Brown Butter Toffee Bars

Sometimes, only chocolate isn’t enough.Brown Butter Toffee Bars

These golden blondies include chopped toffee and browned butter which makes for a sweet and very butterscotchy bar. Browning the butter is a technique that tips these bars to sublime. It’s easy to brown butter: Simply melt and simmer the butter until it turns a deep amber color and has a toasty, nutty aroma. This step takes minutes, so it’s important to keep an eye on the butter while it browns, as it can change quickly from light to dark. It’s a step worth doing, and a wonderful addition to your favorite cookies and bars. You’re welcome.

Brown Butter Toffee Bars

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes about 25 (1 1/2-inch) bars

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melt and brown, cool
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped toffee bars, about 5 ounces
1/2 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate, about 2 ounces
Sea salt for sprinkling, optional

1. Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bodied saucepan over medium heat, whisking frequently. Continue to heat the melted butter until it begins to foam and then subsides, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue to cook until the butter has a deep amber color with a nutty, toasted aroma. (Keep a careful eye on the butter, since it can quickly go from brown to burnt.) When the butter has browned, remove the pan from the heat and pour the butter into a heat-resistant bowl to stop the cooking process. Cool completely. (At this point, you can use the butter as-is, or strain the butter through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer to remove the brown bits. I like to keep the brown bits for extra flavor.)

2. Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking ban and line with parchment.

3. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl

4. Whisk the sugars, egg, and yolk in a large bowl until light, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the cooled butter and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour and stir to combine. Stir in the toffee and chocolate.

5. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with sea salt, if using. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted comes clean, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on a rack. Cut into squares.

24 Hour Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

24 Hour Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

You will have to trust me on this. This chocolate chip cookie recipe does indeed require more than 24 hours to make. Most of the time it’s simply sitting in the refrigerator, where the batter will be in lock-down, off limits to sneaky fingers looking for a swipe. It won’t be easy. Especially if you are like me, and sadly accustomed to instant gratification when chocolate is involved. Well, here is a little exercise in self-restraint – consider it a late New Year’s challenge. Summon your will power and tip your hat to the process. Wait the full 24 hours between preparing the batter and baking the cookies. The results are what I consider the best* chocolate chip cookies I remember tasting. You can then congratulate yourself and your family on your discipline and proceed to eat as many cookies as you like.

24 Hour Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I discovered this technique in the fall issue of the wonderful e-magazine Made with Butter. The following recipe is adapted from Jennifer Kaplan’s Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Makes about 30 – 1 1/2 inch cookies.

3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sea salt for sprinkling

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Divide the butter in 4 pieces and add to the pan. The butter will begin to melt and foam. Continue cooking the butter until it becomes golden brown and the milk solids sink to the bottom, resembling small dark brown particles, 5 – 10 minutes. (It took me 7  minutes. Watch the butter carefully because it can burn very quickly.) Remove from heat, and cool for several minutes to lukewarm.
While the butter is cooling, whisk flour, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Once the butter has cooled, add both sugars to the skillet. Mix thoroughly to combine. Add the egg and egg yolk, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour and stir to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours.
To bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchement. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough (it will be stiff) and place on baking sheet, leaving enough room for the cookies to expand as they bake. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Bake cookies until light golden in color and just cooked through, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack. If you are using the same pan for another batch of cookies, first allow the pan to cool completely. Enjoy!