Saturday, April 3, 2010

Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookies

brown butter sea salt cookie

*Update* Wowee, I have been getting a lot of emails about this recipe. Some saying the dough is too wet, some saying it's too dry and crumbly. This just another example of how temperature and humidity, and exact ingredients really can change a recipe a whole lot when we're talking baking. When I made these the dough would just hold together forming a ball. If the dough is much wetter than this, try adding a teensy tiny bit more flour. Even if it's wetter, who cares! They will still be delicious. Thanks for all the great feedback and positive responses to this recipe. I see you all LOVE the place in Cayucos!

Over the weekend my aunt and grandmother came to see the new baby. With her, my aunt brought these yummy brown butter sea salt cookies from the Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos, CA. We gobbled them up and they were delicious, but they had me thinking that they would be so much better fresh from the oven. Lucky for me, the ingredients were listed on the bag, and were super simple. Baking can be a little tricky, so I looked through some shortbread recipes for measurements and went from there. They turned out just perfectly and I dipped half into some melted chocolate. I preferred the non-chocolaty ones (shocking for a chocoholic like myself) because the subtle flavors of the brown butter and sea salt were more noticeable.

The dough tends to be very crumbly. Just try to squish it together the best you can. Also, be sure not to add ANY extra flour.

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • sea salt for sprinkling (preferably fleur de sel)
  • optional: chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until it starts to caramelize. It should smell nutty and you will see brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Be careful not to burn the butter - in which case you will have to start over. Pour browned butter into a medium bowl and stir in brown sugar and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk flour and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture until combined. Let cool to room temperature. Using a tablespoon or small scoop, drop dough onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and lightly press into top of cookies. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Don't overcook, or cookies will be too dry and crumbly.

If desired, melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring in between. Dip cookies in chocolate and place on wax paper. Let harden in refrigerator but don't serve too cold or cookies will be very hard.
Link

brown butter sea salt cookies with chocolate

45 comments:

  1. Marina -

    I love your blog! I just made these cookies and they are DELICIOUS! Still totally crumbly; I am hoping they firm up as the cool (they've been out of the oven 8 minutes - I couldn't resit!). Regardless, a really yummy treat. Thanks for the recipe.

    Alyssa W.

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  2. Anonymous7:16 AM

    I love the browned butter cookies. I fell in love with them on a visit to Cauyucos, where I stumbled upon the cute little shop. The cookies were addictive and before I knew it, I had spent $20 on the cookies that are $1 a piece or more depending on the flavor! I am intrigued by the "chocolate dipped" idea of your browned butter cookie recipe and will be trying it very soon! Thanks for sharing!
    ~Laura

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  3. Anonymous7:10 PM

    I also love the cookies from the shop in Cayucos and was so excited to find a recipe for them! This recipe is delicious!
    Nice job.

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  4. Anonymous12:06 AM

    skip the salt and press a half pecan into dough before baking, try baking time at 10 minutes, keeps them soft and moist

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  5. Anonymous3:22 PM

    The first time I tried out the recipe, the batter was a little too wet, and the cookies fell flat when baked. The 2nd time I used just 1 stick of butter, and they came out more like the Brown Butter Cookie Co.'s cookies. Thanks so much for the recipe! These are my new favorite!

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous9:23 PM

      ah thank you - I was just thinking the same thing...my cookies were a wreck after one and a half sticks of butter. I will try with one stick, thanks for the suggestion!

      Delete
  6. Anonymous6:43 PM

    I call these the sneaky cookies. If I put out a plate and leave it for 5 minutes, about half of the coookies have disappeared. In 7 minutes they are all gone and the only person in the room is my husband, Guy, who is reading the paper.

    He says - I don't know what happened to the cookies. Later when I do the laundry, I find crumbs... and I know he has been sneaking the cookies. Libbie in Los Osos, California

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  7. Hi Libbie, that may be the funniest comment I've gotten! Thanks for commenting! I agree with you on the "sneaky cookies" :)

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  8. Anonymous1:29 PM

    I can't believe I found this recipe! I received a box of the cookies from Cuyucos for Christmas and have been meaning to experiment with the ingredients to try to duplicate the cookie! So glad you've already worked it out! When I tasted these cookies I said "I need one of these everyday for the rest of my life!" Love them! Thanks so much.

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  9. Anonymous1:09 PM

    Note to all... definitely use UNsalted butter! My first batch was great texture - but too salty! Made some yesterday with unsalted butter - much much better!

