I have discovered the joy that is browned butter. Over the past year or so, I have seen so many delicious recipes that contained browned butter, and the idea of cooking butter until it darkens in colour and deepens in flavour has always appealed to me. I have quite the love affair with butter as it is, so this was not an out-of-character step for me. I first tried it in a savoury dish, when I developed a recipe for our cookbook, Low-Carbing Among Friends, with fish topped by a browned butter sauce. And oh, it was just heavenly. I am not going to share that recipe with you, though. Sorry, folks, but that one is in The Cookbook and will remain in The Cookbook only! You will simply have to buy the book to get at it.
And speaking of “The Cookbook”, I have a few pieces of news on that front. Bear with me here:
~ The SOLD OUT first printing of the book has now been shipped to those who pre-ordered it, much earlier than expected. Those of you who ordered your copy during the pre-order process should be seeing it by December 7th at the latest. If it doesn’t arrive by then, please be sure to email [email protected] with your order details.
~ If you plan on ordering your copy through Amazon, several hundred copies are on their way and should be stocked by this weekend. You will find Low-Carbing Among Friends at http://www.amazon.com/shops/eureka_publishing
~ This book has turned out to be such a hit in the low carb world that we are already planning Volume 2 and 3, and I and my collaborators will be contributing a whole new set of recipes, along with expert advice for following a low carb diet. Right now, Volume 2 is planned for a July publishing date, which means I need to get my butt in gear and start developing some great recipes for you! I can’t give away the whole deal, but do expect some surprises and some new voices and experts for these upcoming volumes.
~ Our team leader, Jennifer Eloff, and our publisher, Ian Eloff, have been interviewed by Jimmy Moore for his amazing Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show. You can listen to the full interview at the following link. Be sure to forward to the 37 minute mark, because there is a previous interview in the first half. http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/5439/515-dr-lauren-noel-and-jennifer-ian-eloff/ It’s a wonderful interview, and really gives some great background about the book, the low-carb lifestyle and our collaborative team as a whole.
For more information on the cookbook and how to order, visit AmongFriends.us
Okay, back to the joy that is browned butter. Not only does it make a fantastic addition to savoury dishes, but it’s wonderful in baked goods as well. I’ve seen any number of cookies, bars, cakes and even icings made with browned butter, and I decided I had to give it a go. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with it, but these lovely Cocoa Nib Cookies caught my eye, and I thought that a low carb version, made with browned butter, would be a good place to start. I thought long and hard about how to make them, what flours to include and how to make them hold together. And I tried two ways of forming them…one roll-out version, and one slice-and-bake version.
The Results: First, let me tell you that roll-out cookies are the way to go with these, no question. In the absence of gluten, the slice-and-bake approach just didn’t work very well, the dough log started to crumble apart even after a good length of time chilling in the fridge. But rolling the dough out between sheets of parchment worked beautifully and they held together very well as I cut them with cookie cutters and lifted them out.
As for the cookie itself, they are good, but I think they need a little tinkering. The deep brown butter flavour didn’t come through as much as I would like, and I fault the coconut flour. Coconut flour absorbs so much liquid, and in my personal opinion, tends to overwhelm other flavours sometimes, even when used in small quantities. So the browned butter got lost here, to my disappointment. I think I need to increase the amount of browned butter and decrease the coconut flour, but that may make them too fragile. We shall have to see.
But I really do like the crunch of the cacao nibs, and they way they add a nutty chocolate flavour without adding sweetness. My kids loved these cookies, though and fought over the heart-shaped ones, goodness knows why! So in that regard, they are a hit. And they sure are pretty!
Browned Butter Cacao Nib Cookies
1/4 cup butter
1 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup granulated erythritol
1 tbsp arrowroot starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cacao nibs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
20 drops stevia extract
1 1/2 oz high % cacao chocolate, preferably gluten free, chopped fine
1 tsp butter
For the cookies, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 3ooF.
In a small saucepan or skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Continue to cook, swirling pan frequently, until colour darkens and butter has a nutty aroma, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, erythritol, arrowroot starch, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and cacao nibs. Add browned butter, eggs, vanilla and stevia extracts and stir until dough begins to come together. It will still be somewhat crumbly, but should hold together when squeezed in the palm of your hand.
Turn out half the dough onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper and use hands to form into a flattened disc. Top with another sheet of parchment or waxed paper and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and lay on prepared baking sheets.
Bake cookies 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the chocolate drizzle, place butter and chocolate together in a small microwave safe bowl.
Microwave on high at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. Use spoon to drizzle lightly over cooled cookies. Let set for at least one hour.
Makes approximately 40 2-inch diameter cookies. Each cookie has 2.1 g of carbs and 1 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 1.1 g.