brown butter, brown sugar cookies

Brown Butter Brown Sugar Cookies

It’s been so long since last we wrote, but these brown butter, brown sugar cookies are worth the wait. This Hungry Texan will occasionally make a quick detour on her bike to work and pop into Bean & Bite on 15th for a “treat yo self” iced coffee. Aside from their smooth and rich iced coffee the second biggest attraction is that they always have bite-sized samples of their sweet treats cut up in plates by the register. On two separate occasions I’ve been lucky enough to sneak a taste of their brown sugar cookies, and after taste number two I vowed to try my hand at recreating them. I took to my mixing bowl and this recipe triumphed. I’m a modest gal, but these are honest to everything the best cookies I’ve ever made.

Just thank me that I’m sharing this recipe as bathing suit season is waning.

Ingredients

Modified from Cook’s Illustrated’s Brown Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter 14tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/4 cup white sugar
2 cups brown sugar (I used a mix of dark & light)
2 cups + 2 tbls flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 overflowing tbl vanilla

+ an additional 1/4 cup of each brown & white sugar for rolling

Start by preheating your oven 350º.

The secret to this recipe’s success is the brown butter – browning your butter gives it a dense, almost nutty flavor, that combined with salt and sugar becomes borderline carmel-ish. Start by melting all but 4 tbls of your butter in a pan at medium heat. Stir constantly until the butter begins to brown. Transfer to a container to cool and add the additional 4 tbls of butter to the warm butter. You may notice sediment-like solids forming in your brown butter, embrace them!

Brown Butter

Let your butter cool for about 15 minutes and then combine your butter and sugars.

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Add your egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.

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In a separate bowl, combine all your dry ingredients (flour, salt, soda, powder). Begin slowly folding the dry into your wet mixture until fully combined.

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Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Combine 1/4 c white sugar and 1/4 c brown sugar in a small bowl with enough surface area for covering your dough balls. Begin scooping and rolling your dough into spheres the size of ping pong balls, roll your ball in sugar so that it’s completely covered.

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Once your sheet is full, bake for 8-12 minutes. You want to take these cookies out on the rarer side as they’ll firm quite a bit as they cool. The center of the cookie tastes like chewy, salted caramel. The cookies are sturdy, stack well, and would be mean bookends to an ice cream sandwich.

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Get baking!

xoxo,
Julia

chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies Hero

You know those weeks where everything goes more wrong than right? Maybe some boo boos happened at work, or you had to walk home in the rain without an umbrella, or you got a flat tire, or you’re running on relatively little sleep, or you flaunted bare legs expecting 60 degree temps when it dropped to the 30s, or you witnessed a borderline-fist-fight on your bus, or left your shampoo and conditioner at the gym and it’s taken you 4 days to replenish so you’ve been washing your hair with hotel samples – just to name a few things that might sour this Hungry Texans’ week. What better way to turn a sour week sweet than a comforting batch of chocolate chip cookies?

I made these cookies attempting to emulate Levain Bakery’s quarter pound cookies (out of this world!). Mine were far shy of a quarter pound (although 2 cookies deep & plenty of cookie dough later, I might be close to a quarter pound consumed). The beauty of these cookies is they combine the best of both worlds – crispy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside. Yum! Yum!

Whip up a batch (this is a half batch) and watch all your sorrows melt away.

Ingredients_ChocChip cookies

1 stick butter
½ c brown sugar
¼ c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
¼ + ⅛ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp baking soda
¼ + ⅛ tsp sea salt
¼ + ⅛ tsp cornstarch
1 ¾ c flour
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup dark chocolate chips

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In the bowl of a stand mixer start by creaming together your butter and both sugars. Add your vanilla. Add an egg. Add your dry ingredients. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, remove the paddle attachment, and fold in your chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Cookies + Fold Chocolate Chips

Start balling your dough (think golf ball size or bigger)– don’t pack them too tight & your dough balls can be a little sloppy — and place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Put your balled dough in the freezer to chill for 10-15 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350.

Ball 'em up! Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Don’t be scared to take these guys out while they’re still a little soft. They’ll harden as they cool and taking them out early will help ensure a nice rare center.

Beware of belly aches!

xoxo,

a sugar-rushed Hungry Texan

pecan pie

Two Saturdays ago I helped sort 7,000 Thanksgiving pies sold as a fundraiser for one of my favorite DC nonprofits, Food & Friends. In case you were wondering, 7,000 pies looks like this about 6-times! This pecan pie recipe is poco complicado, but as you read and mentally prepare yourself to recreate its splendor, if you ever think you’re ready to “next!” this recipe, take a deep breath and remember you’re only making one…not 7,000!

Before we get into the thick of it, there are a couple of things you need to know.

  1. This is a recipe for Pecan (“pi-con”) Pie not “pee-can” pie. Few alliterative phrases irk my ears more than “pee-can” pie, and this is coming from the girl who has her own fair share of Texas twists on pronunciation.
  2. This pie was extra special because it was made entirely from the fruits of one of Mimi & Papa’s pecan trees!
  3. This is my first attempt at a Pecan Pie, but you should know Goode Company Pecan Pie (GCPP) is and always will be the gold standard for this species of pie. Important characteristics worth mimicking in GCPP are: a crumbly crust, whole pecans, and balance in the crust & nuts that cuts the saccharine filling.

My recipe features pecans three ways–as a meal in the crust, whole on the bottom of the crust, & chopped in the filling–and its inspired by Tabard Inn’s Crust & Cooks Illustrated’s filling. To embark on this pie prepping adventure, you’ll need:

For the crust:

1 c pecans (chopped)
1⁄3 c sugar
1.5 c flour
1.5 sticks butter
Pinch salt
2 egg yolks
3 tbls 1/2 & 1/2
1 12-ounce can dulce de leche
8 ounces toasted pecans

For the filling:

6 tbl butter

1 c brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c corn syrup

1 tbl vanilla

2 c whole pecans toasted & chopped

Let’s start with the crust, shall we? First pulse your cup of pecans & sugar in a food processor; pulse until it’s a fine meal. Add flour, butter & salt and continue to pulse until the butter is super crumbly. Then add the eggs and half & half. Once your dough is in a nice ball, flatten it out between two pieces of parchment paper. Chill in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. When it’s time to bake, roll or use your hands to fit your crust into a pie pan. Be sure to poke your crust with a fork (many, many times) and then bake for ~20 minutes at 350. I covered mine with parchment paper. True story, I didn’t have pie weights and my crust definitely rose a little. Once it got out of the oven, I needed to smoosh it back down to its home in the pan. Remove once it’s golden brown.

While your crust is baking is the perfect opportunity to make your filling! Setup a double boiler and melt your butter. Then mix in your sugar & salt. Then beat in eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla. Pop your bowl back on your double broiler & stir, stir, stir until your mix is shiny and warm. Remove the bowl from the heat & stir in your 2 cups of toasted chopped pecans. Ta da! You have filling.

Now this is exciting. Take your toasted whole pecans and pop those little guys on the bottom of your crust. Drizzle dulce de leche all over the pecan-filled pie crust. Then pour in your filling. Alas! It’s time to bake this baby. Pop it into your still hot 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until your pie filling stands up to a  toothpick test. Let your pie rest until it’s time for dessert (or an extra decadent afternoon treat!). I garnished ours with some Grand Marnier whipped cream & it was the perfect cream to cut the sweet.