Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Salted Brown Butter Caramel Pecan Cookies

Yes, I know, it's a long name for a little cookie. But honestly, if I didn't put all of their charms on their calling card, you might just move on without a second glance. Let's pause to contemplate the total package.

Browned butter--nutty, rich, and nuanced;

Caramel--just a tease of caramel flavor from the hot browned butter cooking the dark brown sugar;
Pecan--plump, oven toasted pecans, crunchy and fragrant;
Salt--the perfect older sibling of ingredients, it flatters other flavors without stealing the show.

These cookies are the result of seeing a few of my Twitter buddies tweeting about trying the Cook's Illustrated
chocolate chip cookie recipeI baked along, but thought the chocolate eclipsed a cookie dough that deserved to be the star. So I tweaked the recipe and made it without chocolate, and doubled up on the nuts. I thought about adding some coconut but didn't have any in the pantry.

These are my perfect cookies. I'm in love. I've eaten about five of them. I wish I had more but I gave them all away. I sent some to my Secret Bakee this month. I hope she likes them.

Salted Brown Butter Caramel Pecan Cookies - makes about 4 dozen 2" cookies

Printable recipe

2 cups (7 ounces) pecans
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces/100 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces/150 grams) packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans out on a large cookie sheet or sheet pan and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Once pecans have cooled, coarsely chop and set aside.

2.  Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

3. Heat 10 tablespoons/142 grams butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma and the milk solids are very brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large, deep heatproof bowl. Immediately stir remaining 4 tablespoons/58 grams butter into hot butter until completely melted.

4. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in pecans and give dough a final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

5. Portion out dough: 1 tablespoon will give you 2" cookies and 2 tablespoons of dough yields 3-3 1/2" cookies. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

6. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 9 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.


Susan said...

Oh Leslie, those sound divine!! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Tracey said...

Great idea Leslie! I'm not a fan of nuts but I love the idea of removing the chocolate from these cookies. Now I just need to figure out what I want to substitute :)

Anonymous said...

You're a cookie superstar this week! These sound great.

Anonymous said...

When I read the title of your post, I had to stop and re-read it like 3 times before I could catch all the goodness. You're killing me here!!! :)

TeaLady said...

Oh My. Those look fantastic. I do so hope I am your Bakee.

Julie said...

Oh my does it get any better than these cookies, butter, chocolate and carmel. I will be making these.

the twins said...

those sound and look fantastic!

Kayte said...

Now we are talking, making the cookie and leaving out the chocolate! These look very good!

Pamela said...

Just saw this in my google reader and was about to pause and come back later. But that title called out to me and I had to read and comment right away. Yet another one to star and save for later. You amaze me!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

this dough sounds like a delicious base for all kinds of add-ins. yum!

AppleC said...

Could the title of this cookie make it any more inticing? I love pecans and double love caramel.

Madam Chow said...

I'm going to have to try this. I'm one of those rare people who think that chocolate chip cookies have too much chocolate!

Katrina said...

Those sound awesome. I'll have to make those for my mom sometime as she doesn't eat chocolate, but these would be that familiar cookie that I know she'd like.

Jacque said...

Ooh, I just made those CI choco-chip cookies and they were the bomb. But these are better?

Someone catch me, I'm gonna faint.

Must try.

Mimi said...

Everything I like in a cookies. These look pretty tempting.

Carol Peterman said...

The name alone makes me love these cookies!

Di said...

Your cookies sound really delicioius, Leslie!!

Michele said...

These cookies sound so delicious and I pretty much love all cookies with pecans.

Di said...

Finally getting a chance to try these. I'm making them for someone who loves white chocolate, so I'm trying them with half pecans and half white chips. White chocolate isn't my favorite, but the cookie dough is amazing. =)