Do Moms still do this? Bake a batch of cookies while the kids are at school so that the house smells amazing when they walk through the door?
Our weather seems to be making an early turn toward fall, which has me thinking about those first days of school every year, both from my own childhood, as well as the girls’.
The anticipation, mingled with a bit of dread – seeing friends again, will the outfit I pick get me off to the right start, will someone be mean to them on the bus, will their friends approve of their new shoes, will they get along with their teacher this year.
I was not one of those Moms who couldn’t wait for school to start. I much preferred the relaxed days of summer to the grind of getting them off to school every day, worrying over homework, lost permission slips and forgotten lunches.
But, cookies can make everything better, can’t they? My Mom thought so, when she baked them for us and so did I when Ellyn and Lauren were growing up. A batch of fresh cookies can wipe away a lot of angst and are a good companion if you have a lot of homework.
So, if you are looking to assuage some stress at your house, or just want to have an indulgent, welcoming treat on hand at the end of the day, might I suggest giving Brown Butter Pecan Cookies a try? They are that perfect combination of crispy edges and chewy middle, with a rich flavor you can only get from taking the time to brown the butter first.They are quite irresistible, as you can see, making it pretty hard to take pictures for this post without slipping.
- 1 & ½ cups shelled pecans
- 2 sticks [8 ounces] unsalted butter
- 1 & ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 & ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 & ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- Spread the pecans out on a heavy baking sheet and toast at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes, watching carefully, so that they don't burn. Cool them completely, then chop coarsely.
- Brown the butter in a 3 quart sauce pan, over a medium flame. Stir and swirl the pan to keep it from browning unevenly. It will foam up, and you will begin to see browning in the center of the pan first. It should have a pleasant, nutty sort of aroma and the color should be quite dark, but not blackened at all. Scrape the butter into your mixing bowl, and cool to room temperature.
- Cream the butter briefly, then cream in the sugars, beating until somewhat fluffy - a minute or so.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients, and beat until completely incorporated.
- Beat in the pecans.
- Scrape the dough into a smaller bowl, or onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and chill completely. If you can wait, it is best after about 24 hours.
- When the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350º, and line heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Portion the dough with a medium cookie scoop, and place on the sheets, round side up.
- Bake for about 14 minutes, turning sheets halfway through.
- Cool on the parchment for a couple minutes, then move to a rack to finish cooling.
- Store tightly covered at room temperature for up to a week.
So so good. And like many cookies of this type, they are actually better as each day goes by – the flavor deepens and the texture improves.And awfully good at the end of a school day. Or any day.