Burnt Butter, Caramelised White Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Cookies

7/14/2021 10:57:00 AM

Burnt Butter, Caramelised White Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Cookies. It's a mouthful, but what a delicious mouthful!
Burnt Butter, Caramelised White Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Cookies
Burnt Butter, Caramelised White Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Cookies

Hello hello! I've got a brand new, incredibly delicious cookie recipe for you today! Burnt butter, caramelised white chocolate and toasted pecan cookies. So much toasty nutty buttery caramelly deliciousness. I don't have any exciting story behind the creation of these cookies, these are just some of my favourite flavours and I'd long been thinking I should combine them into the one fabulous cookie!

Ingredients for cookies
Ingredients for cookies

So, burnt butter. I love it, love it, love it! The rich toasty nutty flavour and the gorgeous aroma - just heavenly! (You can also check out the previous burnt butter recipes on my blog if you are similarly obsessed). If you don't already know, when you burn butter (or brown it), you're melting it until the fat separates from the milk solids, and continuing to cook until the milk solids turn golden brown and smell amaaaaazing. (Go easily the first few times until you get the hang of it - if you properly burn the milk solids, it makes everything taste unpleasant and bitter, and there's nothing to do but to chuck it out and start over again. I speak from bitter - hah! - experience). I love burnt butter in baked goods, where it gives everything a gorgeous rounded nutty flavour, but it's also great in savoury applications (sauce grenobloise with fish, burnt butter and sage with gnocchi or tortellini, for example). It never doesn't taste good!

Question: Can I use replace normal butter with burnt butter in any baking recipe?

Generally yes... but with a little care and adjustment. It's not just a one-to-one swap. When you burn butter, you're allowing the water in the butter to evaporate, so you end up with a smaller amount of butter after it's been burned. I've found that the easiest way to get around this is to start with the same weight of butter that your original recipe asks for, burn it, then weigh it and add enough water to make it up to the original amount. That way there's no guessing around with the amounts, you get the burnt butter flavour, and you've replaced the evaporated liquid! Ta-dah.

Burnt butter cookie batter
Burnt butter, caster sugar and brown sugars

I also love caramelised white chocolate. My particular favourite is the expensive and hard-to-come-by Valrhona Dulcey. I used to buy small blocks of it either in Paris or at the Singapore Airport duty free in transit, and slowly savour them at home, but I've since discovered that some small chocolatiers here in Melbourne stock Valrhona Dulcey fèves and sell it by weight. (The fèves are small oval pieces, like large chocolate chips). It's good stuff - I usually buy a smallish amount at a time and just snack on it. Absolutely wonderful. If you can't find Valrhona Dulcey, Cadbury Caramilk is a more widely available alternative, which also comes in bars or chips. (I'm not personally a fan of Cadbury Caramilk as I find it too sweet and milky tasting, but I know it has legions of dedicated fans, so you may love it!) It's also possible to caramelise your own white chocolate if you are so inclined. (I haven't tried this myself, but there are loads of tutorials online!)

The last key ingredient - toasted pecans. I like pecans, but I'm not as obsessed with them as I am with burnt butter or caramelised white chocolate. However it is surely the perfect nut for this cookie. Their fragrance, light sweetness, crunch and butteriness are just right! The only tip I'll share is that you should definitely toast them first to amplify their flavour. And as per Beatrix Bakes' sage advice, toast them gently in an oven to get them evenly toasted all the way through, rather than in a frying pan (where they'll likely end up scorched on some parts and raw within).

So - with all that out of the way, this recipe is based on my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe (David Lebovitz' wonderful Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies), with with the butter being burnt, the chocolate chip being caramelised white chocolate, and the nut being toasted pecan. Sometimes I make this cookie dough with unsalted butter, but in this case I think the salted butter (plus the extra 1/2 teaspoon of flaky salt) is really needed to balance out the flavours and temper the sweetness of the caramelised white chocolate. 

Cookie dough balls
Cookie dough balls, ready for their overnight rest in the fridge

I don't always bother refrigerating cookie dough overnight, but I think with these cookies it's important, to really make sure the butter has re-solidified and prevent them from spreading out too much.

Cookie dough, ready for baking
Cookie dough, ready for baking

I also use the tip of banging the tray against a hard surface halfway through baking to knock some air out of the cookies and give them a nice undulating, craggy texture. (Got this idea from Edd Kimber and Tieghan Gerard!)

Burnt butter, caramelised white chocolate and toasted pecan cookies
Burnt butter, caramelised white chocolate and toasted pecan cookies

I like these a little underbaked, and still warm from the oven, when the chocolate chunks are all melty and the batter in the centre is still gooey. That sweet buttery gooeyness against the crunch of the edges and the crunchy pecans is just perfection! These guys also freeze really well - I only bake a few at a time so I can spread out the deliciousness but also so that I only eat them fresh out of the oven, when they're at their absolute peak. (Just freeze the dough balls in a single layer in a freezer bag or airtight container, bake from frozen, and add a couple of minutes to the baking time when you do bake them). Good with tea, excellent with strong black coffee.

Burnt Butter, Caramelised White Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Cookies
Burnt Butter, Caramelised White Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Cookies

That's it! If you love these flavours like I do, you simply MUST make these cookies. If you can, splash out on the expensive chocolate and the fancy butter, as you can really taste them in the final product. A total decadent treat!

Burnt Butter, Caramelised White Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Cookies
A recipe by Sarah Cooks, adapted from David Lebovitz' Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

150 grams pecans
115 grams salted butter
110 grams dark brown sugar
100 grams white sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
180 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling if you like
200 grams caramelised white chocolate (either in chips or roughly chopped)

Preheat the oven to 150C. Spread the pecans out on a tray in a single layer, and cook for 20-30 minutes or until slightly darker and they smell amazing. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, roughly chop and set aside.
Place the salted butter in a small saucepan and place over a medium-low heat. Allow the butter to melt, swirling occasionally to help it melt evenly. After it melts, it will start bubbling and spitting. Keep cooking, stirring well with a flexible spatula and scraping the sides and the bottom, until it goes darker in colour, smells amazing, and you can see small brown flecks in the liquid. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool until almost solid again. (You want it to firm up enough so that it's like softened butter, ready for baking). Weigh the brown butter, and add enough water to bring it back up to 115 grams. (You'll likely need a tablespoon or so).
Place the brown butter and water, and the two sugars into the bowl of a stand mixer (or just beat by hand), and beat until smoothly combined and lightened in colour. Add the egg and vanilla and beat in.
Sieve over the flour and bicarb, crush in the salt and mix to combine.
Add the pecans and white chocolate and mix in.
Use a spring-loaded ice-cream scoop to scoop the mixture into a shallow airtight container in a single layer and cover with the lid. Refrigerate overnight or at least for a few hours until the balls (heh) are solid. If you want to freeze some of the cookie dough, store the balls in a freezer bag or airtight container in a single layer and put in the freezer.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 175C. 
Arrange the balls on a lined baking tray, allowing room to spread. If you like, sprinkle with a little extra sea salt.
Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the tray and bang it firmly on a hard surface (like the corner of a kitchen counter). Place the tray back in the oven (if your oven has hotspots, rotate the tray to ensure even browning), and bake for a further 2 minutes or until lightly golden brown but still gooey inside. Remove the trays from the oven and allow the cookies to firm up before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. (Or cool until cool enough to handle, then INHAAAAALE).
Makes 16 big cookies

Have you made this recipe? Leave a comment below! Tag me on Instagram @sarahcooksblog and hashtag #sarahcooksblog

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  1. Burnt butter is the best! :D These cookies sound like a mouthful-in the most delicious way! :D



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