Published March 1, 2007.
A chewy cookie with a crisp exterior and a big jolt of brown sugar flavor sounded easy to develop, but first we needed to understand the not-so-simple science of cookies.
Could we replace the granulated sugar in a sugar cookie with brown sugar and create a simple cookie that was actually exciting?
We envisioned our result to be an oversized cookie that had a crackling crisp exterior and a chewy interior—and screamed "brown sugar."
We wanted butter for optimal flavor, but the traditional creaming method (creaming softened butter with sugar until fluffy, beating in an egg, and then adding the dry ingredients) gave us cakey and tender cookies. Cutting the butter into the flour produced crumbly cookies. What worked was first melting the butter. We then tweaked the amount of eggs, dark brown sugar, flour, and leavener to give us a good cookie, but we wanted even more brown sugar flavor. We made progress by rolling the dough balls in a combination of brown and granulated sugar and adding a healthy amount of vanilla and table salt. But our biggest success came from an unlikely refinement. Browning the melted butter added a complex nuttiness that made a substantial difference.list of recipes