Brown Butter Coconut Cookies

Browned Butter Coconut Cookies

Since we’ve been on a brown butter kick lately (I mean, let’s be honest, when are we ever not on a brown butter kick), I figured why stop with corn bread when I have these delicious coconut cookies to share with you! Just when I thought it couldn’t get better than Joy the Baker’s Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (seriously, have you tried them? They are the chocolate chip cookie to end all chocolate chip cookies), Smitten Kitchen came along (as she does) and discovered the joy of the brown butter coconut cookie.

Browned Butter Coconut Cookies

Browned Butter Coconut Cookies

And oh the joy. Deb, you are a domestic goddess (as if we didn’t already know that). These cookies are absolutely divine. They’re soft and chewy in the center, slightly crispy around the edges and have the ooey-gooey tender flakiness of the coconut throughout. There’s almost as much coconut as dough, turning these cookies into crumbly, chewy sweet perfection. Add to that the nuttiness of the browned butter and you have single-handedly one of the best cookies I’ve ever eaten.

Browned Butter Coconut Cookies

These cookies are definitely meant for sharing.  Warning, do not leave yourself alone with the whole batch-it’s dangerous.

Browned Butter Coconut Cookies

Brown Butter Coconut Cookies

  • Servings: ~4 dozen cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 4 cups dried, unsweetened coconut flakes (I used Bob’s Red Mills)

Recipe

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, stirring frequently.  First the butter will melt, and then foam, and then turn a golden color before it turns brown. Stop when it is brown and smells nutty, but be sure not to overcook it as it will quickly burn. Remove from heat and refrigerator until the butter has solidified, about 1-2 hours. You can also put the butter in the freezer, but check back often to stir so it doesn’t freeze unevenly.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Scrape the chilled brown butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl.  Pour half the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix on low speed until combined.  Add the remaining flour and beat until combined.  Add coconut flakes and mix until evenly distributed. If the dough looks too dry or crumbly, add 1-2 tablespoons of water and mix until combined.
  5. Scoop dough by the teaspoon onto your prepared baking sheet, using your finger to flatten the dough slightly.  Bake for 9-10 minutes, until they’re golden brown.
  6. Cool cookies on a cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack. Cookies will keep for up to a week in an air tight container. Dough will keep refrigerated for a few days and up to a month frozen.

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Brown Butter Skillet Corn Bread

Browned Butter Skillet Cornbread

I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but I don’t own a cast iron skillet. Being an avid home cook who has been obsessed with cooking since I was 7, it seems silly that I don’t own this essential kitchen tool.  I have almost every pot, pan, knife and utensil a home cook would need, except the one that’s at the top of every “must need” list: a weathered, heavy cast-iron. Anytime I visit my parents and cook something in their well-seasoned cast iron skillet, a family heirloom that was passed down from my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother, I fantasize about getting my own and making all the wonderful recipes that call for this key tool: omelettes, hash browns, brownies, you name it.

Browned Butter Skillet Cornbread

Browned Butter Skillet Cornbread

The best kind of skillets are the ones that are handed down through generations, perfectly seasoned and cared for. Generations of recipes, traditions and history, all passed down through the use of a sturdy cast-iron skillet. Anytime I see a recipe calling for a cast-iron pan, I try to improvise or end up saving it for later; or spend hours researching the best brand so I can someday call it my own. But when I came across this skillet corn bread recipe from one of my absolute favorite cookbooks, “Once Upon a Tart…“, I knew I had to make it and couldn’t wait for my inevitable heavy iron purchase. I do have a really pretty, heavy pie plate I received as a gift, so decided I couldn’t hold out any longer – I would make this recipe in a pie pan, and I’m so glad I didn’t hold out.

Browned Butter Skillet Cornbread

Browned Butter Skillet Cornbread

This corn bread is absolutely delicious.  The richness of the browned butter adds a nice subtle, nutty flavor to the bread, and the sugar adds a sweetness that complements the saltiness of the butter and corn. I reduced the sugar in the recipe by half because I don’t like my cornbread that sweet, but if you prefer sweeter feel free to add up to a 1/2 cup more. Baking the batter in the heavy pie plate added a nice golden crust to the outer layer, but I imagine baking this in a good cast-iron skillet will make it that much better.

Browned Butter Skillet Cornbread

I originally made this corn bread to accompany a winter stew, but I found I liked it even better the next morning for breakfast, toasted with a dab of butter. Because everything is better with butter…and cast-iron skillets.

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Brown Butter Skillet Corn Bread

  • Servings: one 9- or 10- inch round corn bread or one 5-by-9 inch loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
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Note: If you’re like me and don’t own a cast-iron skillet, this corn bread can also be baked in a 9×5 inch loaf pan, or a glass or ceramic 9- or 10- inch pie plate. This cornbread is not overly sweet, but if you prefer sweeter cornbread, feel free to add up to a 1/2 cup additional sugar.  
Adapted from Once Upon a Tart…

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/3 cups cold whole milk
  • 1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 450º F, and position your oven racks so that one is in the center. Butter a 9- or 10- inch cast iron skillet (or a 5×9 loaf pan) and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, until melted.  Allow to cook, stirring constantly, until it is browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Make sure to brown but not burn. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg and whole milk together.  Add the cooled, browned butter and whisk until combined.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt together.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring lightly with a wooden spoon until no streaks of flour remain.
  6. Pour the batter into your skillet (or loaf pan), and use a spatula to even out the top.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden browned and a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove the skillet from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool.  Serve at room temperature, sliced like a pie, straight from the skillet.

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

New York City, and the surrounding area are about to get dumped on by a massive snow storm.  People are flocking to the store, raiding the aisles, and stocking up on supplies to last them until Spring. Me? I cooked up this delicious pot of stew, and plan on holing up in my apartment and eating leftovers while the storm blankets the city’s sidewalks with snow.  I can’t think of a better home-cooked meal to welcome the storm than this satisfying and healthy Italian Stew.  Continue reading

Cranberry and Walnut Buckwheat Pancakes

Cranberry Walnut Buckwheat Pancakes

As much as I curse winter – when the temperature outside approaches single digits and the walls of concrete skyscrapers lining 5th avenue turn into gale-force wind tunnels with threatening speeds that almost knock you into oncoming traffic; as much as I loath hurdling over the puddles of dirty ice water on every street corner, and the tingling sensation you get from defrosting your extremities on the overpowered radiator in your apartment, the same heat source which causes you to wake up in the middle of the night with feverish sweats because your management company decides to blast the heat with no concern for the environment or your sanity, yea..as much as I think I hate winter, I’m reminded on lazy, Saturday afternoons, gazing out the window overlooking snow covered sidewalks littered with discarded Christmas trees, that winter is really not so bad.  Continue reading