Nothing like funfetti to bring back the era of childhood and 2nd grade birthday parties. It's weird to think that that taste is associated with a whole different period of life, and that even within my short twenty years I can look back and point to certain chapters that have already ended. The End -- sealed shut except for hazy glimpses on a sentimental day.
I recently had a chance to flip through some of those old chapters. One of my best friends had a birthday this past weekend and we decided to commemorate the occasion by taking her on a nighttime drive down memory lane. We started at our high school and took a slow lap around -- marveling at the renovated structure we barely recognized and pointing out the spots where we used to hang around when we snuck out of class, or where so-and-so got asked to homecoming.
And then we went to her middle school, a place that brought back memories of pre-teen angst and awkward haircuts and the friends who shaped our adolescence.
Final destination was her elementary school. We ran out of the car and climbed the same playground where she had spent all of her recesses. The air was cold and the jungle gym bars felt distantly familiar under our palms. We sat there on top of the jungle gym, breathing in nostalgia and squinting our eyes to envision our elementary-school selves. It was a marathon of "Do you remember when"s and "Remember that time..." and "Do you still keep in touch with..."
I wish reminiscing didn't feel the way it did. It's dreamlike, laughter-inducing, and sometimes unbelievable, but always tinged with a bit of sadness. This recipe is in the spirit of reminiscence. It captures all of the best parts of the experience, and unless funfetti makes you wildly emotional for any particular reason, hopefully these cookies bring nothing but smiles all around. Make a double batch and share with the people who brought you through your pre-teen angst and awkward haircuts, or mail some across the country to old friends you haven't seen in a while.
(1) Brown butter is amazing. It'll add a deep nutty flavor that will make you want to eat all the dough before it makes it to the oven. Try your best not to. Here is a tutorial for browning butter like a pro and not burning it like I always do. After browning, I poured it into a shallow container and stuck in the freezer for a few minutes to let it solidify.
(2) I've heard artificial vanilla extract is the way to go if you want that truly nostalgic funfetti taste. Couldn't get to the grocery store in time for this batch, but I'd recommend trying it out! Let me know what you think.
Brown Butter Funfetti Cookies
Based on a recipe from the Tasty Kitchen
Makes ~30 cookies.
[One more note: Admittedly I haven't gotten the chance to test all the measurements precisely, so that's why some ingredients are somewhat "eyeballed." This is what worked for me, but if you have doubts you can always refer back to the original recipe, which does not use brown butter but works fantastically nonetheless.]
1 cup and 2 tablespoons brown butter (completely cooled and solidified)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg, 1/2 of a beaten egg
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Scant 1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rainbow jimmie sprinkles
2 tablespoons nonpareil sprinkles
10 golden Oreos, crushed
In a large bowl, cream together the cooled butter and sugar using an electric mixer for about 2 minutes. Add in vanilla extract and eggs. Beat together until well combined.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add it slowly to the butter mixture, combining well on low speed but being sure not to overmix. Add in the sprinkles and mix slowly so the colors do not bleed.
Scrape dough into Ziploc bags and refrigerate for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator and scoop into 1.5 tablespoon balls onto parchment paper, leaving about 1 inch between them. Sprinkle crushed Oreos on top (you could also mix these right in with the dough, but I liked how they looked on top).
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and the tops are still soft (they'll harden as they cool). Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!