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  10. My boyfriend really loves all recipes I make with browned butter, so I think I will be adding this to my list! They look delicious.

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  11. Anonymous8:10 AM

    Can't wait to try this. I have been trying to duplicate this myself. I went to this cookie shop while in CA over a year ago. Yes.. they are amazing! Was just researching today on how to do it and tried a bit a year ago. Was looking for shortbread recipes to start from. Super excited to make it!! Thanks!

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  12. Thanks so much for the recipe! I went looking for a salty blonde cookie to appease my need to recreate a cookie from a little shop in Northwest Washington I used to frequent, and I found you! I will be trying these out next week. I am a newish blogger in Camarillo and seeing that you are in Santa Barbara tickled me- I'd love to meet local bloggers if you're ever interested.

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  13. The measurements are perfect. I didn't notice the dough being too dry or too wet. Thanx for the recipe, I will definitely make again

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  14. Made these last night! Thank you so much for going through the effort of trouble shooting to give us an amazing recipe. (My neighbor returned from Northern California last weekend bearing the Cuyucos cookies and after we'd devoured all of them, I fretted about how we could possibly replicate such an amazing cookie.

    For whatever it's worth, I followed Mark Bittman's directions for browning butter--to determine the "doneness" of the butter, he says to wait for the foam to completely subside and to wait until the butter has a nut-brown color. I also rolled the cookies while the dough was warm, squished them down into cookie shape and then put them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes as one would do for shortbread.

    Awesome results!!! Didn't have sea salt, but now have a reason to go out and get some.

    Again, thanks so much for a recipe that has become an instant family favorite.

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  15. @Stacey, thanks so much for your input! I'm so happy you liked these! I'll have to make them again soon. It's been over a year since I wrote this recipe and I'm slightly horrified by the photography ;)

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  16. Anonymous7:38 AM

    How much does this recipe yield?

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  17. @Anonymous, sorry I didn't add that. I created and posted this recipe a year and a half ago, at the beginning of my food blogging career :) I don't remember the yield. So sorry. I would guess 15-20ish? I don't think it was a huge amount.

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  18. Anonymous1:32 PM

    I just made them, they are delicious! Only problem is they don't make enough! So I had to make another batch. I got 14 out of each batch. I agree that I prefer them without the chocolate, and I'm a chocoholic, too.

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  19. Anonymous5:44 PM

    Love these cookies, They taste just like the ones from Cayucos.. My husband actually likes them better. Thank you for this recipe :D

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  20. Anonymous9:04 PM

    Using the smallest cookie scoop (1 TBSP), I had 28 silver-dollar-sized cookies. My oven is a little hotter than most, so the cookies were done in 10 minutes. We all tried eating them almost as soon as they came out of the oven because they smelled so good baking, but they set up and taste better if you let them cool on a rack. My husband and son liked these even more than the ones from Cayucos! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

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  21. Wow, I have been avoiding eating the Cayucos cookies because they're so expensive. I've been able to make a dozen last over a month but it's really hard. I'm looking forward to trying out your recipe and being able to eat them more often! Thanks for the Recipe!
    (Any chance I can convince you to try to duplicate my favorite: the cocoa flavored ones?)

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  22. I second the request for the recipe for the cocoa flavored gems. They are amazing. In the meantime, I'll try this recipe. Thanks for sharing it.

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  23. I made these cookies today after tasting the ones from Ca. Wow, they are awesome! However, mine became thin and flat while baking. I mistakenly put the dough in the fridge to chill before I make the balls of cookies and not after they were formed. I wonder if that is why they became flat? But the sure are great tasting!

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  24. Anonymous10:05 PM

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I LOVE the chocolate ones. Has anyone made them? If so, I would appreciate it if you could post the recipe. I would love to make them!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi there!

      Sometime I will work on a chocolate version! If you sign up for email newsletters you'll know when it's up!

      :)
      Marina

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    2. Jill Williams/San Simeon4:32 PM

      Please send me the Cocoa recipe....They are the best thing I ever ate!

      Delete
  25. Just returned from Cauyucos with a bag full of Brown Butter Cookie Company cookies. Found your recipe today and made a batch. Turned out pretty close to theirs. Will fine tune this over the next couple of batches. Really interested in the cocoa powder version. Thanks for the effort to post this.

