WOW. My daughter declared that these are the best cookies I have ever made!
They are composed of crispy and crunchy, thin toffee cookies sandwiched with fabulous brown-butter buttercream. The filling is the perfect complement to the toffee flavored cookies.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sohla El-Waylly. I modified the method and increased the amount of filling. I also used toffee with chocolate- now I’ll have to try them without as well. Amazing!
The original recipe notes that these cookies are ideal for shipping and sharing because they have a long shelf life. They didn’t last very long in my house! 😉
Yield: 34 to 36 sandwich cookies
For the Cookies:
227 g (about 1 1/2 cups) English toffee bits, preferably without chocolate (such as Heath Bits O’Brickle)(I used Trader Joe’s Toffee Chips with both dark and milk chocolate, coarsely chopped)
112 g (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt
3 T (42 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, white and yolk separated, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (224 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup (40 g) sliced almonds, or more, for garnish
For the Brown-Butter Buttercream Filling:
16 T (227 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp plus a pinch Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1/8 tsp Morton kosher salt
320 g (2 2/3 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
To Make the Cookies:
In a food processor, process the toffee bits, sugar, baking soda and salt until the toffee is mostly ground and the mixture is sandy, about 1 minute.
Transfer the toffee mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer).
Add butter, egg white and vanilla. Mix together with the paddle attachment on medium until creamy and fluffy, stopping once to scrape the bowl and paddle, about 2 minutes.
Add flour, and mix on medium-low until the mixture comes together into a soft dough, about 30 seconds.
Divide the dough in half. Pat each half into a disk. Wrap and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes before proceeding. (I wrapped each disk in plastic wrap.)
Dust a piece of parchment paper and dough with flour. Top with a second piece of parchment paper.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out 1/8-inch thick between the two sheets of parchment (the thickness of two stacked pennies), turning the dough frequently to ensure it moves freely, dusting with more flour as needed. Each sheet of dough will be about the size of a standard sheet of paper.
Place the dough on a flat surface (I used a cutting board) and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter dusted in flour, cut out cookies from one sheet of dough. Using an offset spatula, transfer rounds to a parchment paper lined rimmed sheet pan, placing another sheet of parchment paper between layers. (I stacked the rounds between sheets of plastic wrap but it was slightly difficult to remove them once frozen- parchment paper seems like a better plan.)
Repeat with the remaining sheet of dough.
Gather and knead together any scraps, refreeze and re-roll, repeating until all the dough has been rolled out for a total of about 68 to 72 cookies.
Wrap the rounds of dough on the sheet pan with plastic wrap; freeze on sheet trays for at least 30 minutes before baking. (Alternatively, once the cookies have firmly frozen, stack them between parchment in a freezer-safe container or zipper-lock bag for up to 3 months.)
Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. (I used the convection setting.)
Whisk together the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and evenly brush on the tops of half (34 to 36) of the chilled cookies.
Sprinkle the yolk-brushed cookies with almonds, pressing gently to adhere.
Bake the cookies until deeply browned like a pretzel, switching the sheet trays from top to bottom and rotating from front to back halfway through, 10 to 14 minutes. (I simultaneously baked 3 pans of 12 cookies each for 10 to 11 minutes on convection.)
Bake the remaining cookies (without almonds) at the same temperature for the same duration.
Let cookies cool completely on the sheet pans.
To Make the Filling:
Set a piping bag in a tall and narrow container, like a deli quart container, and fold over the top edge to secure.
Flip over the cookies without almonds. (You need to pipe the icing onto the cookies immediately after mixing, so make sure you are set up.)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until foamy, about 3 minutes.
Continue cooking butter, stirring and scraping frequently with a stiff silicone spatula, until the sputtering has subsided and the butter solids look deeply browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the butter and any brown bits into the bowl of a stand mixer (or into a large bowl if mixing by hand).
Stir in the vanilla and salt.
Sift over the powdered sugar.
With the paddle attachment, mix on low until creamy and combined, about 1 minute, stopping once during mixing to scrape the bowl and the paddle. (You can also mix with a stiff silicone spatula until creamy and combined.)
