Sometimes I have parties at my house. I enjoy hosting people, and I especially enjoy feeding people. There usually comes some time between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. when there’s no more food but still plenty of people, and I get
bored of my friends antsy to bake. I threw a party to celebrate moving out, so of course at some point I stopped what I was doing and made brown butter cookies.
I love brown butter with some sage leaves, tossed over gnocchi or pasta, so I wondered if brown butter cookies would work out. I didn’t have a lot of people over, which meant I didn’t want to make 5 dozen cookies, so I decided to divide the recipe by four. Totally reasonable.
Start by melting your butter: two cups divided by four is half a cup, or one stick.
It’ll foam up and then die down, and you just let it cook for a few minutes until it turns a beautiful brown.
While the butter is browning, toast up some pecans, either on the stove in a hot pan with nothing in it (stir every thirty seconds or so) or in the oven. I went with oven. Takes a few minutes in either case.
Set aside about two tablespoons of the butter for icing, then mix all your ingredients except for flour together with the butter, starting with the brown sugar.
Then add the flour. Here’s what I did: the original recipe called for 3 cups of flour. I looked at it and thought, oh, 3/4. Inexplicably, I then multiplied 3 by 3/4 to get 9/4, or 2 and a 1/4 cups of flour, which I then dumped in.
“That’s weird…” I thought. These cookies are WAY too floury to hold together. It took me another few minutes to figure out what had gone wrong. Frankly, I was amazed I’d done something so bone-headed. (This is funny because there’s a really big bone in our heads, and I’d be concerned if someone didn’t have a skull.)
Of course I wasn’t going to give up on these cookies now. So I halved the recipe and did everything again (because 1/4 + 1/2 = 3/4, a fact that I triple checked before I restarted).
Now the dough was a reasonable texture, and a dropped tablespoon at a time baked for ten minutes resulted in beautiful, buttery, brown cookies. Mix the set aside butter (now there should be about 6 tablespoons) with some powdered sugar (I used around 3/4 cup) and a dash of vanilla, and use it to frost the cookies. Apparently you were supposed to mix hot water in there too, which I didn’t realize until now. Given how well I’d done earlier in the night with reading comprehension, I shouldn’t be surprised I messed up another step.
Anyways. These cookies are super delicious and ridiculously rich and buttery.
Brown butter cookies, recipe poorly followed but turned out great from all recipes:
To make 45 cookies
3 sticks of butter (1 and 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 1/4 cups flour
handful of chopped pecans (I used the rest of a bag in my freezer)
1 cup confectioners sugar
Melt butter and let foam and die down until it’s a rich brown color, then pour into a big bowl. Take out 3/4 cup or so and put in a small bowl, set aside.
Preheat oven to 350, toast pecans if you want them.
Mix the butter with the brown sugar, then add the rest of the ingredients except for flour, pecans, and powdered sugar. I like putting in a liberal amount of vanilla- maybe 1/2 TB.
Stir in the flour and pecans. Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes to get a slightly crisp outside and soft middle.
Mix the powdered sugar with the set-aside brown butter and another dash of vanilla until frosting-like. Recipe says to add hot water, which would make it easier to spread and icing-like. If you need more powdered sugar, do so. If it’s too sugary, add some water. Use to frost cooled cookies.