You have got to try these cookies. As much as a cookie can be life-changing, these cookies are undoubtedly so. Nostalgic for the days of campfires and s’mores? Need a special dessert to bring somewhere? Just like chocolate chip cookies? These cookies have got you covered.
I’ll tell you what the secret is: brown butter. There’s something truly magical about browning butter to put in your cookies. It changes the cookies from something simple into something totally complex and dare I say, “adult”? Browning the butter creates a nutty, caramel-like flavor, that quite simply, is irresistible. I’ve made cookies with browned butter before – stuffed with nutella – another time, maybe after I run around the block 12 times, I’ll tell you about them. But s’mores cookies!? Now that’s a whole new level for me.
These cookies were sort of born of a melding of two different desserts I was going to make this weekend. I was supposed to make some brown butter chocolate chip cookies for a party, and had my brown butter all ready to go, but then the party was cancelled. For a work party this week, my coworkers requested something with s’mores. So naturally I decided to turn this into an experiment! I replaced some of the flour with graham cracker crumbs, subbed in some mini marshmallows and extra graham cracker pieces and voila – s’mores cookies!
These are first and foremost a delicious chocolate chip cookie, but the sweet hints of marshmallow and graham cracker pair perfectly with the caramel flavor of our browned butter. Let’s talk marshmallows quickly: typically, baking marshmallows into cookies doesn’t work very well – they just melt away and turn into sugar. However, the Marshmallow Bits I used stay together perfectly – they’re essentially dried marshmallows, like the ones that come in hot chocolate packets. I found mine at my local grocery store (I actually looked at Target first, and didn’t see them there), but you should be able to find them in the aisle with the rest of the marshmallows and baking ingredients.
Finally, don’t be intimidated by the steps and total time required for these. Most of that is time when the dough is sitting in the fridge, and you are doing whatever else your heart desires. Like re-reading Harry Potter for the umpteenth time.
You’ll start by browning the butter, and then when it’s perfectly caramel colored, put it back in the fridge to let it solidify again. Once you make the dough, let it chill for at least 3 hours. I know that sounds like a lot, but don’t skip it – chilling thoroughly will make sure you’re cookies don’t spread so much. I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite bakers and bloggers – every single thing I’ve made from her website has turned out beautifully. She swears by chilling the dough, so I say don’t mess with what works.
This is the perfect recipe for when you’ve got other things to do around the house – wake up and brown your butter. Let it chill for a couple hours while you clean your apartment, watch a movie, paint your nails – you get the idea. Then, make your cookie dough. Go for a walk, go shopping, and eat some food so you don’t eat all the cookie dough when you get back. Bake cookies. Devour s’mores cookies while imagining sitting under the stars around a campfire.
Brown Butter S’mores Cookies
Total Time: 6-7 hours (including chilling) Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Yield: ~2 dozen
Adapted from: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar (or dark brown)
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (~4 sheets, ground into a fine crumb)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons low fat milk (1% or 2%)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup marshmallow bits (not mini-marshmallows – look for the dried marshmallows in a plastic bottle)
1/2 cup roughly crushed graham crackers (bite-sized pieces) (~2 sheets)
Start by browning the butter- just drop it straight from the fridge into a sauce pan and allow it to melt and then simmer – stirring constantly with a whisk or spatula. The butter will start to froth and bubble – keep stirring. Watch it carefully: as soon as you start to see brown bits on the bottom of the pan and it turns lightly brown, turn the heat off and pour it into a large tupperware or bowl to cool down. The butter should have almost a nutty aroma. If the butter is very darkly browned, you’ll need to start over – it can get very bitter if burnt. Put your browned butter back in the fridge to solidify (the shallower the container you pour the butter into, the faster it will solidify, but expect it to take ~3 hours).
Spoon chilled butter into the bowl of a mixer, and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Then, add in both sugars, and cream together until fully combined and it looks light and fluffy. Finally, add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Once evenly mixed, add slowly to the wet ingredients, beating on low speed until fully combined. Next, beat in the milk on medium speed. Finally, add in the chocolate chips, marshmallows, and graham crackers, combining on low speed until just dispersed.
Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours. I found it easiest to chill for an hour, take the dough out, roll into balls, and place it back in the fridge for the remaining 2-3 hours. Either way, you’ll want to form cookie balls with ~1.5 tablespoons of dough (a cookie scoop makes this really easy if you have one!).When you’re close to baking time, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Place 2 inches apart on a parchment paper or silicone mat lined baking sheet. Bake for 11-12 minutes – cookies should be lightly golden around the edges. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely. The cookies will deflate a bit during this time, but feel free to take this opportunity to press a few extra chocolate chips in the top – for both looks and taste! 🙂