It seems like brown butter is featured in every recipe that catches my eye these days. I've always been a fan, but I think I'm still realizing just how many flavors can be complimented by the nutty flavor of brown butter. It is especially wonderful in fall recipes with apples, pears, or spices. In these soft and chewy ginger cookies, the butter unfolds another dimension to the flavors, giving it a subtle complexity - that je ne sais quoi. And with a bit of sea salt on top, yum!
This was also the perfect way for me to put to use my new melon-ball sized scoop, which greatly simplified the process of forming the cookies. I'm always put off by a recipe if it involves rolling each cookie individually by hand, but with the scoop it was much quicker to portion out equal amounts of dough. Since I didn't roll each ball carefully to make them perfectly identical, they had a rougher finished quality to them, but they did maintain their height because of the scoop shape - which left them chewy.
Brown Butter Ginger Chews
Don't forget to leave time for this dough to chill in the freezer!
5 C flour*
4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 T ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 C butter, room temperature
1/2 C brown butter
2 C brown sugar
1/2 C + 1 T molasses
1 C chopped crystallized ginger (optional, plenty spicy without)
coarse sea salt to sprinkle on top
Brown the 1/2 C butter and set aside (see here for instructions with photos).
In a large bowl, combine the flour(s), baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the butters and brown sugar until fluffy (it's okay if the brown butter is still a bit warm).
Stir the eggs and molasses into the butter and sugar mixture.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet in two additions, mixing until combined. Fold in the crystallized ginger if desired.
Let the dough rest, covered tightly in plastic wrap, in the freezer for 20-30 minutes (I ended up leaving it there for more like an hour, not a problem).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Take the dough out of the freezer and form it into 1 1/2-inch balls.
Place on baking sheets about 2 inches apart, slightly flattening the bottom so they don't roll (not necessary if you're using the leveled scoops of dough).
Press a few flakes of coarse sea salt on each ball of dough.
Bake for 9-12 minutes until firm (less time for more chewy cookies).
Makes about 5 dozen!
I bet these would be great for ice cream sandwiches...with caramel or cinnamon ice cream? Or butter pecan?
*I used 2 C whole wheat flour and 3 C all-purpose flour.