These cookies have been one of my favorites to make for years. They are a staple in my holiday cookie gift boxes because they ship so well but are also really delicious. Since there are only a few ingredients, the browned butter flavor really shines through in these.
If you have never made browned butter you should try it right away. When you make it, you are basically caramelizing the milk solids that separate from the fat. This gives the butter a vanilla caramel type flavor that is hard to describe but so yummy!!
This dough is great for use with cookie cutters because it holds it’s shape really well when baking. I have some snowflake cookie stamps that I use for this dough near the holidays and the cookies come out so cute! If you just want to make these quickly, like I did today, you can roll out the dough and use a pizza cutter or pastry wheel to cut into rectangles. I have a dual sided pastry wheel with a scalloped edge like this one. You could sprinkle these with some sanding sugar for a little shine and crunch too. They are so great just as is though, that I rarely add anything on top.
This dough comes together really fast, but it does need to chill for at least an hour or even better a few hours, before you roll out the dough so plan ahead. You can easily double this recipe too and the cookies freeze super well also.
Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter divided
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cup AP flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- Add 1/2 the butter to a heavy duty sauce pan and melt over medium heat. Swirl the butter and watch it closely until it starts to brown in the bottom. As soon as it is a caramel shade, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. You don't want to let it burn as it gets bitter and doesn't taste good.
- Allow the butter to cool for about 20 min. Add the other 4 oz of butter to a stand mixer and cream until light and fluffy. Add the browned butter, brown sugar, and vanilla and cream again.
- In another bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
- Add the egg yolk to the mixer and blend well. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until barely combined. Remove the bowl and mix fully by hand so it doesn't overmix.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, it will be pretty soft, but will harden up in the fridge. Chill at least 1 hour, preferably a few hours.
- Heat the oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Dust counter with flour and roll out the dough to 1/4 thick. Use cookie cutters or a pastry wheel to cut into shapes. Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until puffed and lightly golden. Do not let them get too dark. You can smash the scraps together into a ball and reroll to make another batch.
- Cool on a rack until fully cooled then store in the freezer.