Brown Butter Cookies

Some day, if you’re very lucky, I might post the Kolachi cinnamon bun/sticky bun/cinnamon roll recipe…

But not yet. Today, brown butter cookies. If you’re making them for more than your own little family, I’d suggest doubling the recipe, or even tripling it.

I wish you could smell these

Browned butter cookies are kind of the Holy Grail of holiday cookies. They may not look as colorful or shiny as some of the others, but it would be a horrible mistake to pass them up.

(For those Indiana Jones fans, please do not carry the analogy further than this. You will not turn to dust if you choose a different cookie.)

Yield: Makes 16.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


3/4 Cups (1 1/2 Sticks) salted butter
1/2 Cup dark brown sugar
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 Cups all-purpose flour
Raw sugar, for coating cookies (or any other large grained sugar, like turbinado or demerara)

NOTE: If you use unsalted butter, add 1/4 Teaspoon of salt to the dough.

Making Brown Butter

There’s really no trick to making brown butter. It’s a lot easier than you might think considering how delicious it is. Basically, just add your butter to a small saucepan.

Salted butter is good for this - as is Earth Balance

Then place the pan over medium-low heat until it melts. Stir the butter and after a few minutes it will start to foam and then the milk solids will sink to the bottom. Keep stirring or swirling your pan and eventually the butter will start to turn a light brown and give off a very delicious, nutty aroma.

That means it’s done.

Really the only way you can mess this up is to overcook it and turn your brown butter black. I actually think I overcooked mine a bit for this recipe because I was watching an eleven-month-old and not watching my butter. Go figure.

A shade too dark, but still delicious

Cool the butter

Once you have your brown butter, pour it into a dish (above) and store it in the fridge for about an hour. You want it to be chilled and almost solid before continuing with the recipe.

It’s okay if it’s a little liquid still, but it should be cold before you make the cookie dough.

Annoying but important step!

Making the Dough

Once your butter is cool, add it to a bowl along with your brown sugar. Don’t worry about the tiny particles of milk solids. You can add those also. They won’t hurt a soul. Cream the butter and sugar together – shouldn’t take more than 3 or 4 minutes to achieve a light and airy texture.

Then add your vanilla and slowly incorporate your flour. This isn’t a very wet dough, but that’s okay.

I think you could just scoop these on a baking sheet by rounded teaspoon or tablespoon and bake them without a problem, but if you want to take it to the next level, lay out all your dough on some wax paper and wrap the wax paper around the dough, then press down to form a cylinder.

You can make your cylinder whatever size you want. The smaller you want your cookies, the narrower your cylinder should be. Mine was probably about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter.

Next, sprinkle down a good amount of raw sugar (or any very grainy sugar…you could even use colored sugar if food coloring is okay with you and you’re looking to go festive). Roll your dough log around in the sugar until it’s well coated.

At this point you can wrap your dough up in the wax paper and stick it in the fridge for a few days without a problem, or freeze it for a few weeks.

When you are ready to bake, just take it out and slice off as many cookies as you need.

Baking the cookies

Before baking, I like to sprinkle a bit more of the sugar on top of the cookies, which just gives them a little more texture and sweetness.

Bake them on an ungreased baking sheet in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are slightly dark.

The final cookie is light and flaky and melts in your mouth – think of it as an improved shortbread!

One thought on “Brown Butter Cookies

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