Dec 22

Brown butter meltaway cookies

I may have gone overboard with the powdered sugar.

So, I’m typing this blog post with a mouthful of cookie and powdered sugar all over my face. You guys, these cookies are freaking delicious. I was planning to bring them to a holiday party, but now I’m having second thoughts. I might just eat them all myself. They’re THAT GOOD.

I wasn’t sure what exactly the purpose of “brown butter” is, but now I know — it’s used to enhance the deliciousosity of these cookies. The brown butter gives them almost a toffee-ish flavor. And if that’s not good enough for you, the cookies are completely covered in powdered sugar. Could a cookie get any better that that? I doubt it.

Another awesome thing about this recipe, besides that it produces super delicious cookies, is that you probably have all the ingredients on hand. Well, if you bake regularly, anyway.

I did have a couple minor problems during the baking process. I’d never browned butter before, and that turned out to be a little tricky. Well, not tricky, exactly. What happened was, I didn’t really pay as much attention to the butter as I should have. And so it turned out a little, uh, browner than it was supposed to. So, after looking at these photos and watching this video, I tried again. It worked out much better the second time.

Also, I think I overcooked the cookies a bit. The recipe says to bake them for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. After 15 minutes, my cookies still looked pretty pale, so I baked them a few more minutes, waiting for them to turn golden. They didn’t, but I got nervous and pulled them out of the oven anyway. I probably should have pulled them out after the first 15 minutes — the cookies are pretty crunchy, and something about the recipe (that they’re called “meltaways,” maybe) makes me think they should have been softer. Oh well, they’re still totally scrumptious.

Oh, and I sprinkled a little white luster dust and white edible glitter on top of the powdered sugar for a subtle sparkle. So subtle no one noticed unless I told them and they held the cookie really close to their face and squinted at it.

I overcooked it, so it was more like black butter.Those speckles are the solids that browned when I cooked the butter.
I was afraid to overbeat the dough, so it was pretty crumbly. I smushed it all together before I chilled it. My little balls of cookie dough! They resemble oddly spherical potatoes.

Recipe: Brown butter meltaway cookies

From “The Secrets of Baking” by Sherry Yard

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus up to 1 cup for dusting, as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  1. A few hours before you wish to bake the cookies, make the brown butter. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the solids separate and brown to a dark golden color, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool at room temperature, and then chill it in the refrigerator until it is solid.
  2. Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the brown butter on medium speed until cream-colored, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Add the 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar and the salt. Cream on medium speed until it is smooth and lump free, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
  3. On low speed, add the flour. Beat until just incorporated. Do not overbeat. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Remove the dough from the mixer, wrap it in plastic film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Adjust the rack to the lower third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Flour your hands. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll them into 1-inch balls. Place the balls 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake one sheet at a time for 12 to 15 minutes, or until light golden brown around the edges, turning the sheet front to back halfway through the baking. Do not overbake, or your cookies will be too dry and crisp.
  7. As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, cover them completely with confectioners’ sugar. The best way to do this is to place the powdered sugar in a strainer and tap it over the cookies on the baking sheet. Let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the baking sheets and serving.

Can you see the sparkles? Probably not. But they're there!

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  1. The Man from Moqui

    I have personally tasted these cookies and will testify, in court under oath, as to their enhanced deliciousosity. To be honest, I did not notice the white luster dust or white edible glitter … I assumed it was just powdered sugar. Still they sparkled. to look at before consuming and savoring after the swallow. This recipe is a winner.

  2. Sarah

    These look deeeelicious. I presume the taste is a lot like Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cakes?

  3. Chrissy

    Yep. For Mexican wedding cookies, Sherry Yard says you substitute ¼ cup masa harina for ¼ cup of the all-purpose flour and add 1 cup of chopped, toasted pecans to the butter while creaming. And for Russian tea cakes, add chopped, toasted walnuts.

  4. Kristy Worley

    These are amazing! I made them for my daughters wedding in September. They were one of the first things to disappear off of the candy bar!

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