Brown Butter Cookies Recipe

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Hi, everyone!  I’m Ruth from A House in Holland, here to share a cookie recipe with you, Brown Butter Cookies.  Growing up, I always loved the shortbread cookies that my mom made.  She had lots of different shapes of cookies cutters, and the holiday shapes were almost always sprinkled with colored sugar.  While I would love to keep the tradition going, I find that I rarely have the time to mess with rolling out and cutting dough.  So, when I discovered brown butter cookies, I was excited to be able to get the shortbread taste in the quick and easy drop cookie form. 

The best thing about these cookies is their nutty, intense butter flavor.  The brown butter takes these cookies to an entirely new level of flavor.  They are just enough different from what you’ll usually find on a Christmas platter of cookies that people with be surprised and delighted when they bite into them for the first time.

Speaking of brown butter….if you’ve never tasted something made from it, then you’ve been missing out!  The first time I tried making something with brown butter was when I made these brown sugar muffins.  Let me clear up a little confusion that might be out there about brown butter:  it’s not something you look for in the dairy case.  You actually make brown butter on your stovetop, using just a regular old stick of butter.  Really, the stuff should be called browned butter.

To make brown butter, just take your butter and cut it in small cubes.  Throw it into a saucepan on the stove, and melt it over medium heat.

Once the butter has melted, keep it on the stove and continue heating it.

It will get bubbly and splatter around the saucepan a bit.  (That’s why it’s good to do this in a saucepan with tall sides.)  I like to jostle my saucepan on the stovetop every so often once it gets to the splattery stage, just to keep the liquid moving around a bit.  While you could do the same thing with a spoon or whisk, you risk losing some of the butter every time you take that utensil in and out.  So I try to move the pan enough to swirl the liquid butter every few minutes.

After 5 minutes or so, the melted butter will have lost a lot of the creamy yellow color that it started with, and begin to look almost clear.  It’s at this point that you know the butter is almost browned.  It’s also at this point that I begin to gently, constantly shake the saucepan–just enough to keep that butter in motion.

When tiny brown flecks start to appear in the center of the pan, you’ve got brown butter.  Remove the pan from the stovetop right away, so that the butter won’t burn.   It’s also helpful to pour the butter out into a heatproof bowl at this point.  Make sure you use a spatula to scrape all the little brown bits out of the saucepan–those bits are packed with flavor!  Now it’s ready to use in Brown Butter Cookies.

The super cute kiddo in my pictures below?  That’s one of my nephews, who happens to be an expert cookie chef.

Brown Butter Cookies


1 cup (2 cubes) unsalted butter

2-1/3 cups flour

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 medium eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I like to use bourbon vanilla for holiday baking)


Brown the butter following the directions above.  (Or go here for some really well photographed step-by-step instructions.)  Pour the butter into a heatproof bowl, making sure to scrape out all the butter solids in the pan.  Allow the butter to cool for about 30-35 minutes.  (This is important!)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and assemble the dry ingredients. 

In a small mixing bowl, blend together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  

To the cooled butter, add the brown sugar and mix until well blended.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix again.  

Gently add the dry ingredients to the butter blend.  Don’t be alarmed if the dough seems a little dry.

Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Use a fork or an egg to slightly flatten each dough ball.  Top with granulated sugar, if desired.

Bake for 9-12 minutes in a preheated oven.  Once removed from the oven, allow the cookies to rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.  

I love these little cookies just as they are, but if they look a little plain and you want to dress them up, I’ve found a couple fun variations:

Dipping these buttery morsels halfway into chocolate would probably be gilding the lily, but let’s do it anyway.

via Midwest Living

I found a recipe for cookies similar to mine, but these are topped with salted caramel frosting!!!  That sounds divine.  

via Cooking Classy

Thanks for letting me stop by, Cassity!  Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Baking, everyone!

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