“I burn, I shiver; out of the sun, and into this shadow.” – Virginia Woolf, ‘The Waves’
It’s the little things that bring joy. Entanglements of flowers. Cookies wrapped in bows, shared or devoured alone. Details and thoughts that last for longer than just instantaneous pleasure. I’ve always managed to live between two extremes. Living in a catatonic state of violence or softness. And, it took me years to realise how to balance out both the light and dark aspects of my personality. My life was once withered, and now, it’s coated in roses. Kind of like these blooms. More precious the light than the all-consuming darkness. The shadows in these images, the shadows in myself, wear darkness so beautifully. Meant for me, and me alone. The suffocating entanglement of wild, so beautiful, so abandoned, so delicate. Choking everything that comes close. Strangulations of floral, ivy, vines and opalescent blossoms. Each strand, competing for breath. Intimately engulfed within each other. Both beauty and ugliness, light and darkness, existing in all aspects of life.
Onto these cookies. Specifically, Brown Butter and Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies! It feels like I’ve been promising the recipe enough for a lifetime, and the one there-over. They’re endlessly delicious. Addictive, due to the nutty, charred, undertone of browned (almost burnt) butter. There’s melted chunks of gianduja and dark chocolate throughout. Hazelnut meal for texture. Flaked salt, mandatory. Gianduja’s one of those ingredients that I can’t live without. It’s heavenly hazelnut paste combined with sweet chocolate. I brought mine back from New York but it’s easy enough to find online. Milk chocolate will do as a just fine substitute too.
The recipe makes for a few dozen. I bake off a few of these cookies as needed and freeze the rest for when desire and craving hits. It’s a self and freezer win. I’ll be gifting these for Easter too. I’ve always thought that food, makes a better gift than any. Nothing else comes close to the feeling food brings, it’s something unusual and personal. Kind of like Uncommon Goods. These cookies, along with a whole range of gifts from Uncommon Goods, will make up my current and future gifting schedule. Uncommon Goods stocks the most thoughtful and unique gifts and every item is created without harm to the environment, animals or people. There’s so many things that I love, especially the gifts for Mother’s Day and Women. A donation is made to a non-profit of your choice with each purchase too. Uncommon Goods completely removes the notion of gifting as consumption and turns it into a practice that’s both ethical and kind. We all have a responsibility to impact the world in a positive way. And, Uncommon Goods, completely has this covered. So, gift kindly, ethically. Make cookies. Add flowers. These cookies are adorably cute with flowers. Enjoy. Give to yourself and give to others. And everything works out.
BROWN BUTTER AND HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES
175 grams (6.2 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
250 grams (8.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
30 grams (1 ounce) hazelnut meal
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
150 grams (5.3 ounces) granulated sugar
130 grams (4.6 ounces) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean extract
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
75 grams (2.6 ounces) gianduja or milk chocolate, roughly chopped
170 grams (6 ounces) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
flaked salt, for sprinkling
Place the unsalted butter into a medium sized saucepan set over medium heat. Heat, stirring often, until the butter is golden and melted. The butter should begin to foam but will subside as it continues to cook. Increase the heat to medium-high and continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until the butter is beginning to turn brown in colour and smelly nutty in fragrance. Some solid burnt bits should have also formed at the base of the saucepan. Remove from the heat and set aside until just slightly warmer than room temperature.
Meanwhile, in a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, hazelnut meal, baking soda and salt until evenly combined.
In a separate large bowl, combine the granulated sugar and light brown sugar. Add in the browned butter and whisk until evenly combined. Add in the vanilla bean extract. Stir to combine. Vigorously whisk in the egg and egg yolk until combined.
Add half of the dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter and sugar. Use a wooden spoon to beat until the dough is just beginning to form. Add in the remaining half of the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Place the gianduja (or milk chocolate) and the dark chocolate into the bowl. Use the wooden spoon to vigorously combine the chocolate throughout the dough until it is evenly incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the dough in the refrigerator to rest for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, pre-heat the oven to 180 c (350 f). Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Using a 5 cm (2 inch) cookie scoop or a generous tablespoon as a measure, scoop out as many sized balls as you can out of the dough. Place about 6-8 dough balls on each cookie sheet (depending on the size of your sheet and making sure to allow room for spreading) and set the remaining dough balls aside. At this point, I only bake off the cookies I need and store the rest in an airtight container in the freezer. Sprinkle the tops of the cookie balls with a bit of the flaked salt.
Bake, for 11 to 13 minutes, or until the edges are firm, the cookie is beginning to turn golden but the middle is still soft. Make sure to rotate the cookie sheet halfway during baking! Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on their sheets for 5 minutes before moving out onto a wire rack to continue to cool before serving.