Transfer the icing to the piping bag and cut a 1-inch wide opening at the tip. (I used a round piping tip instead.) The icing will be warm and fluid.
Pipe a scant tablespoon of filling onto a flipped cookie and immediately top with an almond-topped cookie.
Gently press to adhere so that the filling reaches the edges of the cookie.
Repeat with remaining cookies and icing. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.
Sarah Kieffer is an absolute GENIUS. Incorporating brown butter in buttercream!?!? I’m upset that I have never thought of trying it.
These were quite possibly the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. The cake portion was delicious- moist and tender, but the icing really put the cupcakes over the top. It was incredibly light and flavorful. I may have to make them again for Valentine’s Day. ❤
The recipe was adapted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book: Recipes for Irresistible Everyday Favorites and Reinvented Classics by Sarah Kieffer. I halved the recipe and made 12 cupcakes. (I now regret not making 24!) I also used fine sea salt. Amazing.
Yield: 12 frosted cupcakes (with about 2 cups buttercream)
For the Cupcakes:
1 1/2 large eggs (I used a scale to measure 1/2 an egg)
Note: If doubling the recipe for 24 cupcakes or 2 8-inch round cakes, use 297g sugar and 227g butter.
For the Brown Butter Buttercream:
1/4 pound (1 stick, 114g) unsalted butter for browning
1/4 pound (1 stick, 114g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 oz (27g) cream cheese, room temperature
2 T heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
2 cups (226g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
To Make the Cupcakes:
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
Line a standard cupcake/muffin pan with 12 liners. Set aside. (If making a round cake, butter and flour the pans and then line them with parchment paper.)
In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla, sour cream, and buttermilk.
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low until combined.
With the mixer running on low, add the butter one piece at a time, beating until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
With the mixer still running on low, slowly add half the wet ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
With the mixer running on low, add the rest of the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Increase the speed to medium and beat for 20 seconds. (The batter may still look a little bumpy.)
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and use a spatula to mix the batter a few more times.
Using a large cookie scoop (mine is 3T), divide the batter between the cupcake wells. Each well should be a little more than halfway full.
Using an offset spatula, smooth the tops. Tap the pan gently on the counter 2 times to help get rid of any bubbles.
Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (I baked mine for 17 minutes on convection.) (If baking cake in an 8-inch pan, bake for 17 to 22 minutes.)
Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. (If using a round cake pan, let cake cool in the pan set on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then, remove to let cool completely.)
To Make the Brown Butter Buttercream:
Have a small, heatproof, freezer-safe bowl set next to the range.
Melt one stick of butter in a light-colored, heavy bottomed skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat. Swirl the butter around with a rubber spatula as it melts and starts to bubble.
When it starts bubbling, increase the heat to medium and keep stirring the butter until it boils and begins to foam, about 3 minutes. It will smell nutty and you’ll start to see little brown bits on the bottom of the pan. *Keep stirring, making sure to genly scrape the bottom of the pan with the spatula as you do so. At this point, the butter will begin to quickly change from light brown to dark to burned, so keep a close eye on the pan.*
Once the butter and browned bits are golden brown, remove from the heat, and immediately pour the brown butter and the toasted bits and flecks from the bottom of the pan into the reserved heatproof, freezer-safe bowl.
Let the brown butter cool in the bowl for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature. Then, place the bowl in the freezer and let chill until solid, about 30 minutes.
When the butter is solid (but not frozen!), transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle.
Add the remaining 1/4 pound (1 stick) of room temperature butter to the brown butter in the mixer bowl and beat on medium until smooth.
Add the cream cheese and beat on medium until smooth and creamy.
Add the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt and mix on low to combine.
With the mixer running on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until combined. (I turn the mixer off in between additions of sugar.)
Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary, 6 to 8 minutes.
Using a cookie scoop (I used a 3 T scoop), place a heaping dollop of buttercream on top of each cupcake. (Alternatively, use an offset spatula to ration the icing.) Spread the buttercream over the top decoratively, as desired.