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  26. Yay, I'm so happy I found your brown butter cookie recipe. Actually it might not be such a good thing since I am an addict when it comes to these cookies. I also love the cookies from Cayucos (Brown Butter Cookie Company)but I live hours away. I have often looked online for a copycat recipe since and this is the first time I've found one. I have tried on several occasions to replicate their cookies but have had no luck. I see some people have had problems with the recipe but I will just play with the recipe posted here until I can tweek it for my own use. Thanks!

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  27. Anonymous7:03 PM

    I also love the cookies from the Brown Butter Cookie Co. and I can't wait to try your recipe. If you look on the Brown Butter website you can see a demonstration of how they roll the cookies first and press them down slightly before baking. Thanks for posting this recipe!

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  28. Anonymous7:57 PM

    Here is the video about Brown Butter Cookie Co. it is on You-Tube and it's about a food writer named Marla who goes to the shop to get a lesson in rolling the cookies. I think part of the secret is that they roll them in their hands before cooking them. Here's the url:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3grSgziwdS0

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  29. Anonymous7:49 PM

    Love Love LOVE these I have been getting cookies from the place in Cayucos for a long time and was happy to finally find a recipe that worked! I just took them out of the oven and OMG! Thank you so much!

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  30. A friend crafted her own recipe knock-off because we love them from BBCC in Cayucos as well. However, when I tried to bake her version, it came out a little, well, hard. The flavor was spot on but the texture left something to be desired. I am giving your recipe a shot. Did you see the shop now carries a coconut lime version of the classic? It is TO DIE FOR!!!

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  31. I made a batch from this recipe, and they taste EXACTLY like these cookies from the shop. Thank you so much for the recipe! It was a grand success. ;)

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  32. We LOVE visiting Cayucos. And stop in The Brown Butter Cookie Company at least a couple of times each trip. I bake almost daily, and thought it'd be great to try these! Thank you for sharing your recipe! YUM!! Already ate at least 1/2 dozen off the cookie sheet. They are small;). Going in for another.

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  33. Anonymous8:45 PM

    Love these cookies and am wondering approx. how long does it take to brown the butter before it can no longer be used in the recipe?

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    Replies
    1. Hi there, it takes just a couple of minutes for the butter to brown. I really depends on the pan you are using, the temperature, and how cold your butter started. You will have to rely on visual cues. Here is a good visual of how it should look: http://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/techniques/cooking-questions-tips-00400000064986/page31.html

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  34. Anonymous5:43 PM

    My family and I have loved the Brown Butter Cookie Co. for years. I tried this recipe today and everybody loved them. I also experimented with a few to try to make the cocoa version. I know a lot of people have been asking about them. All I did was melted a little bit of dark chocolate and added it to the dough. It tasted really close to the real cookies.

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  35. Anonymous6:09 PM

    I have made two batches now experimenting with two different kinds of sugar. Although the flavor is there, the texture is not the same as the brown butter cookie company. At first I tried CH golden brown sugar and it was really close, although not velvety enough (I just came back fro, cayucos where I bought many!). So I wanted to try India Tree golden bakers sugar as I read online how it is used by a lot of bakers. But all the stores by me did not carry it. I bought wholesome sweeteners organic light brown sugar. The end result produced an even grittier texture as you could clearly taste the crunch of the sugar molecules. Does anyone have any recommendations for which brand of sugar will give that velvety thin texture? Thanks! I want to master this cookie once and for all :-)

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous1:26 PM

      I'm with you - I found that 1.5 sticks of butter yielded a liquefied cookie (what am I doing wrong??) and 1 stick yielded very dry crumbly ones...I too, want to master this cookie!! I've tried C & H, and plain brand brown sugar, and found that their was little detectable difference...the C & H was just slightly better, though. Have you been lucky with the texture?

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  36. Anonymous9:53 PM

    Got a pack of the Lime-Coconut cookies for my birthday & they were pretty yummy. I have made the standard BB cookies, but would love to try a recipe for the slightly different flavor twist. The ingredient label mentioned coconut butter, along with lime zest & coconut flakes.

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  37. question....is there suppose to be eggs in this recipe ?

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    Replies
    1. Hi, no I do not use eggs in this recipe.

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  38. Anonymous10:46 AM

    Do you use Light or Dark Brown Sugar?

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    Replies
    1. Hi there, I use organic brown sugar from Trader Joe's. I would probably choose light, but if you want a more molasses-y rich taste go with the dark :)

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