Tag Archives: brown butter

Maple Sugar Cookies

Maple Sugar CookiesY’all, please believe me when I tell you these are *the* best and easiest Maple Sugar Cookies out there. They are so, so good. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve agonized over how best to distribute my blogging leftovers, but these? I kept them all to myself. I didn’t even give one to my roommate.Maple Sugar CookiesSo, what makes these Maple Sugar Cookies the best? Well, to start with, they’re chewy sugar cookies with big maple flavor–you can’t go wrong with that combo! In addition to maple syrup in both the dough and the glaze, these cookies are filled with a bunch of other very delicious things like nutty brown butter, light brown sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of nutmeg that really makes the flavors sing. Basically, there’s no way these were ever going to be anything but great.

As for the ease factor, these are the kind of cookies you can make on a whim. There’s no softening of butter, no chill, and the batch is only 1.5 dozen, so you won’t spend an hour baking off dough balls instead of eating cookies.Maple Sugar CookiesHeck, you don’t even need a bowl for this recipe! Nope, the dough comes together in a pot on the stove. I was inspired to try this method after seeing Lauren Brennan’s hot pot sugar cookies over the summer. I tried her recipe as-is and then did what I wanted, including browning the butter, adding brown sugar, reducing the sugar overall, eliminating the extra egg yolk, adding maple syrup and adjusting the bake temperature and time. You may have noticed that this stovetop mixing method has made its way into my favorite brownie recipe too—fewer dishes for the win!Maple Sugar CookiesMaple Sugar CookiesTo make Maple Sugar Cookies, start by browning the butter. Just when the milk solids turn golden, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugars and maple syrup. Let the mix cool about ten minutes before adding an egg, two teaspoons of vanilla and the dry ingredients. Then let the dough rest for ten more minutes before scooping, rolling and baking.

Don’t be alarmed if your dough feels greasy while rolling. It probably will. You haven’t done anything wrong and, no, more flour is not the answer. Rest assured that this is just how this dough feels, but it will bake into soft, chewy cookies that are anything but greasy. I wouldn’t steer you wrong—Maple Sugar Cookies are serious business.Maple Sugar CookiesWhile these cookies are delicious enough that they don’t need adornment, you know I love a glaze. This one is just confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Whirl it up and drizzle it on the finished cookies. You may drizzle with a fork, or follow my lead and use a piping bag with the tiniest corner snipped off. Hello, I am a control freak.Maple Sugar CookiesThe last step in making Maple Sugar Cookies? Wait, but not for long. Just for like an hour or so. As with many baked goods, the flavors need this time to meld and settle. Will your cookies be bad if you eat them right away? Of course not—they’re cookies!—but the maple flavor won’t shine through the way it will sixty minutes later. Trust me when I tell you that, after an hour, you will be rewarded for your patience with perfect chewy, mapley cookies with hints of brown butter and brown sugar. And while the batch makes plenty to share, I won’t blame you one bit if you hoard them all to yourself. Maple Sugar Cookies

Maple Sugar Cookies
inspired by & heavily adapted from Lauren’s Latest
makes about 1.5 dozen cookies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Maple Glaze:
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Arrange your oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the light brown sugar, granulated sugar and maple syrup. Let cool 10 minutes.

Add the egg to the pot and whisk to combine. Whisk in the vanilla, followed by flour, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Let dough sit for 10 minutes.

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I use a medium cookie scoop). Roll into balls and place at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake cookies 9-10 minutes, or until puffed and no longer raw looking. Cookies will relax as they begin to cool.

Set a cooling rack over a pieces of wax paper or parchment.

Let cookies cool for 7 minutes on the pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl use a fork to whisk together confectioner’s sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Add more maple by the teaspoon, until desired consistency is reached.

Drizzle glaze over the cookies. The glaze will be dry to the touch within 20 minutes and harden after a few hours.

For best maple flavor, let glazed cookies rest for at least 60 minutes before serving.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Maple Sugar CookiesMaple Sugar CookiesMaple Sugar Cookies

Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsUntil a few weeks ago, I hadn’t put a muffin recipe on here in about 2.5 years—it’s been even longer for cupcakes. If you had asked why, I would have said it’s because I hate cleaning muffin pans, which is the absolute truth. Too many corners for stuff to get stuck.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsAnd while muffin/cupcake liners are the obvious solution to that problem, there was another to contend with: I was not terribly confident in my base muffin recipe. But then I went and tested the crap out of my Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins and found a formula that works every time and can be adjusted easily without disaster and, well, I made you some Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins. You’re welcome.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsYou read that right: Brown Butter. Nutella Swirl. Muffins. Basically every good thing in the world in a handheld treat that is somehow suitable for consumption at breakfast.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsThe recipe for these muffins has a few adjustments from the Lemon Poppy Seed version, but not many. Besides the obvious flavor difference, there’s a little more flour and I swapped some of the milk for sour cream, making the batter a little thicker so the Nutella swirls don’t sink.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsAnd speaking of Nutella swirls, they are applied in two phases. Basically, you add half the batter to the muffin cups, then swirl in some Nutella, then top with the remaining batter and swirl in remaining Nutella.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsY’all, these are so good. The interiors are feather soft and the Nutella swirls make every bite extra decadent, as all things with Nutella should be. Also, there’s a little variance in each bite—you could have a little Nutella or you could have a lot! The brown butter is subtle, as it is in my Brown Butter Strawberry Shortcakes and Chocolate Chip Scones, but brings a little nuance that you wouldn’t get with regular melted butter. Not that making these will regular melted butter would ever be a bad idea.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a small bowl.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a small-medium mixing bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk together brown butter, eggs, milk, sour cream, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon just until combined—no more than 15-20 strokes.

Add 2 tablespoons batter to each muffin cup. Drop 1 teaspoon Nutella into each muffin cup and use a toothpick (or thin knife) to swirl it around. Divide remaining batter among muffin cups (about 1 1/2-2 more tablespoons each). Top each with another teaspoon of Nutella and swirl again. Muffin cups will be very full.

Carefully tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any large air bubbles. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350F and bake for an additional 14-15 minutes.

Remove muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing to prepared rack to cool completely. Serve. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for a couple of days, but may be refrigerated for up to 5.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsBrown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsBrown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

Friday Favorites: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a divisive occasion, but whether you love it or hate it, it’s a week away. I, for one, think any excuse to show people you love them is a good one, and you won’t be surprised to learn that I express love primarily through food (and videos of dogs on Instagram).

Here are some of my favorite treats from Valentine’s Days past. Look out for a new one next Wednesday!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayRed Velvet Cheesecake Bars

I may associate red velvet with Oscar Night, but most bakers like to make it for Valentine’s Day. These bars are much simpler to make than the traditional cake, and bypass the frosting in favor of a thick layer of cheesecake.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayStrawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

I’ll never understand why strawberries are so popular for Valentine’s Day. Who wants to eat a flavorless February strawberry?! That said, freeze-dried strawberries are good year-round, especially when pulverized and mixed into soft sugar cookie squares and buttercream. They provide both flavor and color here—these are food coloring-free!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate-Covered Strawberry Buttercreams

Speaking of strawberry buttercream, that’s the name and filling of these homemade candies! The frosting is made and chilled before being scooped, rolled, and enrobed in dark chocolate.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayCoconut Cluster Brownies

I have a bit of a thing for cheap drugstore chocolate, which is exactly what inspired the milk chocolate-coconut candy layered on top of these brownies. I’ll take these over a heart-shaped box any day of the week!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate-Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread

These Chocolate-Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread hearts are one of my favorite recipes on this site. They’re simple to make and the flavors are universally loved, and while you can make them in any shape you like, I think they are particularly adorable as half-dipped hearts.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate Cut-Out Cookies

For all the class and restraint embodied in those shortbread, these cookies go in the exact opposite direction. They’re brash and bright and snarky and I l-o-v-e love them. Oh, and while icing is great, the rich chocolate cookies underneath are the real stars of the show.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Valentine’s falls on a Friday this year, and if you’re anything like me, making a fuss after a long workweek is not my idea of a good time, especially if it means I have to wear real clothes. Skip the fancy dinner and celebrate the morning after with a Chocolate Puff Pancake. It’s super delicious and easy to make and you don’t have to change out of your pajamas to make it.

Have you made any of these or any of my other Valentine’s Day recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayFriday Favorites: Valentine’s Day

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin CookiesI have baked with oats a fair amount over the last few years. Granola, baked oatmeal, gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookies, graham crackers, oatmeal creme pies, jam squares—I’ve made them all, but the most iconic oat dessert of all, the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, has eluded me.Oatmeal Raisin CookiesOh, I’ve tried. Of course I have. But, prior to this, every oatmeal cookie that has come out of my kitchen has been disappointingly flat in both appearance and flavor, and I’ve had a bit of a complex about it. I mean, is it so wrong to want a thick, chewy cinnamon-scented cookie with toasty oats and raisins with actual flavor and texture???

Well, no. No, it is not.Oatmeal Raisin CookiesEnter my dream Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, the results of years of boredom and frustration and some concentrated testing. They take a little longer to prepare than your average oatmeal cookie, but that’s because you’re adding big flavor and texture you just can’t get otherwise.

