Brown Butter Cookies

I was chatting with a friend the other day, saying how September seemed nine-weeks long, and October crept by; and suddenly it’s Thanksgiving, which means Christmas/Hannukah holidays are just a skip away!  I think I’m utter disbelief, but secretly excited!  To me, it’s not just the holiday season, but it’s cookie season and one of my favorites is a simple Brown Butter Cookie.  It’s sweet like a sugar cookie but with a twist – the smooth elevated tastes nutty brown butter.

 

Brown Butter is magical.  It steps up your baking, as well savory baking.  Have you made brown butter?  It’s simple but you do need to keep your eye on it.  Once it begins melting, stir occasionally remembering it can go from the ideal golden tan color to burnt very quickly.  Keep stirring it, you’ll be the milk solids separate, you’ll see darks flecks of brown lingering around the sides and on the bottom, and you begin a smell a nutty aroma.

 

In this recipe, I swap out the room temperature butter for brown butter that’s been cooled to a solid.  The specks of brown bit add a little something special to finished product – much like seeing flecks of vanilla bean, but in this instance, it’s bits of brown butter.

 

The key to the substitution is to make sure your amounts are equal.  If your recipe notes melted, butter, you can use the brown butter right away.  If the recipe notes room temperature, chill the brown butter first.  I’m using 1 cup/8oz room temperature butter in my recipe, so I browned 8 oz butter until the golden color made an appearance and specks of brown bits were visible.  I poured into a bowl and popped into the freezer to chill to a solid. 

 

This cookie is fabulous by itself, or you can sandwich it with caramel.  This is a basic in my holiday baking and I hope it finds itself into your cookie arsenal as well.

 

 

Brown Butter Cookies

(Adapted from Creative Cookie Decorating for Everyone)

Makes 24

Equipment:

Stand mixer with paddle

Small saucepan or sauté pan with sides

Rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment

Rubber spatula

2 ½ inch round cutter

 

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted, room temperature butter – browned

¼ tsp plus a bit more

¾ cup confectioner’s sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup cream cheese, softened

1 large egg, room temperature

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour – extra for rolling

½ cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbs cornstarch

 

Steps:

  1. Place a saucepan or sauté pan with sides on the stove over a medium heat.  Add the butter and stir with a rubber spatula. Your butter may foam and sizzle but that’s ok.  Continue stirring for 6 minutes or longer if you don’t see the milk solids turning dark on the bottom.  Once the butter is a deep tan color, remove.  Pour the brown butter into heat-safe bowl and place in the fridge or freezer until cold and solid.   Once chilled, remove the butter to your stand mixer and beat on medium for a minute or so the brown bits are evenly mixed.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry element – flours, baking powder and cornstarch – set aside
  3. Add both sugars and cream cheese mixer with your butter and continue to mix for another 30-60 seconds on medium.
  4. Add the egg, carefully not to include any shell, and the vanilla to the wet mixture, creaming everything together so all is just incorporated.
  5. Slowly add the dry element to the wet on a low speed.  Once everything is added and combined, the dough will pull apart from the sides.  It may appear dry but continue to mix for another minute and it will come together.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375*   Scrape the dough onto plastic or parchment and divide into two pieces.  Wrap each piece and form into a circle and give it a brief chill – no more than 20 minutes.
  7. Unwrap your cookie dough on a lightly floured surface and roll to 1-4-inch thick.  Using the round cutter (or any cutter you want) cut out your cookies and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Upon removing from the oven, let me sit on the baking sheet for 1-minute.  Transfer to cooling rack, then enjoy.
  8. Store in an airtight container for 1 week or wrap well in plastic and place in an airtight container and freeze.