Cookies & Cabernet during the Covid-19 Pandemic

I am a big believer in good cookies to end a dinner – and I mean very good cookies. Recently, I found a greater purpose for these tasty treats. When the lock-downs started to roll through the United States, it was tough to keep in touch with people beyond never-ending mass text chains. If I never see the words “ha ha” texted again I will be a very happy person.

I know my friends, colleagues, and clients also need some mental health time. When evening comes around, everyone is spent with work calls, emails, general panic and sorting through all the incoming offers from self-proclaimed experts who want to “help out,” for a fee of course. So, to try to keep sanity and clear thinking flowing, I re-tooled some of the cookies recipes we have into this amazing brown butter and salt M&M cookie.

With either a driveway drop-off or shipping across the US, we have been making hundreds of these treats and either letting people enjoy them on their own, or grouping together on a Zoom call to catch up on anything other than the crisis at hand. These cookies are great with a full-bodied wine, and so “Cookies & Cabernet” was born.

Here is the cookie I settled on for the best flavor profile to enjoy with coffee in the morning or wine at night:

Brown Butter M&M Salt Cookies

This batch makes 30 if you use a medium scoop, which we recommend

Ingredients

  • 18 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 16 tablespoons (two sticks) browned, 2 tablespoons chilled
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup regular sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon premium quality vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 cups of M&Ms, preferably the new mini M&Ms
  • 1/4 cup of Heath bar toffee, sold in the baking section (not the candy bars, just the actual toffee)
  • Malden sea salt for finishing the cookie

Making It

  • Brown the butter, which is the only challenging technique in this recipe. Take a medium sauce pan and put over high heat, then add two sticks (16 tablespoons) of unsalted butter, cubed. In short, you are separating the solids in the butter, which will drop to the bottom and toast, creating a nutty flavor. You want to use a wooden spoon to scrape the solids off of the bottom so they don’t burn. Once you see that the butter has browned into a deep color, but not black, pour into a bowl with the two tablespoons of chilled butter and watch it bubble. This will stop the cooking process of the butter. Also, add some of the milk back into the mix. Let this bowl sit in the refrigerator for 50 minutes or until solid, then take out and use (if it gets fully chilled, let it sit out until room temperature).
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Fit your Kitchen-Aid with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and two sugars to the bowl and cream the ingredients for 5 minutes at a medium-high speed. When the mix is fluffy, lower the speed to medium low and add the two eggs. When fully mixed, add the vanilla and instant coffee granules, mix fully and shut off mixer.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then slowly mix while scraping down the side with a spatula until fully incorporated. Mix in the M&Ms and toffee.
  • Take a medium scoop (looks like an ice cream scoop but smaller) and place 15 cookies on a half baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add a pinch of Malden sea salt to the top of each cookie and bake for 13 minutes, then remove and let sit on sheet for 5-7 minutes. Move to a rack and let cool.

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