Butter me up! You can use nutty-tasting brown butter
I recently took a trip with my daughter, Julie, to San Luis Obispo, California, to visit my granddaughter, a student at Cal Poly. While there, we visited some small beach towns and walked the quiet beaches, not realizing the thousands of steps we were accumulating on our fitness trackers. I tell you this not to brag (well, maybe) but to justify all the “travel tastes” I intended to share with you. But limited space and special circumstances required I narrow down the column to brown butter. Don’t be shocked — exercise and healthy eating are still priorities, but into each life a little brown butter must come. Google it and you’ll find out brown butter is very trendy right now.
As we walked off the pier at Cayucos, I saw the Brown Butter Cookie Company, a charming, inviting place that immediately caught my attention. Not wanting to negate the benefits of our exercise, we decided we could justify splitting a cookie to experience these cookies. We were greeted by friendly staff offering us a sample — OK, samples — of their signature brown butter cookie, hand-rolled to bake, with a shortbread texture and a rich, almost nutty/toffee taste and color. Their story: Two sisters had a little deli that included their homemade cookies, the cookies drew the customers, the deli closed, the cookie factory opened and they were a hit. And then the cookies were in our luggage.
Once I got home, I learned the Humblehoney Bakeshop in Fruita has a No. 1 seller in their brown butter chocolate chip cookie! There was that brown butter again. The Sentinel’s Biz Buzz had already talked about Toni Brammeier and her mom, Judy Plourde, who started the bakery tucked in Best Slope Coffee Shop. A brown butter chocolate chip cookie called for hitting the road to meet “the honeys,” as they are now called, and learn about Toni’s unique version of a brown butter cookie that took her a year of working out the ingredients and altitude adjustments.
I opened the door of the cozy, charming and welcoming coffee shop and was soon greeted by barista Max, who served me the best cup of coffee. Then came Toni, carrying a box of her brown butter chocolate chip cookies. Just for you, dear readers, I had to try one. Dedication can be delicious. The big, soft cookie, loaded with large chocolate chips that melted in my mouth, was enhanced by the nutty toffee flavor of the brown butter, with a sprinkling of sea salt to add the final change. She has taken an American favorite to a new dimension.
Toni’s parents followed their other daughter to Colorado to settle in Fruita for the lifestyle. After a 17-year career in telecommunications, Toni decided that same lifestyle was for her and later met her future husband at the Hot Tomato Pizzeria, owned by Jen Zeuner and Anne Keller. They encouraged Toni and Judy to turn their love of baking into a business, ending Judy’s retirement and starting Toni’s dream career. They believe in the goodness of butter and using fresh, whole, seasonal ingredients and supporting those who produce them. New ideas and creations continue to come, even a cookie using local brewery beer.
The Humble Honeys love local honey in some of their baked goods. There may “bee” a hive or two in their future. Come to the Palisade Honeybee Festival this Saturday, talk with local beekeepers and honey producers from all over the valley. I’ll see you there and we’ll discuss honey and brown butter with the chefs.
Visit the Humblehoney Bakeshop and put in your order at humblehoneybakeshop.com.