I am a sucker for shortbread, in any shape, form, or flavor, so when I saw these buttery little babies among Gourmet's cookie favorites rundown, it was love at first sight.
I wasn't disappointed. The only thing wrong with these cookies, and the reason I sorely wish I'd never made them, is that they are so. darn. good. I can't resist them. The texture, the flavor, the smell . . . a trifecta of unbelievably addictive goodness. If I could have only one cookie for the rest of my life, this might be the cookie.
Sounds like a lot of hyperbole, I know. And I don't even care. My hyperbole meter fled with my self-control. And let it be a warning to you. If you make these, you'd better strap on the heavy-duty willpower, because the scent alone is enough to make a grown adult (me, at least) weak in the knees.
Eleven more days of this? I might need insulin.
Brown Butter Cookies
Adapted from Gourmet magazine, June 1961, available online here
- 1 cup butter (I used salted)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (I used 1 tablespoon fine sugar with 1 teaspoon pure Madagascar vanilla extract added)
- 2 1/3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Blanched almonds halves or sliced almonds to decorate
- In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter on low heat, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir in sugar and vanilla sugar and remove from heat. Let cool.
- Combine flour and baking powder and beat in cooled butter mixture to form a smooth dough.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Roll small balls of dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place dough balls about an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press each ball of dough down using the tines of a fork. Top with half of a blanched almond or an almond slice.
- Bake at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until edges just start to turn golden. Remove from baking sheet after 1 minutes and let cool on wire racks.
~I got 30 cookies from this recipe.
- I decorated some of my cookies with a cookie stamp. This particular dough is quite soft, so it didn't perform that well for this decorating application, but some came out really nicely.
- To get the sugar to highlight my snowflake, I just dipped the oiled cookie stamps in confectioners' sugar before stamping the dough. I found it worked best if I flattened the dough ball slightly with my fingers before stamping.
- I made my dough the night before I baked the cookies. When I retrieved it from the fridge the next day, it was rock hard. It still had not softened at all after half an hour on the countertop, so I microwaved fist-sized chunks of it for 10 seconds at a time. Worked like a charm.
- If I let the dough get nice and soft before rolling into balls, it barely cracked when I pressed it with the fork.
- Cookie stamps courtesy of Rycraft. These stamps are beautiful, sturdy, heirloom-quality stamps. If you're looking for a great stocking stuffer for your favorite baker, check out the site ~ they have a huge selection of traditional and unique designs.