It’s not very often that my husband asks me to make a specific dessert, so when he asked for this how could I say no? (Plus, it was the perfect opportunity for me to use these cute little cast iron skillets ) Well, he didn’t specifically ask for a brown butter cookie, or homemade vanilla bean ice cream, or even the mocha fudge sauce. What he specifically wanted was for me to make the molten lava cookie like Red Lobster. I’m quite certain that the only reason he likes going to Red Lobster is for the dessert. Well now I can make this at home, only better. My original concept for the cookie included a molten centre, however, after the first batch made in a ramekin, we agreed that it was just too sweet with the chocolate centre, so for this batch I chose to remove the molten centre, and I think that created a more balanced dessert.
I decided I would take a basic chocolate chip cookie and kick it up a notch, with the addition of brown butter, which gives the cookie an amazing nutty flavour, without actually adding any nuts. Definitely can’t go go wrong with adding brown butter to anything! Then I made some vanilla bean ice cream, because everything is better with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. And the part that really pulls it all together is the mocha fudge sauce. Oh yes, that’s right, fresh espresso in the fudge sauce, now that is good. The espresso in the fudge sauce compliments and enhances the chocolate flavour in the cookie and in the sauce. Now this is one good dessert that’s perfect for your Valentine!
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream and Mocha Fudge Sauce
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 4-8 servings (depending on the vessels used), or 16 Cookies
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position, and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare ramekins or vessels.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda together and set aside.
3. Melt 10 tablespoons butter in an uncoated skillet over medium high heat, for about 2 minutes. Continue to cook while swirling the pan constantly, until the butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty smell, and little brown bits have formed in the bottom of the pan, about 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from the heat, and using a heatproof spatula, transfer the butter to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into the hot butter until completely melted.
3. Whisk, both sugars, salt, and vanilla into the bowl with the butter until fully incorporated. Add the whole egg and yolk and whisk until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Let the mixture rest for 3 minutes, then whisk for another 30 seconds. Repeat the 3 minute rest and 30 seconds of whisking 2 more times until the mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, and ensure no more flour pockets remain.
4. Divide the dough evenly amongst the ramekins, and press lightly to make sure it is even. The baking times will vary depending on the size of vessel you use. You want the cookie to be slightly brown around the edges and puffy in the centre, just like when making a cookie. This will give you a soft cookie. I found that about 15 minutes was perfect, but suggest checking after about 10.
Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream
Makes about 1 quart (1 litre)
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Warm milk,sugar, 1 cup of the heavy cream, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot (do not boil). Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the hot milk, and add in the vanilla bean pod. Remove from the heat, and cover. Let the mixture steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Pour the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream into a large bowl with a strainer set on top and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until fully combined. Slowly, while whisking constantly, pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan.
4. Heat the egg yolk mixture over medium heat, and stir constantly with a heatproof spatula. Heat until the mixture has thickened, coats the spatula, and has reached about 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
5. Pour the custard through the strainer into the cream. Add the vanilla extract and the the vanilla bean pod. Place the bowl over an ice bath and mix until mixture has cooled. Chill mixture throughly in the refrigerator. Once the mixture is cold, remove the vanilla bean pod, and freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.
Mocha Fudge Sauce
Makes 1 Cup (you can halve this recipe, or make it all and save for other things)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) light corn syrup
1/2 cup (125ml) freshly brewed espresso
6 tablespoons (50g) unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Whisk the sugar, corn syrup, espresso and cocoa powder together in a small saucepan. Whisk the mixture constantly over medium heat, until the mixture begins to bubble at the edges at it comes to a low boil. Once it comes to a low boil, whisk constantly for 1 minute more.
2. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and let cool. Chill in the refrigerator until very cold before using, preferably overnight.
Storage: the fudge sauce can be stored up to 2 weeks, covered, in the refrigerator.
Note: If you prefer a plain fudge sauce, substitute water for the espresso.
Let the cookie rest a few minutes out of the over before scooping on the ice cream so that it doesn’t melt too quickly. Best served warm.
Brown butter cookies from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen, 2010. Ice Cream and Fudge sauce barely adapted from The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz.