banishing the blues with brown sugar cookies

Today is a gray, rainy, dreary day. On days like today, I usually do one of the following things: light candles, turn on all the lights in the house, or bake cookies. Today was so dismal, I did all three. I've always wanted to try a cookie recipe calling for browned butter, and I found a perfect one in The Best of America's Test Kitchen, 2008.

The aroma of golden brown butter is sure to brighten anyone's day, though I was getting a bit worried about the darkening flecks at the bottom of the pan. I didn't leave the pan on for much longer after they turned brown, as brown can go to black and burnt in a heartbeat.

Forming balls and rolling them in sugar is both comforting and therapeutic. I think it triggers memories of my childhood and helping my mom make thumbprint cookies. Back then, jamming my thumb into the dough was the best part.

The cookies have a wonderful combination of interior fluffy chewiness and outer crispiness. Quality Control has already eaten three.

Brown Sugar Cookies
adapted from The Best of America's Test Kitchen, 2008

14 T. unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar, divided
2 c. plus 2 T. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 T. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

Heat 10 T. of the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Continue to cook, swirling the pan consistently until the butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma. (1-3 minutes.) Transfer the brown butter to a large heatproof bowl; stir the remaining 4T. of butter into the hot butter to melt. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Combine the granulated sugar and 1/4 c. of brown sugar in shallow bowl; set aside.

Whisk the flour, b.soda, b.powder in a medium bowl.

Stir the remaining 1 1/4 c. brown sugar and salt into the cooled butter until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla, and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.

Working with 2 T. of dough each time, roll into 1 inch balls. Working in batches, carefully roll the balls into the reserved sugar mixture and place them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. They will be brown and puffy and the edges will have begun to set but the centers are still soft. Do not overbake.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

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