Note: Frosted cupcakes should be refrigerated if not serving right away. Bring to room temperature prior to serving.
I almost made this custardy apple cake instead of an apple pie for our Thanksgiving feast. Then I realized that it was a better plan to make both! 😉 We enjoyed the cake on Thanksgiving Eve- perfect. I loved that this version incorporated browned butter.
This recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com, contributed by Erica Bruce. I modified the method and substituted apple cider for the brandy. I would recommend baking the cake the morning it will be served because it requires an extended cooling time prior to slicing and serving.
Yield: One 9-inch cake (about 8 to 10 servings)
8 T (1 stick) salted butter, plus more for pan
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 pounds (about 4 apples) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 pound (about 2 apples) Braeburn or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
156 g (12 T) white sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 T apple cider, brandy or Calvados
86 grams (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional
Heat the oven to 375ºF, preferably on convection, with a rack in the middle position.
Coat a 9-inch springform pan with butter, dust evenly with flour, then tap out the excess.
In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Cook, swirling the pan frequently, until the milk solids at the bottom are golden brown and the butter has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. (I used a 12-inch stainless steel all-in-one pan.)
Pour into a small heatproof bowl without scraping out the skillet. The remaining butter in the pan is used to sauté the apples.
Stir the allspice into the browned butter and set aside.
Add all of the apples, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the salt to the still-hot skillet and set over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all moisture released by the apples has evaporated and the slices are beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
Add the apple cider (or brandy) and cook until evaporated, 30 to 60 seconds.
Transfer to a large plate, spread in an even layer and refrigerate uncovered until cool to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and 9 tablespoons of the remaining sugar.
Gradually whisk in the browned butter.
Add the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until smooth; the batter will be very thick.
Add the cooled apples and fold until evenly coated with batter.
Transfer to the prepared springform pan, spread in an even layer and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Place pan on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake until deeply browned, about 30 minutes on convection or up to 35 to 40 minutes in a standard oven.
Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Run a knife around the inside of the pan and remove the sides before slicing.
Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Note: Don’t slice the cake until it has fully cooled; if it is at all warm, the texture at the center will be too soft.
My daughter is a blondie girl. ❤ We enjoyed these amazing no-frills blondies as part of her 15th birthday celebration this year.
The original recipe is titled Caramel Canvas Blondies in Midwest Made: Big Bold Baking from the Heartland by Shauna Sever, one of my favorite books. Sever comments that they are known by many other names such as Butterscotch Bars or Toffee Bars in Midwest community cookbooks.
The salted caramel-esque base could easily accommodate any add-in but my birthday girl requested this minimalist version. 🙂 Classic, crowd-pleasing deliciousness.
Yield: about 2 dozen bars
non-stick cooking spray, for pan
384g (3 cups, spooned and leveled) all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp flaky sea salt (I used Maldon)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
480g (2 cups plus 2 T, firmly packed) light brown sugar
3 large eggs, fridge cold
1 large (20g) egg yolk, fridge cold
1 T pure vanilla extract
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups or 339g) unsalted butter, browned and cooled
2 to 3 cups (about 300 to 450g) chocolate chips, nuts, candy bits, or other mix-ins, optional
Make the Brown Butter: Place the butter in a light-colored pan over medium heat. Cook until foaming, amber in color, and until the milk-solids brown and separate, about 5 to 7 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a heat-proof bowl to cool.
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat to 325 F (170 C), preferably on convection.
Spray a 9×13-inch (23×33 cm) metal baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on 2 opposite sides. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and flaky and fine salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla until lighter in color and texture, about 1 minute.
Whisk in the cooled browned butter.
Fold in the flour mixture just until no dry floury streaks remain.
Fold in mix-ins, if using. Stir until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and use and offset spatula to smooth the top.
Bake until the blondies are fragrant and golden, with a slightly glossy surface and a raised, wrinkled perimeter beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes in a convection oven or up to 40 minutes in a standard oven.
