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Brown Butter Snickerdoodles…Plus, How to Brown Butter

Sometimes I feel like snickerdoodles are kind of the red-headed stepchild of cookies. How often do you see them in sandwich shops or on restaurant menus? Pinterest is chock-full of chocolate chip cookies, lemon cookies, chocolate cookies, and peanut butter cookies, but only occasionally do you see a snickerdoodle pop up.

Brown Butter Snickerdoodle

I rarely think about them until it’s right in front of me. And only then do I remember how much I totally LOVE  them. I mean, cinnamon sugar and tangy cream of tartar? What’s not to love??

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

Then I saw this recipe and was super intrigued, because not only do I love cinnamon sugar, but I have recently discovered how much I love browned butter. It just adds a whole other dimension to cooking and baking, a depth of flavor beyond what regular butter can bring. And it’s really quite easy.

Browning butter, while a tiny bit more time consuming than just throwing in solid sticks of butter, is totally worth it. The most important thing is to continually stir it, so the bits browning on the bottom don’t begin to burn. Say that five times fast…

brown butter snickerdoodles dough ball2

These cookies had an awesome richness to them, with the normal bite of a snickerdoodle as well as a silkiness from the brown butter. My co-workers raved about them, and I’ll definitely be re-creating them soon.

brown butter sticks

Melt the butter in a saucepan or non-stick skillet over medium heat. If anything, err on the side of medium-low, you definitely don’t want it too hot, or you’ll end up burning or scalding the butter.

brown butter melted

Stir or whisk constantly once it’s melted (I’d actually recommend something other than a whisk, which isn’t as great at scraping the bottom of the pan). The butter will begin to foam after a couple minutes. Keep stirring.

brown butter bubbling

After a couple more minutes, the foam will disappear and it will bubble/boil. Keep stirring.

brown butter fizzed

It will probably get foamy again, and you know you’re close. As you’re stirring, you’ll be able to see the brown color on the bottom. Remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty, rich smell.

brown butter finished

Transfer to a bowl right away to prevent burning, and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

brown butter snickerdoodles dry ingredients

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and the salt in a bowl other than your mixer. Set aside.

brown butter snickerdoodles wet ingredients

In your mixer, mix the (now slightly cooled) butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until just combined.

brown butter snickerdoodles dough

Add the dry ingredients slowly, and beat on low speed until they’re just barely combined.

brown butter snickerdoodles dough chilled

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 3 hours, or at least as long as possible. This is really important, a step I normally skip but it really does make a difference here. It helps you get puffy cookies. Weirdly, my dough was ROCK HARD when I took it out of the fridge, which worried me. But the cookies turned out okay, so it just meant I had to really put some elbow grease into shaping the dough balls.

brown butter snickerdoodles dough rolled out

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a bowl.

brown butter snickerdoodles dough ball

Pull the dough out of the fridge, grab about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. If it’s really hard (like mine was), work it a little extra with your hands, because the heat from your hands will soften it a little. Also, you can let it sit out for like 10 or 15 minutes.

Roll the dough balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on a non-stick cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

Brown Butter Snickerdoodle finished

Bake the cookies for 8-11 minutes, depending on your oven. It was more like 11-12 for me, but my dough balls were a little bigger. You want the edges of the cookies to begin to turn golden brown, but still look a little underdone in the middle, but they’ll continue to cook once they’re out of the oven (and it helps them be chewier and softer). Cool on the sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup of packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of plain greek yogurt
  • For rolling mixture:  1/4 cup of sugar & 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan or non-stick skillet over medium heat (definitely not too hot, or you’ll end up burning it). Stir or whisk constantly once it’s melted. The butter will begin to foam after a couple minutes. After a couple more minutes, the foam will disappear and it will bubble/boil. Keep stirring. It will probably get foamy again, and you know you’re close. As you’re stirring, you’ll be able to see the brown color on the bottom. Remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty, rich smell. Immediately transfer to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and the salt; set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, mix the (now slightly cooled) butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until just combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low speed just until they’re combined.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 3 hours, or at least as long as possible. This is really important, a step I normally skip but it really does make a difference here. It helps you get puffy cookies.
  5. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a bowl.
  6. Pull the dough out of the fridge, grab about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. My dough was rock hard but still turned out great, so don’t worry if this is the case. Roll the dough balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on a non-stick cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake the cookies 8-11 minutes (was around 11-12 for me), or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. They will look a little underdone in the middle, but that’s normal since they’ll continue to cook once they’re out of the oven (and it helps them be chewier and softer). Cool on the sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Original recipe here

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