Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

Sometimes I feel like I’m so eager to bake the next best thing that I completely forget about the classics. For example, I can’t remember the last time I flipped through a new cookbook and paused to look at a chocolate chip cookie recipe. I guess in my head it’s sort of a “been there, done that” mentality, but it’s kind of foolish – I mean, can you ever really have too many recipes for chocolate chip cookies?! I think not :) And even if you think you have a go-to, you never know when the next recipe you try will be even better and supplant it.

With that in mind, I didn’t immediately skip over the snickerdoodle recipe when I came upon it in the newest book from the Baked guys. I rediscovered my love for this classic cookie when I made a batch to incorporate in apple pie ice cream last month. The fact that these particular snickerdoodles feature one of the best ingredients ever – nutty brown butter – certainly didn’t hurt either. Very rarely do I come across a recipe which incorporates brown butter that doesn’t immediately get flagged for my must-try list…

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

The problem I’ve most often run into in the past when making snickerdoodles is that the dough spreads in the oven and they bake up too thin and flat; it drives me crazy. The photo accompanying these brown butter snickerdoodles in the book though showed fairly thick cookies and I was so excited when I pulled the first sheet from the oven and discovered that’s exactly how they’d turned out! They had a nice chewy texture too, which made them difficult to resist as they sat on the racks cooling. The brown butter flavor was perhaps a bit more subtle than I’d hoped for (overwhelmed a bit by the cinnamon I think), but I loved these anyway.

Though they don’t scream Christmas like the peppermint and gingerbread treats making the rounds this time of year, these brown butter snickerdoodles would be a great addition to your holiday cookie trays if you’re looking to include a classic!

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
from Baked Elements by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

Add the butter to a medium skillet set over medium heat and let it start melting. Continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter becomes golden brown and smells nutty (be patient and watch carefully, it can go from brown to burnt quickly). Pour the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed for 5-7 minutes to cool the butter to room temperature (or alternatively, you could just let it sit until it cools down – it’ll just take longer).

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and the salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk in a medium measuring cup until combined.

When the butter has cooled, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar and the brown sugar to the bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. With the mixer on low, slowly add the egg mixture beating until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, beating just until the dough comes together. Cover the bowl and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 24 (I chilled mine for close to 24).

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and the remaining 4 teaspoons of cinnamon to a wide, shallow bowl and stir to combine.

Using a small cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons), portion the dough into balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture then transfer to the prepared baking sheets spacing the cookies about 1 1/2-2 inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes (rotating the pans halfway through) until the tops of the cookies are cracked and the edges are just set (just a minute or two of extra baking will take these from chewy to more crisp so keep an eye on them). Transfer the pans to wire racks and cool the cookies for a few minutes then remove to the racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 24-28 cookies