A Southern Grace: brownie points

December 28, 2017

brownie points


Brown butter snickerdoodles. Nope, no brownies here. (They are here, if you're curious.) I'm talking about brown buttah.

After my oh-so-memorable experience with brown butter frosting, I decided that the only thing that could possibly make my favorite cookies even better was to incorporate brown butter.

Was I correct? Of course I was! I expected the texture to change quite a bit since I was starting with melted butter instead of creaming softened butter with my sugar, but if anything, the texture was better--crisp edges, but with chewy and soft middle. The first taste you get is the cinnamon sugar that coats each cookie, but that's followed closely by the nutty, delicious brown butter. Bringing up the rear is the definitive tang from the cream of tartar that makes a snickerdoodle a snickerdoodle.

Because I'm a nerd from way back (and have the food science degree to prove it!), I'm an ardent fan of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, and in his novella about chocolate chip cookies, he details how to properly incorporate brown butter into cookie dough. Based on his findings, this is the method I used: I let the brown butter cool completely to room temperature. With my hand mixer, I beat the granulated sugar with the eggs until it completely dissolved, then I added the brown butter and brown sugar. Because I let the butter cool, it became firm enough to beat into the egg and sugar mixture without deflating it and destroying all of those captured air bubbles.

I haven't tried any other methods yet so I can't say for sure that this technique is why my cookies turned out so well texture-wise, but I have confidence in Kenji! I'm also even more certain that brown butter makes everything better.

Incidentally, I just wrote an article for Taste of Home describing how to achieve chewy sugar cookies, and I took a lot of what I learned in my research and applied it to these! I do love a chewy cookie.

(printable recipe)
Makes 24
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, for rolling
First, brown the butter. Start melting the butter over medium heat, using a pan with a light-colored bottom so you can see the color. Swirl the pan occasionally to be sure the butter is cooking evenly. The butter will begin to foam and the color will progress from lemony-yellow to golden-tan to a toasty-brown. Once you smell that nutty aroma, take the pan off the heat and transfer the browned butter into a heat-proof bowl to cool completely.
While the butter is cooling, sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Cream together the granulated sugar and the eggs.
Add the brown sugar and brown butter and blend well.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix only until all the flour is moistened.
Refrigerate your dough at least a few hours; I find overnight to be ideal.
To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until very slightly brown around the edges.
Let cool on the pan briefly before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


Angie Schneider said...

Crispy edges and chewy middle..sounds perfect!
Happy New Year, Grace!

Angie Schneider said...

Is cream of tartar a must here?

grace said...

@Angie: No, not at all! I just think of it as the definitive ingredient in snickerdoodles, but to be honest, I will use less in the future—it’s a bit TOO tangy for me!

Gingi Freeman said...

I usually make these for Christmas, but forgot to this year.. not too late, eh?!?! - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Agness of Run Agness Run said...

Yum! These chuckledoodles seem so delightful and definitely worth trying, Grace. I can't wait to prepare them. ;)

lisa is cooking said...

These sound like perfection! I'm not quite ready to step away from the cookies yet, and now I wish I had a plate full of these.

Food Gal said...

Crispy edges and chewy center is my fave cookie texture. Add in a load of cinnamon and browned butter, and you simply cannot go wrong. ;)

Pam said...

My kind of cookie, they look delicious! Brown buttah rules! Happy New Year, Grace!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Love the wonderful flavor that browned butter gives to food. I'm sure your cookies are delicious. Wishing you all the best in the New Year.

Adina said...

Perfect looking cookies, they must be delicious! Happy New Year!

Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking Disorder said...

I did expect a brownie with the title haha! Brown butter is something I need to try more

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

Snickerdoodles are a wonder aren't they! I turned some into Chai Tea cookies--this is another great idea! Before you know it you'll be baking with your little girl!

Pam said...

OMG! Bookmarked. Drooling.

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

Well, I did have a cookie recipe lined up to bake this weekend, but I think that just got changed! These sound fantastic!

Emma - Bake Then Eat said...

These cookies sound perfect!