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Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I spent the morning interviewing ex-cons.

For them, the employees of Homeboy Industries, it’s a second chance and fresh start. A non-profit that works with gang members, fresh out of jail, provides culinary training, GED prep, job placement, parenting skills and so much more. "It’s like a big family, but everyone believes in you." Said one guy, back for a second chance at his second chance.

But sitting at the front of the Homegirl Cafe, interviewing and photographing the employees, it felt like a second chance and fresh start for me too. I was hired to write an article about food. Paid to go there, talk to people and take photos. A rare opportunity it seems for me to bulldog my way into this food writing world that I’ve been fighting so hard to be  a part of. An article I hope to do justice to, undoubtably spending the better part of the next week working on.

So here we are. Me and them. My transformation so much less dramatic, so much less important to my survival. They inspire me. When I asked the man I met, the one who is back for his second time and only 3 days out of jail, how he is going to do things different this time around, he shrugs, "I’m just going to keep showing up. That’s all."

I think he’s on to something there.


Pumpkin Ale Cheesecake with Beer Pecan Caramel Sauce


    For The Cheesecake
  • 9 standard sized graham crackers
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 4 tbs melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 16 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup pumpkin ale
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs flour
  • For The Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin beer
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup pecans


  1. In a food processor add the graham crackers and brown sugar, process until only crumbs are left. While the food processor is still running, add the melted butter and process until it resembles wet sand. Dump into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Press into the bottom until well compacted.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the brown sugar, white sugar and cream cheese. Mix until well combined. One at a time, add the eggs and vanilla, mixing until well combined, scraping the bottom, before adding more.
  3. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon nutmeg and salt, mix until very well combined.
  4. Add the beer and stir until combined.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the bowl, stir on medium speed until just combined.
  6. Pour over the crust.
  7. Bake at 350 for about one hour or until the center no longer jiggles when you shake the rack the cheesecake sits on, it will still look wet in the center. The secret to a great cheesecake is not to over bake it, it's better to slightly under bake it for a smooth mousse like texture.
  8. Chill until set, about 3 hours.
  9. To make the caramel sauce, add the sugar, beer and corn syrup to a pot and stir over medium high heat for about 1 minute. Stop stirring and allow to boil, untouched, until it turns an amber color, about 10 minutes (230 on a candy thermometer). Add the butter and cream, stir until combined. Add the pecans and stir. Allow to cool to approximately room temperature before serving over chilled cheesecake.







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Cassie October 1, 2012 um 4:13 pm

I love your stories and I admire you whole-heartedly. I love that you are part of second chances for people, it’s a great place to be! Love these cookies too!


Blog is the New Black October 1, 2012 um 4:49 pm

I love how round and dense these look! YUM!


Julie @ Table for Two October 1, 2012 um 6:17 pm

you have the best stories of real life, gut-wrenching experiences. everyone always deserves a second chance, no matter what. these cookies with brown butter in them? um, yes please!


amy @ fearless homemaker October 1, 2012 um 7:02 pm

What an amazing program that sounds like. And how wonderful that you were able to experience the positive effects of it (both on you + them) firsthand. And these cookies? Look absolutely wonderful!


Anna @ hiddenponies October 1, 2012 um 7:39 pm

What an interesting way to spend your day! These cookies are exactly my kind of cookie…yum!


Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious October 1, 2012 um 9:24 pm

I think I need to hang out with you because you have such amazing life experiences. Plus, I get to sneak away some cookies from you for myself!


claire @ the realistic nutritionist October 2, 2012 um 4:43 am

I would drink brown butter if it wasn’t so frowned upon in society.


Jen @ Savory Simple October 2, 2012 um 5:52 am

I love your stories 🙂 And these cookies as well. Brown butter makes everything better.


Bree October 2, 2012 um 6:51 am

You are always doing something interesting! Great cookies too 🙂


Laura October 2, 2012 um 4:43 pm

Great post. Love the cookies too. 🙂


Laurie October 3, 2012 um 1:31 am

Howdy! I just made these and they where very puffy and light, very good!


Sidney October 16, 2012 um 10:53 am

OMG!These sound so good


Misha October 24, 2012 um 3:39 pm

At what point do you add the browned butter? The directions don’t specify and almost make it sound like they get added to the dry ingredients? My natural assumption is that it should be added to the wet after it cools…


Jackie October 24, 2012 um 3:54 pm

Yes. Add it to the sugar and eggs with the vanilla.


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