As excited as I may be, this may sound a little silly but I just can't wrap my head around shorts and bikinis quite yet. I find that it's always a bit of a shock to become fully immersed in tropical heat, warm intense UV rays and salt water, after spending many months cooped up indoors. The intense equatorial sun is always so surprisingly fierce, and I always have to remind myself over and over again that it's important to be stern and diligent with sun screen and avoid the harsh rays, as lovely and as the sun may feel. I've heard stories of friends spending a few weeks developing a base tan in the tanning beds, but the thought of being stuffed inside a coffin-shaped light bulb heat box terrifies me. I plan on bringing an extra large sun hat and plenty of cover-ups, which should do the trick.
Brown butter is pretty straight forward. It is a slightly better, sweeter, nuttier version of itself, created by heating butter until the water and fat melt away freeing up the milk solids to toast and brown producing the most wonderful aroma. Maple sugar, although a bit expensive, looks similar to granulated sugar, but is light brown in color and tastes exactly like maple syrup. It is made by boiling away most of the water from the maple sap once tapped from the maple tree. I like to substitute maple sugar for granulated sugar in most of my baking-related recipes in a ratio of 1:1 whenever I have some on hand, because this stuff goes quick in my house. My friends all joke that I am probably secretly employed by the Canadian Maple Syrup board, because I am always going on about how amazing it is and trying to push it in peoples faces. I mean, I'm Canadian, and we take our maple syrup very seriously.
further reading: The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist.
BROWN BUTTER CHOCOLATE MAPLE PECAN COOKIES
makes 18 cookies
1 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter
1 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
3 oz dark chocolate, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Place the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon into a bowl and combine. Set to the side.
In a medium sauce pan heat the butter on medium heat until it begins to foam. The foam will then subside and the butter will turn light brown and begin to produce a sweet nutty aroma. At this point, remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl add the maple sugar, butter, and egg. Stir with a wire whisk until combined.
Add the dry ingredient to the wet and combine with a wooden spoon just until the ingredients begin to come together. Set a 1/4 cup of chopped chocolate to the side and add the rest including the pecans to the dough. Stir until combined.
Using a heaping tablespoon of dough, roll each cookies into a ball and place onto a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Take the extra chocolate pieces and press into the tops of the cookies.
Place the cookies into the oven and bake for 12 - 13 minutes. I used a stoneware baking sheet and the cookies appeared still soft but cooked at 12 minutes. If you are using a stainless steel baking sheet, monitor the cookies starting at 8 minutes. You want the outsides of the cookie to be light brown, while the center still soft. They will harden up once cooled, so it is better to under-bake then over-bake.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of Maldon salt. Wait five minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to let cool. Baked cookies can be stored in the fridge for a week. Alternatively, you can stored the dough in the freezer for 3 months.