Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars: When predictable suddenly isn’t

After surviving and dealing with Daughters who have gone through wiggly teeth and baby teeth loss for the past 4 years, I was surprised to find myself surprised about Son’s wiggly tooth.  I think my surprise came from my general thinking that Son is more of a baby than he really is.  When he announced that he thought that he had a loose tooth, I immediately said, “You can’t already!” only to realize that yes, both girls had also lost their first teeth in kindergarten and that yes, his first tooth was also loose.

I quickly got my head around the fact that Son would be losing a tooth soon.  It was my third child to lose a first tooth, so I figured that things would be much like the Daughters – tooth gets wiggly,  it falls out (or I pull it), we put it under the pillow for the tooth fairy, and done deal.
On Thursday of this past week, Son and I ate lunch together.  He took a huge bite of his sandwich, chewed and then suddenly went to check the mirror to look at something.  He came back and said, “Something is weird.  I don’t like the way my tooth feels.  It’s all pushed down or something.”  I tried to take a quick look and asked him to explain the pushed down tooth.  He showed me and what I discovered was an adult tooth that was coming in but not fully in, and no baby tooth.  “Where is the baby tooth?” I asked Son.  He looked confused and started looking on the ground.  I began doing the same only to realize that he had the tooth before the sandwich bite and it was following the sandwich bite that the tooth was missing.  The tooth had been swallowed. 
With a gulp, calmly I said, “Don’t worry.  You swallowed it, no big deal.”  Son initially seemed at peace with my pronouncement and began getting used to his missing tooth.  However, a little while later he came to me and asked, “Where does the tooth go?”
A deep breath.  “Oh.  It’s in your stomach and it’ll come out, the way all your food comes out.”
“Oh.  Okay.”
“It’s all fine.  Don’t worry,” I calmly reassured him.  Inwardly I begged him, please don’t ask me to get it for you.
He hesitated.  I clenched my fists in preparation. “Mom,” he asked slowly, “will it bite me on the way out?”
I couldn’t help it.  I burst out laughing.  Son just looked confused at my outburst.  I reassured him that he wouldn’t notice it and it’d be fine.  His next question was, “How will the tooth fairy give me a present if I don’t have a tooth to give her?”
I was relieved that I had a ready answer.  I explained that she’d know and not to worry.
A few minutes later still, Son looked me in the eyes and asked, “Mom, are you the tooth fairy?” 
I took another deep breath and prepared to shatter childhood dreams and fairy dust as I had promised myself years ago, if I was asked the question point blank, I’d answer honestly and not lie.  I said, “Yes.  Mommy is the tooth fairy.”  I prepared myself for the onslaught of tears and the end of childhood.
“Mommy.  Stop joking around.  I know you can’t be the tooth fairy.”  He skipped off happily, all his deep questions about tooth loss, digestion, bites, and fairy visits apparently answered.
I, on the other hand, after being calm outwardly yet inwardly freaking out about tooth digestion, the possibility that someone was going to ask me to procure the swallowed tooth, and the end of magical-tooth-fairy-childhood times, was completely shaken up.
I reached for the closest thing I could find to calm my nerves.  I grabbed the cookie I had made on a whim the day before.  Brown buttery, salty, chocolaty – it was the perfect hodgepodge to counter my mish-mash of emotions.  I bit, I chewed, I swallowed.  I repeated until my nerves and their jangling got under control.  
I discovered it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been a mother in the same situation.  There is always a new twist to throw you for a loop and make you reach for the perfect cookie.  When those times hit, keeps these on hand.  They are easy to make (one bowl into one pan!) and that sprinkle of salt on top just reminds you that yes, life is just full of surprises.
Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Makes 1 half sheet pan, 64 squares
Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar 
2 large eggs 
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
2 cups chocolate chips 
1 tablespoon large flake sea salt like Maldon
Method
Make brown butter.  Heat a heavy pot or skillet over medium heat and add butter pieces.  Whisk frequently to ensure even melting of the butter. After about 5 to 6 minutes of melting, the butter will foam up and subside.  At this point, watch the butter carefully to see if the bottom of the pan is becoming covered in brown specks and the color of the butter has turned from yellow to warm brown.  The difference between brown butter and burnt butter (which is used in other recipes) is about 15 seconds.  Set aside and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375.  Line a half sheet pan (13 x 8 inches) with parchment paper on the bottom or grease.
In a mixing bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter together at medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until combined. In a bowl, stir together the flour and baking soda then add to the butter mixture and combine. Stir in the chips by hand.
Dump entire chocolate chip dough mixture onto baking sheet.  Using a spatula or your hands (fastest when you put disposable gloves on) spread cookie dough mixture until the entire bottom of the pan is covered with a layer of dough, all the way to the edges.  
Take sea salt and crush and sprinkle lightly and evenly over entire cookie dough mixture.
Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Cut into desired pieces
Printable recipe
To calm those jangling nerves

Leave a Comment