Brown Butter Cookies

I can’t resist the taste or smell of browned butter. I am feeling a little “snacky” these days, thank you nature, and all I can think about is guacamole and browned butter. So, I turned it into a cookie! Not the guac, haha, I have to let perfection lie on that one.

This cookie has a crisp delicate body that literally melts away in your mouth. The lack of egg gives it so much character, and it almost acts as a less dense shortbread. It is a very different cookie, and it is delicious and versatile.

These are a lot of recipes for this cookie out there, mine is a little different because I use a little Maple Sugar in mine. I like to pay homage to my home state in my baking. It actually really makes a difference. The taste is so smooth and savory. I like the idea of a savory cookie. Maybe next time I will toss some Taleggio Cheese in there.

After spending the last few days working with chocolates, blogs are on their way, I wanted something less sweet, more satisfying . The smell wafting from the oven is worth it alone. It makes my home smell like heaven. And yes, my version of heaven is filled with butter!

So, you will need…

  • 2 Sticks Sweet Cream, Unsalted Butter
  • 2/3 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Maple Sugar, a little maple goes a long way
  • 2 1/3 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp. Coarse Sea Salt, plus extra to sprinkle on top.

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 325 Degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, melt butter on low heat until browned. About 7-9 minutes.
  3. Once butter is browned remove from heat and add granulated sugar and Maple Sugar. Stir in until well combined. Don’t wait for the sugar to dissolve because it isn’t going to. 😉 Let cool for about 5 minutes until cooled.
  4. Combine the flour and baking powder and slowly mix into the butter mixture until a smooth delicious dough forms.
  5. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on prepared baking sheets.  Give each ball a little room to expand.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 18-20 minutes or until edges start to look golden blonde.

You can pair this cookie with a creamy soft cheese and some fruit, or toss it on top of a nice bowl of frozen custard. There is no wrong way to eat these. Plus the smell is intoxicating, so even if you don’t like cookies, bake them! Plus it gives your guy a little something to look forward to. Which makes him super sweet and compliant 😉

Happy Baking!

Honey Sea Salt Caramels

Fun Fun Fun!!! The last time I was in San Francisco I was staying with my darling friend Megan, and across from her little studio apartment there was a coffee shop that sold the most amazing chocolate covered Sea Salt Caramels. I went there nearly everyday to get one. So, I was having a little flash back and I thought to myself, “How hard could it be?”

Turns out it is pretty darn easy if you have the inspiration and the motivation! This caramel is soft, smooth and buttery with a salty finish. The Chocolate adds an entirely new layer of flavor and the whole thing is a delicious combo. Any woman who has ever craved the sweet and salty combo will adore this recipe! There is something to be said for making this combination work, there is a delicate balance, and after a few tries I found the balance I was looking for. I think that the honey really makes this recipe work, but you can decide for yourself!

So, you will need…

  • 1 1/3 C. Heavy Cream
  • 2 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 C. Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/3 C. Honey
  • 6 Tbs. Butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 3 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 C. Dark Chocolate (Ghirardelli is the best!)

Here was my process…

  1. Prepare a baking sheet, a deep one, by lining it with tin foil and spraying it with non stick cooking spray. You want your caramel to sit about and inch high, maybe a little less.
  2. Next bring cream to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Stir in sugar, corn syrup and honey until it begins to boil. Make sure to use a pastry brush dipped in water to wipe down the sides of the pot so that sugar crystals don’t form.
  4. Stirring the caramel occasionally, cook until the caramel reaches 257 degrees F.
  5. Immediately remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and Sea Salt.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and let sit at room temperature until it sets. You want the caramel to be hard enough to cut into pieces.

To given them a nice chocolate coat, melt chocolate (using your preferred method, I used the double boiler method), and dip each piece in the chocolate fully covering it. Allow the drips to drip off, and then place on a piece of parchment paper to set. While still wet, sprinkle with Sea Salt.Wait a dew minutes before sprinkling with Sea Salt to avoid the salt just melting into the chocolate.

These are some delicious caramels. They are soft and don’t stick to your teeth, which is a very huge plus! I am a proud lady! These are a great little gift, and just in time for Easter.

It seems like a scary task, but it is a fun process, and there is lots of room to get creative, which is, in itself, truly inspiring!

Happy Baking!

Hard Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

This… Has… Been… A… Challenge!!!!

Not only are there few recipes available to reference, there are fewer ways to fill the pretzels! Again, I was intimidated by this crazy task, and not having any idea where to start, I sort of just dove right in. This was a special request from my cousin, and with his big blue eyes, I couldn’t refuse the challenge.

Here was my process…

So, I started with my dough. I took 1 3/4 cups water (110 degrees), mixed 1 tablespoon of white sugar and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt until dissolved. Then I sprinkled one package of active dry yeast on top and waited for about 5 minutes until a foam started to form on top.

Then I added 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 2 1/2 cups of unbleached whole wheat flour to the water and yeast mixture.

I mixed it until everything was well incorporated, then I kneaded the thick dough by hand until it was smooth and pulled away from the sided of the bowl. I had a well greased bowl set aside to place the dough in once the kneading process was complete. Then I covered the dough with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm area for 55 minutes. The dough should double in size, mine did!

While you are waiting for your dough to rise you can make the peanut butter filling! Take about  1 1/2 cup of peanut butter and mix it with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons Kosher Salt. If you don’t have a piping bag, take a large ziplock bag and put the peanut butter mixture into it. Cut one of the bottom corners, just a small hole, and you can use that to pipe out the filling.

Set out two baking sheets, line with parchment paper and grease them with oil. I prefer veggie oil.

Take the double pretzel dough and turn it onto a greased surface. Cut into four equal pieces and put the three you aren’t working with under a damp cloth.  Roll the dough out in 3 to 4 strips and then flatten each one. Should be about 2 inches long and maybe 1/8 of an inch thick. Eyeballing it works for me.

Take one strip and cut sections about 1 inch wide. Each section should be roughly 1 inch wide and 2 inches long, but you can determine the size you prefer. Pipe a fair amount of peanut butter filling into center of each section. Fold dough over to make a square, and make sure to seal the edges with your fingers so that the filling doesn’t melt out! Repeat until everything is used up.

Now take a deep pan or a pot and bring some water to boil. It only needs to be deep enough to submerge the pretzel pieces. Take your bites and put them in the boiling water for about 15 seconds or until they float. Turn them out onto greased baking sheets.

Take an egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water and whisk. Then brush the pretzel bites with it and sprinkle coarse salt on top.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes on 350 degrees.

Shazam! Delicious, entertaining, snack time fun!

This is a good 3 hour project, so don’t attempt if you are easily distracted! It is a fun process and even more fun with a group of people.

So, you will need…

  • 1 3/4 cups warm (110 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  •  4 1/2 cups of flour ( I used 2 cups all-purpose and 2 1/2 cups unbleached whole wheat)
  • 1 large whole egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • Water
  • Pretzel salt

Happy Baking!