Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Brown Butter Cookies

There has been a surge of brown butter recipes as of late on the web... largely inspired by a recent article in the now-retired Gourmet Magazine. Brown butter is an amazing ingredient -- it's the result of cooking butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to foam and turn a caramel brown. This results in caramelization of the milk solids and alters the flavor of the butter to an amazing nutty, toffee-like taste. I've seen it used in everything from pasta sauce to cakes and cookies.

With Nathan deployed for a year, baking and shipping cookies has been fairly high on my priority list. I wanted to come up with a brown butter cookie recipe of my own, and after some trial and error, invented one I really love. It is a salty-sweet cookie with a sparkling sugar coat and would be perfect for your holiday gift baskets. Or just to eat by the fistful with a big glass of milk. Whatever floats your boat. ;)


1 cup of butter, browned and cooled to room temp. (You can do this part up to 1 day ahead. The butter won't firm up after it cools, it will be semi-liquid and grainy. Don't worry, it will whip up beautifully when the eggs are added to the batter. )

1.5 cups white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2.5 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar for coating

In a large mixing bowl, combine browned butter and sugar. Mix until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla and whip until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Sift flour, salt, soda, and baking powder together into wet mixture. Mix just until well blended. Form into 1" balls (I used a small cookie scoop which worked great), and roll in additional sugar until coated. Place about 3 inches apart on a cookie sheet. I line mine with parchment paper -- well worth a few bucks for the roll. When the cookies come out of the oven, i just pull the whole sheet of parchement off, cookies and all, and cool that way. No mess, no crumbs, no cookies falling through wire racks. Bake at 400 F for about 8-10 minutes. You want the cookies to take on a sandy brown color but not cook so long they dry out. Experiment a little to see what doneness you prefer. Less time = chewier cookie. I like mine on the crisp side, so 10 mins was about right. They still had some chew in the center but the outer edges were crisp and wonderful.


Emily said...

My mom always comes up with things for me to do for my god parents at Christmas, and I have probably reached the age where I should do my own thing. Your recipe sounds like it'd be great!

Cari said...

Do you use salted or unsalted butter?

Cari said...

I made these today and they are very good. Mine seems to get a little flat, however. Did you refrigerate the dough before you rolled it out?

Jen said...

Cari, I used salted butter... thanks for the clarification! Oh, and my cookies were pretty flat too, but I actually like flat cookies so I didn't refrigerate the dough. Doing so would likely help them not spread as much, and also make for a chewier cookie.

Jen said...

wait a sec, did you roll out the dough?? I make them ginger-snap or snickerdoodle style... make balls and roll in sugar, then place on the cookie sheet as is. If you rolled them out like sugar cookies, that totally explains why you'd have super flat cookies.

Jen said...

Sorry. The double ?? was an accident. It looks so.. agressive. LOL.