A work friend of mine brought in the most ridiculous…ridiculousest? little cookies from a recent trip to Paso Robles. Rich and carmely with a sandy texture they came from the descriptively named Brown Butter Cookie Company. Don’t let their humble looks fool you–these are gift worthy little bites.
As she handed me one, my friend threw down the gauntlet: “figure out how to make these.”
Once upon a time this would have been a challenge. Luckily, and a little to my disappointment, the internet has made things much easier. A handful of recipes popped up on my first Google search. The fact that multiple refer to these cookies as copycats to the Brown Butter Cookie Company’s recipe is testament to how delicious they are.
They’re also fun to make. There is no fancy equipment involved and the brown butter is stirred in while still hot making the dough a lot like wet sand. Once it cools down, into the oven it goes and in a few minutes you’ve got heaven. I made one single batch and then the next day got down to business with two more double batches.
Spoiler alert: I found the first new recipe to add to my holiday baking for 2015.
Brown Butter Sables
adapted from Yummy Mummy Kitchen
note: a single batch yields about 18 cookies
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- sea salt for sprinkling (preferably fleur de sel)
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and allow it to caramelize. You know it’s getting close when it begging to smell nutty. Watch the butter closely until it turns a medium to light golden brown. Do not let it burn.
- In a small bowl, sift together flour and baking soda.
- Pour butter through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Whisk-in brown butter and sugar.
- Fold-in flour mixture until just combined.
- Allow dough to cool to room temp.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a small scoop (I use 1/2 ounce), scoop cookies into half-domes and place on cookie sheets about 2-inches apart.
- If desired, gently flatten-out dough domes using the bottom of a glass. Dough will be fragile.
- Sprinkle each with a few grains of fleur de sel.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool completely.
- Try not to eat all of them at once.
While gathering inspiration for ways to rid my house of Nutella, I came across an absolutely lovely blog called The Cake Merchant. Oboist by profession, baker by passion, this author’s gorgeous photography and creative verve for desserts quickly pulled me in.
Of course, out of all the fancy and colorful creations she highlighted, the brown sugar and cinnamon shortbread caught my eye first. As you know, I’m always looking for excuses to make shortbread and sable cookies. And, reading the ingredients for a brown sugar and cinnamon variety had be wondering, “why did I think of that?”
Simple and elegant, what sets these cookies apart is a sprinkling of turbinado sugar that has been doused in cinnamon.
Like cinnamon toast, only a smidge more refined.
While the smell of cinnamon rising from the kitchen on a May morning felt a little bit anachronistic, these would be a happy treat on a cool fall afternoon with a cup of tea.
Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Shortbread
adapted from The Cake Merchant
- 1/4 C turbinado sugar
- 1 TBS ground cinnamon
- 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted temp, at room temp but still cool to the touch
- 1/2 C packed golden or light brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 1/4 C all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- In a small bowl, combine turbinado sugar and first tablespoon of cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift in flour then whisk-in salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Using a standing or electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low, and add-in flour, mixing until just combined.
- Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and work slightly until dough comes together.
- Divide dough in half and roll each half into a log (I like to use the cardboard round from paper-towels, split length-wise to help hold shape). Wrap tightly in plastic and either refrigerate for an hour or freeze.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Slice logs into 1/3-1/2 inch rounds (depending on desired thickness). Please on cookie sheet and sprinkle with turbinado and cinnamon mixture. Press down just slightly so as not to change the shape of the dough, but help the sugar stay in place (you could also brush the cookies with an egg-wash first, then sprinkle the sugar if you didn’t want to press the sugar into the dough).
- Bake for 18-20 minutes if using from fridge, add-one 3 minutes or so if from frozen. The cookies should be golden brown on top but not around the edges.
- Cool on wire racks. These will freeze well if tightly wrapped.
Today, because yesterday was the 4th, we’re going nice and easy.
A little Belgium pearl sugar. Or maybe confectioner’s.
Deceptively delicious. They’ll make having to return to work on a Thursday almost okay.
Scissor Sisters. The Kitchen Gods love ’em. Oh, and of course, there was dancin’ today.
Brown Sugar Crinkle Cookies
- 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 cup shortening
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture (the dough will be soft).
- Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.