  • I toast my oats because toasted oats have an incredible nutty flavor and crispness that regular oats do not. The process takes all of five minutes and makes a huge difference in the final product. Oatmeal cookies should have big oat flavor!
  • Nothing is worse than a tough, waxy raisin in an otherwise great cookie. I like to ensure that my cookies will be studded with plump, flavorful raisins by giving them a quick soak in boiling water. This step is hands-off, but makes the final cookies extra chewy and delicious and has the added benefit of keeping them from drying out after a day or two.
  • Most oatmeal cookie recipes call for creamed softened butter to aerate the dough, but melted butter generally produces chewier results. We want chewy cookies, do we not?! You could just use plain melted butter here, but I like to take it a step further—brown butter, y’all. That depth of flavor cannot be matched!Oatmeal Raisin CookiesOatmeal Raisin Cookies
  • This dough is sweetened with only dark brown sugar for both flavor and texture. The molasses in brown sugar helps these cookies stay soft and chewy for days.
  • I swapped some of the usual baking soda for baking powder, which is 4x weaker. Using equal volumes of both leaveners means that we get results that spread out less and puff up more.
  • I chill this cookie dough (and most of my others) because cold dough spreads less in the oven. We want thick cookies, not flat ones!Oatmeal Raisin CookiesOatmeal Raisin Cookies

The cold dough is scooped and rolled in two-tablespoon increments before being baked for 11-13 minutes, or until they look just slightly underdone. They’ll finish cooking as they cool, and the centers will stay soft and chewy.Oatmeal Raisin CookiesY’all! Are those not the most delicious-looking Oatmeal Raisin Cookies you’ve ever seen? Because those are the most delicious-looking Oatmeal Raisin Cookie I’ve ever seen. The best I’ve ever eaten, too–thick, rich and chewy with big hits of molasses and cinnamon, and all those toasty, buttery oats and raisins, of course!Oatmeal Raisin CookiesLike I said, they’re the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies of my dreams. (And maybe now your dreams, too.)Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
makes about 2 dozen

1 1/2 cups raisins
water
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Plump the raisins. Place raisins in a small saucepan and cover with water. Heat over medium-high heat until it simmers, then remove from heat and set aside. Wait 5 minutes, then pour mixture through a sieve to discard water. Set raisins aside.

Toast the oats. Heat a large dry skillet over medium heat. Add oats and toast, stirring constantly, for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant with some darker pieces. Remove to a bowl. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl. Let cool a few minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Whisk dark brown sugar into brown butter. Add eggs one at a time, whisking to combine, followed by vanilla. Mix in flour mixture. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in toasted oats, followed by raisins. Cover cookie dough with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments and roll into balls. Set at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 11-13 minutes, rotating pans top-to-bottom and back-to-front at the 6 minute mark.

Let cookies cool on their pans for 7-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat dough rolling and baking until all dough is used.

Cookies may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.Oatmeal Raisin CookiesOatmeal Raisin CookiesOatmeal Raisin Cookies

Cheesecake Blondies

Cheesecake BlondiesI have been debating for three days whether or not I should post these Cheesecake Blondies or use Independence Day as a “free pass” to take a rare blog day off.Cheesecake BlondiesCheesecake Blondies won out though, because they are the perfect treat to sink your teeth into while you watch the fireworks. Creamy cheesecake and chewy brown butter blondie in near-equal layers? Sign. me. up.Cheesecake BlondiesAnother great thing about these blondies? They are super easy to make and bake up in just 25 minutes!Cheesecake BlondiesThe most difficult part of making Cheesecake Blondies is waiting for them to chill. Those three hours can seem eternal, but they are completely necessary—nobody likes warm cheesecake.Cheesecake BlondiesOnce the chill time is up, slice up the blondies and revel in their cuteness. Chocolate chips have a way of making things more adorable, don’t they?Cheesecake BlondiesMake a batch of Cheesecake Blondies for your holiday cookout or pack a box into a cooler and take them on the go! You and your friends and family will love the combination of tangy cheesecake and sweet, brown buttery blondie ❤ Cheesecake BlondiesHappy Fourth of July!Cheesecake Blondies

Cheesecake Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan, about 9-16 blondies

Blondie Batter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips + more for scattering

Cheesecake:
8 ounces (1 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with foil and grease lightly. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl.

Add brown sugar to the brown butter and stir to combine. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Use a silicone spatula to stir in flour and salt, scraping down the bowl as needed. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared pan. Set aside.

Make cheesecake. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Pour on top of blondie batter and smooth to the edges of the pan. Scatter additional chocolate chips over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, tenting with foil at the 15 minute mark or if anything begins browning too quickly. Blondies are ready when the cheesecake just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled. Let cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until completely cold.

Use foil overhang to lift blondies out of the pan. Carefully peel off foil. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice bars, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Leftover Cheesecake Blondies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. For best storage, separate layers with wax paper.Cheesecake Blondies