get a serious chocolate flavor in the cookie. It’s important to let the butter cool enough that it won’t instantly melt all the sugar when you add it to the bowl, but don’t let the butter harden either. It is also very important to cover the dough with a cloth and refrigerate for at least 30mins before baking them. The cake batter doesn’t have gluten in it like all-purpose does, so the extra eggs are important to add for binding. I’ve found that it binds better when half the eggs are added, mixed in, then the other eggs are added after.

Using a small ice cream scooper will ensure that all your cookies are the same size when scooped out of the batter, which makes for a uniform density and level of doneness across your batch.

This makes a big batch, about 24 big cookies, so you will have enough to freeze for later. Or, like me, enough to trade with friends for venison and elk meat.

Blah blah blah, life stories, no one likes scrolling for two minutes to get to the recipe in an article, so let’s get to it!

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 blocks of butter (2 cups)
  • 1-1/2 cups cane sugar
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-3/4 cups cake flour
  • 2tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • At least 10oz of REAL bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 4 eggs
  • 2tsp vanilla extract

 

Making the Butter:

Put a large skillet on the stovetop over 45% of the maximum heat of the burner, and put all the butter in the pan. Stir constantly, and stay near the butter, watching it. Chunks will form in the center, and that’s fine. When the bubbles start disappearing, it’s about to turn brown. Stir continuously at this point, as it can easily burn if you aren’t careful. Making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan, as soon as the liquid starts to turn a shade of brown, immediately remove from heat and stir for two minutes. Set aside and let cool.

If you have a smoker, cold smoker, or portable smoking gun, smoke the butter for 40mins with hickory wood. I like to put mine in a tupperware with a large surface area for maximum smoke absorption. Stir twice in the 40 mins to distribute the smoke flavor.

The butter should look like this after browning

 

 

While Butter is Smoking:

In a large bowl, combine the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and baking powder, making sure to mix evenly.

 

Once Butter is Smoked and Cooled:

Pour sugar and butter (all the little chunks too!) together in large mixing bowl, preferably an electric mixer. Mix on 40% of max speed for 60sec, then add two of the whole eggs and vanilla extract, and mix for another 60sec.

Slowly add in the flour mixture until all is added to the bowl, and mix for 60-90sec. The mixture will be evenly-textured, but not quite sticking together.

Add the remaining two eggs and mix for another 90sec.

Add the chocolate chips and mix until the chocolate pieces are evenly distributed. Sample the dough vigorously, for science!

Cover the bowl with a cloth and place in the fridge for 30mins.

 

The Final Touches:

Preheat the oven to 375F, and make sure you’re using the center rack. On an ungreased cookie sheet, use an ice cream scooper to make perfect balls of dough, and fit 7-9 dough balls on the cookie sheet, spaced evenly apart. Place the cookie sheet in the oven horizontally (the wide side in) and bake for 13-14mins. You will need to bake in batches. As the batches finish, remove them from the cookie sheet immediately and place on a cooling rack, or at least on a paper towel.

Repeat until all dough is baked, and sample vigorously, again, for science!

 

Enjoy your hard work, and let me know in the comments how they turned out for you!

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