Everyone needs a sous chef in their life, right?
He may be small, but he’s big on heart. He sure knows his way around a kitchen, too. He’s even eaten at Alinea before I have! So jelly.
Yes, I’ve joined the cult of The Tiny Chef. If you’re not yet acquainted with this little culinary cutie who just loves to cook at his teeny stove with button-burners and quench his thirst from a sewing-thimble cup, then you are missing out. Press his tummy, and he even talks. How could I resist? I call him an early Christmas present to myself. Given this crazy year, I’m pretty sure I deserve him, too.
Chef has a sweet tooth just like me. So, of course, the first thing we had to make together were cookies.
He started leafing through a copy of the new “Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy. He took his time pouring over the more than 100 recipes for treats such as “Chocolate Mint Wafers,” “Pumpkin Snickerdoodles,” “Iranian Rice Cookies,” and “Pink Lemonade Thumbprints.”
In the end, he settled on “Brown-Butter Crinkle Cookies.” I think it’s because he loves butter. I also think it’s because these cookies get especially pretty crinkly surfaces because the dough balls are first rolled in granulated sugar, then in confectioners’ sugar.
Chef was impressed that he didn’t even need to try using my full-sized KitchenAid mixer, but instead could just stir everything together with a wooden spoon in a bowl.
Since the dough needs to chill at least an hour, Chef and I took the chance to catch up with an episode of “The Great British Baking Show.”
Before we knew it, the dough was ready. He helped roll the dough balls, as big as beach balls in his tiny hands, before tossing them into one sugar, then the next — all the while impressively keeping his apron pristine.
The cookies do indeed end up with lovely crackly tops, and a deep buttery taste. They’re crisp on the edges and tender within. The cinnamon is barely perceptible, so if you like a bigger hit of spice warmth, feel free to add a little more.
Chef did end up scratching his head a bit because our crinkle cookies didn’t exactly resemble the ones in the photo in the cookbook. The ones in the book appeared much flatter. Ours were much more domed, hardly spreading at all. My guess is that once the dough was refrigerated, the melted butter incorporated into the flour hardened up considerably, thus keeping the dough balls fairly compacted even in the heat of the oven.
The recipe also stated it made three dozen cookies. Chef and I only managed to make 20 — honest. So, we changed that in the recipe below.
But no matter. You can tell that Chef is pretty pleased with his accomplishment. And I, of course, am over the moon with my trusty new sous chef.
Brown-Butter Crinkle Cookies
(Makes about 20 cookies)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high. When it boils, reduce heat to medium; simmer until foamy. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan, until foam subsides, butter turns golden brown with a nutty aroma, and milk solids separate into brown specks that sink to bottom, 2 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer to a large heatproof bowl and let cool 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and the brown sugar into brown butter until combined, then stir in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until a dough forms. Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place confectioners’ sugar and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar in 2 separate bowls. Scoop 1 tablespoon dough and roll into a ball; roll in granulated sugar, then coat with confectioners’ sugar (do not shake off excess). Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing cookies about 1 inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough and sugars.
Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies spread slightly, crackle, and are set at edges, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to racks; let cool completely. (Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature in a single layer up to 2 days.)
Adapted from “Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection” by the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living
More Martha Stewart Cookies to Enjoy: Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies
And: Classic Shortbread