Macheesmo

Confident home cooking
I wish you could smell these.
Desserts

Brown Butter Cookies

by Nick

I made some kind of elaborate cookies this week on Macheesmo. Ok. I haven’t made anything ridiculously elaborate, but all the cookies so far have been filled or stuffed or layered or something that involves more than one bowl and a baking sheet.

So for the last cookie of the week, I wanted to do something simple. And these browned butter cookies are definitely simple to make. They also happen to be delicious.

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
Total Time
Print Recipe

Brown Butter Cookies

Brown Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Cups (1 1/2 Sticks) salted butter
  • 1/2 Cup dark brown sugar (I used light and I wish I could have a do over.)
  • 1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • Demerara sugar, for coating cookies (or any other large grained sugar)
  • NOTE: If you use unsalted butter, add 1/4 Teaspoon of salt to the dough.

Directions

1) Add butter to a small saucepan; 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 pan and eventually the butter will start to turn a light brown and give off a very delicious, nutty aroma.

2) Once the butter is brown, pour it into a dish and store it in the fridge for about an hour. It needs 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.

3) Once butter is cool, add it to a bowl along with brown sugar.

4) Mix the butter and sugar together with a mixer (hand or stand) on medium until they light and airy for 3 to 4 minutes.

5) Add vanilla and slowly incorporate flour.

6) Either scoop onto a baking sheet or lie out dough on wax paper and wrap the wax paper around the dough and press down to form a cylinder. Using your hands, press on the one edge of the dough – sandwiching the cylinder of dough between the two sides of paper. As you press down, the cylinder gets longer (and narrower).

7) Sprinkle down a good amount of demerara sugar (or any very grainy sugar like sugar in the raw).

8) Roll dough log around in the sugar until it’s well coated.

9) Wrap 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.

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

11) Before baking, sprinkle a bit more of the sugar on top of the cookies.

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

Adapted from a Gourmet recipe. RIP.

 

Making Brown Butter

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

Salted butter is good for this.

Salted butter is good for this.

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 football and not watching my butter. Go figure.

This was my result which was just a tiny shade too dark I would say.

Maybe a tad too browned...

Maybe a tad too browned…

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.

Important step!

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.

I used light brown sugar because I had it on hand, but I think dark brown sugar would be a lot better. It would just hold up better to the brown butter flavor. It’d be worth a trip to the store in my opinion.

Anyway, mix the butter and sugar together with a mixer (hand or stand) on medium until they light and airy. That shouldn’t take more than 3 or 4 minutes.

Shoulda used dark brown sugar.

Shoulda used dark brown sugar.

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 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 and press down to form a cylinder.

I use my hands to kind of press on the one edge of the dough – sandwiching the cylinder of dough between the two sides of paper. As you press down, the cylinder gets longer (and narrower)! Get it?

Kind of like compound butter...

Kind of like compound butter…

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 demerara sugar (or any very grainy sugar like sugar in the raw). Roll your dough log around in the sugar until it’s well coated.

Easy!

Easy!

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.

Really flakey and flavorful!

Really flaky and flavorful!

I made two mild errors with these cookies (not using dark brown sugar and slightly overcooking my brown butter) and they still turned out very good. The final cookie is light and flaky and melts in your mouth.

Simple and very tasty!

Oh, and if anyone is paying attention, the thing I borrowed from yesterday’s cookie recipe is rolling in sugar!