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Spring is a’coming!


Spring is inching closer and closer to us.

Ok, I know it’s still February but a girl can dream. We’ve been making the usual annual repairs on our gear and getting everything nice and shiny for this summer.

Testing new recipes for our summer menu’s might be my favorite. Jarrett’s the official tester, so I have a feeling it’s his favorite too. This last week I’ve had chocolate chip cookies on the brain. There’s so many recipes and so many variations it’s hard to find the one that’s just right. After countless batches, I think I’ve found the secret. It’s not actually the recipe thats so special, but the butter.

Are you ready? It’s brown butter.

It’s that simple. Brown the butter and cool it before making your batch of cookies. Not going to lie, cooling the butter is what you’re supposed to do but if you’re impatient like I am, you can use the melted brown butter. Granted, the cookies will be a little flatter and more spread out, but they still taste delicious!

 

Don’t know how to make brown butter? It’s easy:

  • Melt butter in a pan over medium heat
  • Use a spatula to stir and make sure the butter is cooking evenly
  • It’ll start to foam and then the color changes from light brown and to a nice toasty-brown
  • Once you smell that nutty aroma and it’s medium brown in color, take the pan off the heat and pour the browned butter into a bowl to cool. The butter will continue to cook a little bit after it has been poured out of the pan. This is the only tricky part. If you wait too long, the milk solids in the butter will burn. Too soon, and the flavor won’t be as nutty and toasty. I’d recommend starting off on the light side to be safe and then when you make more batches to let it get darker.

Here’s my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe:

1/2 cup browned butter, cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp molasses
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
Beat the 1/2 cup of regular butter with the brown sugar for 3 to 5 minutes, then beat in the vanilla extract and molasses.
Pour the cooled brown butter and white sugar into the bowl. Beat for 2 minutes. It will become smooth and light in texture and color.
Then, add the egg and egg yolk, and until just combined.
Add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix on low speed just until the dough just starts to come together.
Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Don’t over mix the dough! A few bits of flour left is what you’re looking for.
Press the dough down into the bowl and cover. Put in the refrigerate for an hour, or however long you can stand. (If you didn’t let the brown butter cool all the way before making the dough, now is a great time to let it set up for longer in the fridge)
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Scoop the dough in 2 tablespoon-sized balls onto baking sheets. Leave some space in between the cookies; they’ll spread as they bake.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re just browning on the edges. Remove them from the oven, and let them to rest on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before moving them. This lets the cookies continue cooking for a little bit and they set up so you can easily take them off the pan. 
Eat warm! If you have leftovers (!?) put them in an airtight container and they will last for serval days. I also like to bake off only the amount of cookies I want for that sitting, and leave the dough covered in the fridge/freezer for later. Then you can have fresh homemade hot cookies whenever you’d like! Or however long the dough lasts for…

 

I think these cookies will need to make it onto river lunches this summer on our Hells Canyon and Salmon River trips!! I love when the summer sun melts them just a little bit, so they taste almost fresh from the oven.

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