Let cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.
Using the parchment paper, lift the blondies out of the pan to transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bars of desired size.
Note: Store blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
One more baked doughnut treat to share. This version can (dangerously) be made very easily with one overripe banana. 😉 More fun than banana bread!
The recipe was adapted from chiselandfork.com. I incorporated whole wheat pastry flour and modified the method. The fabulous brown butter glaze was essential.
Yield: 8 mini-doughnuts
For the Doughnuts:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (1 large banana)
1 large egg, beaten
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T milk (I used 1%)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Brown Butter Glaze:
4 T (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
4 to 5 T confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of coarse salt
To Make the Doughnuts:
Preheat oven to 375°F, preferably on convection. Spray 8 wells of a mini-doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Add mashed banana, egg, melted butter, milk and vanilla extract and stir until just combined.
Using a small cookie scoop, distribute the batter into the prepared 8 wells of the pan, about 3 scoops of batter per well. Using an offset spatula spread evenly. (Alternatively, place batter in ziploc bag and squeeze out air. Cut corner of bag. Pipe the batter evenly in the pan.)
Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes clean.
Remove from oven and let rest on a rack in the pan for 5 minutes. Then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
To Make the Brown Butter Glaze:
Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until it foams and has a nutty aroma, about 5-7 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a heat-proof, shallow bowl to stop the cooking process.
Add the sifted confectioner’s sugar one tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition. Add enough sugar to reach desired consistency.
Whisk in a pinch of salt and vanilla extract.
Dip each doughnut in the glaze and place back on cooling rack.
One of the most dangerous things I’ve ever done is to “join” baking groups on Facebook. The beautiful baked goods that are shared make me feel compelled to bake and to try cookbooks that are raved about.
This recipe is from 100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More by Sarah Kieffer. This book has a major fan base online. I’m only one recipe in and am already a huge fan. 🙂
Baked goods that involve cinnamon-sugar are a crowd-pleaser in my house so selecting cinnamon roll blondies out of this book was an obvious choice. These blondies had the added bonus of incorporating nutty brown butter too. I weighed the ingredients when possible. Fabulous!
Yield: One 9×13-inch pan, about 24 small blondies
For the Brown Butter Blondie Base:
2 cups (284g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks or 227g) unsalted butter
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 cup (200g) brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
1 1/2 T pure vanilla extract
1 tsp salt (I used coarse salt)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
For the Cream Cheese Filling:
4 oz (113g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch salt (I used coarse salt)
For the Cinnamon Sugar Swirl:
1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt (I used coarse salt)
1 T ground cinnamon
To Make the Brown Butter Blondie Base:
Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
Grease a 9×13-inch (23×33-cm) baking pan and line with a parchment sling. (I used a metal baking pan.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 12 tablespoons (170g) of the butter. Brown the butter until it is dark golden brown and smells nutty, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons (57g) butter to the pot, swirling the pot until the butter stops foaming.
Add the granulated and brown sugars, vanilla, and salt, and stir to combine. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Add the eggs and egg yolks and whisk until combined.
Transfer the butter-egg mixture to the bowl with the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and smooth into an even layer. Set aside while you make the toppings.
To Make the Cream Cheese Filling:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Add the granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt, and mix on medium speed until well combined.
To Make the Cinnamon Sugar Swirl:
In a small saucepan or skillet, melt the brown sugar, butter, and salt together over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon until combined.
Dollop the cream cheese and cinnamon sugar over the top of the brown butter blondie batter base in the prepared pan, alternating between the two.
Drag the tip of a butter knife through the batter, creating swirls. (I created swirls parallel to the length and the width of the pan.)
Bake for 25 to 29 minutes, or until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the blondies comes out with only a couple of crumbs. (The testing spot should be in a central location that does not have the toppings because they will appear wet when the base is fully baked.)
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Use the parchment sling to gently lift the blondies from the pan. Cut into bars.
Note: Store blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. (We placed a few in the refrigerator and they were also absolutely fabulous chilled.)