The 12 Days of Holiday Cookies: Day Three

Browned Butter Cookies with Rosemary Caramel Drizzle
If you want to make a great gift from the kitchen, this is it. 
Browned butter gives these cookies an amazing flavor.
Caramel = luxury, sort of like those Lexus commercials, but much less expensive.
And sugared fresh rosemary branches add a little sparkle to your holiday cookie platter.
These rich cookies underline one of the main concepts of next spring's Bake Happy. If a baked treat is full of flavor, you can feel satisfied nibbling one or two—not polishing off a platter full. Browning the butter with a vanilla bean adds a luscious flavor accentuated by a finishing aromatic drizzle of Rosemary Caramel , which you can make ahead and keep in the refrigerator.

Browned Butter Cookies with Rosemary Caramel Drizzle
Adapted from my upcoming cookbook Bake Happy (May 2015).
Makes about 48 cookies
1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
21/4 cups (281 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Rosemary Caramel  prepared (see below)
In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Slit the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds into the melted butter. Continue cooking until the butter bubbles, then turns medium brown with dark flecks, at around 250°F (120°C). Remove from the heat and let cool until opaque, about 15 minutes.
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream the browned butter and sugar until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the flour and salt and beat until you have a stiff dough that comes together in a ball. Divide the dough in half.
Form each half into a 16-inch long log. Cut each log into 1/4-inch slices. Place each slice about 1/2-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch. Let cool in the pans.
Warm the caramel in the microwave and place in a plastic squeeze bottle. Drizzle each cookie generously with the warm caramel. The caramel will stay soft, so don’t stack cookies on top of each other.

So Happy Together
Rosemary + Sugar
Sugared fresh rosemary adds a festive garnish to a platter of these rich cookies. Simply brush or dip the branches in beaten egg white or reconstituted powdered egg white, sprinkle with sparkling sugar, and let dry.


Rosemary Caramel
What’s amazing is how such simple ingredients combine to make something so luxurious and versatile. When this caramel is warm, you can pour it like a sauce.  When it’s warm, you can drizzle  it on cookies or brownies; when it’s chilled, you can spread it on a cake layer. Artisan chocolatier Christopher Elbow makes toothsome truffles with this caramel.
Makes about 22/3 cups (650 ml)
1 (3-inch) sprig fresh rosemary
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
2 cups (500 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 ml) water
12 tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter

1 teaspoon fleur de sel or fine sea salt
Add one 3-inch sprig of fresh rosemary to the cream in a microwave-safe 4-cup measure or bowl.  Microwave on high for 90 seconds. Cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the rosemary. 
Combine the sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Clamp a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir with a whisk or long-handled wooden spoon. When the syrup comes to a boil, stop stirring and remove the spoon. When bubbles that rise to the top get bigger and wider, the sugar is ready to turn color, usually in about 10 to 12 minutes after it first begins to boil. Have oven mitts and the remaining ingredients ready and be vigilant. The sugar mixture will turn pale tan, then get browner. Remove the caramel from the heat when it is dark amber and the candy thermometer registers 300°F.
With oven mitts on to protect your hands from splatters, whisk in the butter until it has melted. The caramel will foam up, then subside. Wait for 30 seconds and then whisk in the cream and salt until the caramel is smooth. Let cool in the pan for several minutes, then serve right away or pour into a glass jar. The sauce will keep, refrigerated for up to 3 months. To reheat the caramel for later use, microwave on medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes or until warmed through.

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