One thing I did while I was in Arizona was knit this little cupcake, from the book One Skein. I’ve had this book for years and have been meaning to make a cupcake the whole time, but just didn’t get around to it. It turned out that my grandma had the same book, so I put some of her craft supplies to good use and made her a cupcake to cheer her up.
The cupcake is sitting on a piece of my grandmother’s china. She had asked me if Steven and I were planning to register for china (no), so it was on my mind. She also inherited my great-grandparents’ china, which is in the photos below. I guess I should care about having china so that I could potentially hand it down to my children or grandchildren, but it just doesn’t seem relevant to my life. When we have people over to eat it’s never formal enough to require any dishes other than the same ones we use everyday, and we don’t have space to store dishes that would only rarely get used. Don’t get me wrong–it’s nice when people have it. I just have no need to have my own.
These cookies are another Arizona accomplishment. I much prefer baking to cooking, so when my grandma mentioned that she has a sweet tooth I decided to make a batch of cookies I’d been wanting to try. These are brown butter sugar cookies, and wow, are they ever good. Just writing about them and looking at these photos is making me want to make another batch. They’re sweet and kind of nutty (my grandma said she thought they were peanut butter at first), but the flavor is different than any other cookie I’ve had. I’m normally of the mindset that if a cookie doesn’t have chocolate in it it’s probably not worth it, but I’ll make an exception for these. If you bake regularly you probably already have all of the ingredients on hand (maybe not the dark brown sugar?), so you have no excuse not to make some. Right now. Just make sure to err on the side of undercooking, because I think that they’re better soft and chewy.
Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
Makes 2 Dozen Cookies
from Cook’s Illustrated
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (about 1 3/4 ounces)
2 cups packed dark brown sugar (14 ounces)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (about 10 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Continue to cook the butter until it is browned a dark golden color and smells nutty, about 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer the browned butter to a bowl and stir the rest of the butter into the hot butter until it melts- let this rest for 15 min. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a baking dish, mix granulated sugar and a ¼ cup of the brown sugar until combined well; set this mixture aside to roll dough balls in. Mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Add 1 ¾ cup brown sugar and salt to cooled butter and mix until there are no lumps. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla to butter mixture and mix well, then add flour and mix until just combined. Roll dough into balls about 1 ½ inches in diameter, and roll balls in brown sugar and white sugar mixture. Place balls about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake sheets one at a time until cookies are puffy and lightly browned, about 12- 14 minutes. (It says the cookies will look slightly raw between some of the cracks and seem underdone, but be careful not to overbake.) Cool on sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool.