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Extra Dark Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

  I thought I'd found it.  I'd been to every advisor, run through every career test, and taken a wide variety of classes.  Walking down the stairwell of a library, I sent a group text to my family, trying to be happy with the announcement of my double major after so many undeclared semesters.

  Seconds after I reread the text, I stopped walking.  None of it felt genuine, none of it felt like me.  I saw books I didn't want to read, people I couldn't seem to fit in with or relate to, and so so much quiet stress bouncing around the numerous floors of the building.  Students in literal cells surrounded by books cramming their brains with something, all in an effort to make it in this world.

  I don't even know what making it means anymore.  A good job?  High-paying salary?  A resume?  A degree?

  But I shrugged it off.  You're crazy, Ellen!  Just overthinking all of it.  You love learning, this next year will be so great for you now that you've declared something.  You never try hard enough to get involved, just suck it up.

  Fast forward exactly 4 months.  A week into my classes I came out a crippled mess that was no semblance to any Ellen I've ever known myself to be.

  It's complicated.  But it's also not.  After 2 years of schooling and already taking one year off, I'm back where I started.  I have no idea what to do.

  I spent high school partially on the internet and with my nose in a cookbook.  If I wasn't doing that I was in the kitchen making treats for friends with my own catering business.
  If you've been reading this blog for any number of months/years, then you know I'm not kidding.  Making the hurdle into college basically shut down the regularity this blog/space had.  Anytime I was studying I would inevitably hop on here and browse through all my hard work and photographs and feel like I was mourning something.

  I don't like to think that I made a wrong decision somewhere, I don't really believe that at all.  I believe everything I've done up to this point has made me a stronger and more capable human, if sometimes a little bit embittered.

  All that said, I'm lost.  I don't feel the draw towards academia at all, but it gives me an eery feeling when literally everyone else my age is surrounded by midterms and textbooks and filled to the brim with complaints about it.  I feel like I'm cheating, or being lazy, especially since my grades were nearly always top notch.  But the fact is I don't know what I want with school at all, and I'd rather figure that out before I jump back in, if I jump back in.

  So in my drifting, I've been searching for some words.  For someone in a similar situation.  Whether that's a fictitious character in a novel, a blog post, a pinterest quote, a show on Netflix...I'm desperate for some affirmation.

  But, guess what, I'm never going to find that.  Affirmation about my own life decisions can only come from me.  So I'm biting the bullet and putting my whole messy quandary up here because I want somebody else also in an indecisive situation to also be able to see this and take comfort in the fact that they aren't the only ones struggling.  We all are.  I have yet to meet a person that really knows what they're doing or if they're doing it "right".

  Nope, I don't know a lot at this point.  But if there's one thing I do know it's that brown butter and dark brown sugar and an extra pinch of salt can make an absolutely fantastically deep and wonderful cookie.

  That was a lot of adjectives in what is definitely a run-on sentence, but describing these snickerdoodles to you absolutely requires breaking a few grammar rules.  Because honestly, at this point, I'm a little tired of regulations and societal expectations.

  So I just sit on my bedroom floor and eat half a dozen cookies and hope something brilliant comes to me pretty soon.  But if it doesn't, I'm willing to recreate these incredibly soft cookies as many times as necessary just so they can fill my tiny kitchen with their cinnamon-y comfort.

Extra Dark Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
Yield: about 2 dozen small cookies

  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until you hear it starting to pop/sizzle.  Heat continually, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sizzling starts to subside.  Once it does, the butter will begin to brown, you then remove it from the heat and pour it into the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl to cool down for a few minutes.

With an electric mixer, stand mixer, or just a whisk, mix in the sugars until smooth and well combined. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla, and mix until smooth.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Gradually add them to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Combine the 3 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Scoop dough into equal 1 inch sized portions, roll into balls and coat in cinnamon sugar. Place dough balls an inch apart on cookie sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms of the cookies are golden. Right after coming out of the oven, gently pat the tops of the cookies with a spatula to flatten and add some extra cracks.  Cool and then enjoy!

Sources: adapted from Baker Chick