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Hello from Zurich! The gentleman is here for a business trip and I tagged along, as I am wont. Hopefully we’ll be doing some hiking in the Alps and exploring of old villages and things this weekend. But first, let me tell you about these cookies I brought with me.

Apparently, I take requests now.

It makes sense. I like making food. Friends like to eat the food I make. If they don’t cook, and they have a recipe for something they know they like but are unable or unwilling to reproduce on their own, why not?

A couple weeks ago, the gentleman and I were out to dinner with some friends and our buddy Ross (a fellow board game and beer enthusiast) mentioned that he had this amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe. Now I’ve baked my fair share of chocolate chip cookies. I’ve been tweaking and experimenting with my recipe since college, and I got it just how I like it… then I moved here. And all of a sudden, the cookies made from my previously-solid recipe have been coming out of the oven disconcertingly flat and lifeless. I guess it’s time to open up that chronicle again, searching for the perfect perfect chocolate chip cookie.

So I had Ross send me that recipe. (Look, we live in the future! A hand-written recipe shared via his phone and Google+.)

I was hesitant about sharing a guarded secret recipe on the blog… but turns out it’s an incarnation of the Neiman Marcus recipe, and besides, I couldn’t help tinkering with it anyway. Because brown butter in baked goods automatically makes said baked goods 137% better. Because science.

These cookies are thick and chewy and remain so for days and days after you’ve baked them, if they last that long. The oatmeal gives them more heft than the standard flour-sugar-butter-egg cookie without asserting too much of its flavor. The toasted butter makes them taste deliciously nutty without having to add any nuts to the batter. The recipe’s an all-around solid contender and the cookies have made very good travel companions.

Oatmeal Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 48-56 cookies (depending on size).

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter (Plugra style if you can get it), room temperature, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups rolled (old-fashioned) oats, blended to a powder (see Notes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces dark chocolate, chips or chopped

Directions

Place half of the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. We’re going to brown this butter to a hazelnut brown — beurre noisette. It’ll melt, then foam up, then the foam will clear and it’ll just be clear yellow and bubble a little with some whiting stuff at the bottom. Keep a watchful eye on it; once the whitish milk solids turn light brown and the butter smells nutty, remove it from the heat and combine it with the rest of the butter in a large bowl.

Add the granulated and brown sugar to the bowl with the butter and cream everything together with a wooden spoon or a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, combing well after each addition, then mix in the vanilla.

Add all the flour, ground oatmeal, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and mix until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips or chunks and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Heat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Drop rounded heaping tablespoons of dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes. The edges will not be any darker than the centers; just trust me and pull them out after 10 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a cooling rack. You can let them cool completely, but I like to eat them while they’re still warm. (Who doesn’t?)

Notes

Regarding the oatmeal: you can use a blender, food processor, immersion blender, or spice grinder to grind it up. I cleaned out and used my little coffee grinder, doing several batches to get the full 2 1/2 cups. You don’t need to blend it down to a flour-like consistency — it’s okay if it’s still a bit gritty when you’re done blending.

The temperature of the dough will affect your end result tremendously. A fully-chilled dough, straight out of the fridge and only barely malleable, will produce hearty, sturdy, chewy cookies. As the dough gets closer to room temperature, it will make progressively thinner, lacier cookies that are still chewy, but break up easier and are thus not fit for travel. Plan accordingly.

These cookies are also in-freaking-credible with cooked, crumbled bacon and a pinch of cayenne in them.

Music to cook by: Pursuit of Happiness (nightmare) [MGMT, Ratatat, Kid Cudi // Man On The Moon: The End Of Day]

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