I mentioned in March that everyone should RUN to buy the April 2007 Cooks' Illustrated. In case you did not heed my advice, here is a recipe for the brown sugar cookies. These cookies are so simple to make, but do not require chilling like regular sugar cookies.
The secret to their yumminess lies in the brown sugar and browned butter. The quality of the ingredients matters too. I used to buy the standard, inexpensive Dixie Crystals brand brown sugar at the supermarket, but no more. I picked up from WholeFoods a brand called Wholesome Sweetness. Not only is this brand organic, green, and fair trade, it is also rich and complex in flavor. It tastes like molasses and vanilla! I also used farm eggs.
So, here is the recipe:
14T unsalted butter
1/4c. granulated sugar
2c. packed dark brown sugar
2c. + 2T all purpose unbleached flour
1/2t. baking soda
1/4t. baking powder
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1T vanilla extract
1. Melt 10 T butter in a skillet (preferably not a dark one because it is hard to see if butter is browned) and cook for an additional 1 to 3 minutes until butter turns brown and smells nutty (swirling the pan or stirring the entire time). Watch it carefully or the butter will go from brown to burnt! Remove to a heat proof bowl and add remaining butter, stirring until it melts. Let cool.
2. Mix granulated sugar and 1/4 brown sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets w/ parchment.
4. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
5. Add remaining 1 3/4 c. brown sugar to cooled butter. Mix until no lumps of sugar remain. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
6. Roll dough into 24 to 30 small balls. Roll each ball in the sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 12 to 14 minutes. Remove cookies to a wire cooling rack.