Lunchtime can be an awkward meal. It’s not clearly defined and as a meal that is often eaten during a limited time (limited though floating around somewhere between the hours of 11:30 a.m. to a foreseeable ‘late lunch’ at 3:00 p.m.), definition is a welcome quality once in a while. Breakfast has definite players—toast, cereal, donuts, coffee, the French toast and pancake deal—that while numerous, offer a pretty clear path to satisfied sustenance. Dinner has many more players than Breakfast and spans many more hours than Lunch, but Dinner by nature isn’t rushed. There’s time to decide and choose.
This was the dilemma during a recent Lunch break, and after going back and forth from the dry cabinet to the fridge to the bread shelf, and then repeat, the most logical choice seemed to be to abandon Lunch altogether. And make cookies.
To rationalize, they do contain oatmeal and if one so chose, (as I did not), they could even contain raisins or some other sort of sweet and slightly healthy dried fruit. And for some reason, browned butter seemed an infinitely healthier alternative to normal butter so I set out to create a Lunch cookie. Which really is just a cookie-result of an indecisive Lunch break.
Also for that particular Lunch, I ate cookie dough. The next day, I had cookies.
Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups quick cooking rolled oats
1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted
4 (5.6 oz.) Heath Bars or toffee bits, chopped
1. Mix sugars in a large metal bowl with a wooden spoon. Brown two sticks butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. To brown butter, place sticks of butter in saucepan and melt completely, continuing to cook until butter solids first separate, then recombine and eventually brown. It’s takes a while and at times the butter will make gurgling noises similar to a potion—a very buttery potion. Stir to make sure butter doesn’t burn. When butter browns to a dark golden brown, remove from heat and pour over sugars. Let sit until bowl and butter are cool enough to stir. Mix butter and sugars together, and don’t get worried if mixture sweats a bit.
2. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add eggs and vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture and stir until thoroughly combined and thick. Add in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips, pecans, toffee bits, and any other additions. Raisins, coconut, chocolate chunks, M&Ms, pretzels—anything will work. Mix until just combined, and then stir in the oats. Dough will be very thick. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 8-24 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and bake 2-3 tablespoon-sized dough balls for 10-12 minutes. Flatten and shape dough balls for perfectly round cookies. If dough is too stiff, allow to warm a bit—after all the refrigeration was to deepen the flavor.