Thursday, May 9, 2013

Brown Butter White Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies.

Two things. 

1. It's time to fall in love {again} with oatmeal cookies. 

2. This is my last post involving brown butter. I have a new love... and it's coming soon.

Something about summer makes me crave oatmeal cookies. I know it's still spring, but I've already baked with marshmallow Peeps and pastel-colored chocolates so I feel like it's time we just jump right into this summer thing. I'm looking ahead to hours of True Blood, hot days in flow, short dresses, grilled pizzas, baked sugar cookie peaches, and just about as many kettlecorn dinners/strawberry margaritas as I can get away with. Starting... now. 

And oatmeal cookies. Because I may have finally found the perfect one.

These are the best oatmeal cookies I have ever made because they're so unlike traditional oatmeal cookies. No flat cookies, chocolate chips, or raisins here. Just crispy edges, thick, chewy centers, that rich brown butter flavor, extra-large chunks of sweet, melty white chocolate, and a sprinkle of sugary salt.

For these cookies I shattered two Ghiradelli white chocolate baking bars into perfect, fat cookie-baking chunks. Real chunks of white chocolate are just infinitely better than vanilla-flavored chips... and so is breaking chocolate against your countertop on a particularly stressful day. 

Puppies help too.

I talked about brown butter + dark brown sugar + oatmeal when I made s'mores oatmeal cookie cups... and it definitely involved the words "a meant-to-be situation." And it truly is. The nutty brown butter gives the oatmeal a deep, rich flavor... like toffee and caramel and butter and buttermilk pancakes. All together. All in your cookie. 

Real quick: let's talk about sugar. 

Have you ever had a salted caramel mocha from Starbucks? It's a fall thing. They sprinkle crunchy-sweet turbinado sugar and chunky bits of sea salt on top of their caramel and whipped cream. It's perfect and it's dreamy and this is that. On a cookie. 

Just sprinkle it on! The salt helps balance the sweetness from the rich white chocolate and the sugar adds a light, sweet crunch to an otherwise soft, chewy cookie.

Sugar + salt. Just another simple thing that makes these cookies absolutely irresistible/something to fall in love with.

And... brown butter: it's a wrap! Now is the time for new things (and an oatmeal cookie or two). Let's make it happen.  

Brown Butter White Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons granulated or coarse sugar + 1 tablespoon sea salt for sprinkling 

Prep. Line two baking sheets with a baking mat or spray with baking spray; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the 2 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon sea salt for sprinkling on your cookies.

Brown. First, brown the butter by melting it in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. The butter will begin to bubble and (after about 7-8 minutes) will foam and then quickly after, turn a golden brown with amber specks (for more information on how to brown butter click here). Immediately remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Place in the refrigerator until cool to the touch

Mix. In a large bowl, whisk the oats, flour, baking soda and salt together. 

In the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cooled brown butter and vanilla extract on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and dark brown sugar and beat until combined. 

Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in the eggs one at a time. Gradually add the oat mixture. Stir in the white chocolate chunks. 

Bake. Scoop dough 2 tablespoons at a time onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with a pinch of sugar-salt mixture, then bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Cookies should be golden around the edges, but appear under-done in the centers (they'll set as they cool).

Remove from oven and let cookies cool 2 minutes on sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Source: Barely adapted from Shauna Sever's Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies, as found in her book Pure Vanilla