Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rest Days Call For Baking

For some reason, when I take extra rest days due to some niggling little pain or other, I feel compelled to bake.

It's not that I'm a fabulous baker or anything. I think there's just something about following a very structured, step-by-step process in order to make something that's soothing to the part of my brain that gets antsy when I'd rather be running. I may never be Julia Childs, but damned if I can't follow a list of instuctions.

On Sunday evening, I suddenly had a hankering for something that combined bourbon & brown sugar. I wanted something simple that I wouldn't have to worry too much about screwing up, and also something we already had all the ingredients for. After a little Googling, I settled on these:

Which are browned butter & bourbon chocolate chip cookies. Except without the chocolate chips. (I know, crazy. But I've never been the world's biggest chocolate fan in general, and I've had precious few chocolate chip cookies that I felt would not be improved by removing the chips.)

It was really the browned butter that sold me. Browning butter is a fancy-to-me baking skill that I have only recently mastered, and I imagined that bourbon & browned butter would probably play very, very well together.

I was not disappointed. And unless you dislike browned butter, brown sugar, or bourbon, I can't imagine you would be, either.


  • ½ cup (1 stick) of salted butter
  • 4 tablespoon bourbon (The original recipe called for only 1 tablespoon but I have philosophical objections to using 1 tablespoon of bourbon in anything. Also in my experience people seem to be very, very conservative with booze in recipes, which usually results in not being able to taste it at all. Quadrupling, as a general rule of thumb, seems to mostly take care of this. This is also probably as good a place as any to mention that you should never cook with something you wouldn't drink on its own, ie, you probably want to avoid the Johnny Red. And if you do drink Johnny Red, you should probably just stop and never tell me about it. I used Bulleit because we buy the damn stuff in bulk.)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda


Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once it is completely melted, add the bourbon. (The original warns that if you add the bourbon before the butter is completely melted, you could start a fire.) Then brown the bourbon/butter mixture. (I added 2 T bourbon to the butter for browning & 2 more after mixing the butter, sugar, & eggs in order to retain more of the "raw" bourbon character, but it's up to you.) Let the browned butter/bourbon mixture cool in a dish for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour, salt, & baking soda.

When bourbon/butter is cool, beat on low for 1-2 minutes, then cream together with sugars, egg, & vanilla. Slowly mix in dry ingredients & beat on low. (I guess you could add in chocolate chips or nuts or whatever at this point if you wanted.) Let dough chill for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. When chilled, roll dough into balls, spread on a baking sheet, & bake for 10-12 minutes. (The original instructions say 7-8, but mine were still decidedly gooey at that point. I took them out after 11 minutes & they cooled to a perfectly soft, chewy consistency. If you like them solidly done, I'd go a few extra minutes.)

(BTW, I only got 12 medium-sized cookies out of this recipe, so if you want more, scale appropriately.)

Reviews & Testimonials:

"Those cookies are like fucking crack." -Don

I was pretty stoked with how they came out. The brown butter really came through, & the bourbon flavor was perfect. In my opinion, 4 tablespoons seemed to be just about right.


  1. I love baking! I am going to have to add this to my "must try" baking list. My favorite thing to bake besides cupcakes and cookies is red velvet angel food cook. It is simply amazing. People actually ask me to bake it for them because they claim that I am the best at it. :-)

    I posted the red velvet angel food cake on my blog forever ago, but here is the link: