Our neighborhood does such a beautiful thing on Sundays in the summertime. It warms my heart, and adds another reason to miss living here in the valley when we move next month.
On Sunday summer evenings in our church/ neighborhood community, we take turns hosting a Lemonade Social. When we first moved into the area, this was the first real conversations we had with our neighbors and how we really got to know everyone. There was plenty of delicious lemonade and families loaded up their red wagons full of eager children to come and enjoy the evening together. I fell in love with the idea, and wanted to make sure I was a part of it.
Yesterday, I couldn't wait for our turn to fill our front lawn with good friends and wonderful neighbors for the Lemonade Social. Ryan and I spent a good portion of Saturday evening, Sunday morning and late afternoon making ridiculous amounts of Melonberry lemonade (3 large watermelons, and 6 lbs of strawberries), an easy batch of Countrytime Lemonade, adding another pitcher of ice-cold water, and making almost 5 dozen of these cookies you see in this post.
It was so much fun to see people coming over to visit with each other, and watching them switch back between the Melonberry and other summertime favorites in their cups. We left out a pile of chalk for the children to draw with, and I smiled this morning as I saw little colorful drawings up and down our sidewalk (I think the little girls were giving each other "make-overs" at one point with the chalk on each others faces. Oh how I love those darling little girls!) The little ones filled the driveway with their outside toys/scooters/wagons, and the parents visited as the evening finally cooled down to a bearable temperature in the shade. Only about a half gallon of Melonberry was left, and all the cookies were consumed within the first hour. It was perfect, and everyone was so friendly with each other.
We were completely delighted, and I will truly miss these beautiful families. We'll leave them behind when we move next month, but we'll most certainly carry them in our hearts.
These cookies quickly became some of our favorites. We made a batch last week, and immediately decided they needed to make an appearance at the social. The second round wasn't as amazing as the first - but only because I chickened out when browning the butter. If I would have left the butter on for another second on the stove, it would have been perfect (brown butter can go from browned to burned in seconds, and I didn't have a spare batch of butter for another round, so I was pretty careful.) Nonetheless, they still tasted wonderful (but didn't have the heavenly nuttiness the brown butter bring along).
The fluffiness of the inside I think is due completely to the use of greek yogurt. You only need a little, and you can even use buttermilk instead if needed. But it adds such a beautiful texture, and really helps the flavor/texture along.
Next, sea salt is a must. This cookie uses it on the inside, and sprinkled on the outside. It cuts right through the sweetness of the snickerdoodles, and blends perfectly with the gooey melted caramel hidden inside the cookies.
Brown Butter Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles
makes a little over 2 dozen
2 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
2 t cream of tartar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t sea salt
1 C unsalted butter, sliced
1 1/4 C dark brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 T vanilla extract
1 T plain greek yogurt
1 C caramel balls
for rolling the cookies:
1/4 C granulated sugar
2 t ground cinnamon
sea salt for sprinkling on the cookies
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside for later.
2. To brown butter, place slices in a heavy bottomed bowl over medium heat. Let melt, and slowly stir as the mixture starts to foam. When small brown specks start to show, and you smell a beautiful nutty aroma, watch the mixture very closely until it turns a very slight light golden/brown color. Immediately take butter off heat and put in fridge/freezer to cool back to room temperature. Be careful, the butter can go from brown to burned in seconds.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Cream together until very smooth and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and greek yogurt. Mix until combined.
4. Slowly add in (about 1/3 C at a time) dry ingredient mixture). Mix until completely combined. Remove dough from stand mixer and wrap in a ball in plastic wrap (I did a couple layers) and place in fridge to chill for about 1-2 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar.
6. Measure out about 2 tablespoons of dough and flatten the dough in your hand. Place about 5 little caramel balls in the dough and then fold the ends over to cover it. Roll the dough into a ball, hiding any caramel, and then roll the ball into the cinnamon sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Repeat.
7. Bake dough for about 8 minutes, remove from oven, and let sit on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies from sheet to a cooling rack. Store in an air tight container with a slice of white bread.
Recipe adapted from: two peas and their pod