I love browned butter for use in both savory and sweet recipes. It adds an amazing toasty, nutty, rich flavor to everything from sauteed asparagus, to chocolate chip cookies.
I knew I wanted to pair brown butter with warm spices, so I used cinnamon, ginger, and a bit of cardamom and cloves. They would also be amazing with any of your favorite spices, like hazelnut, nutmeg, or allspice.
These have such a flavorful, rich, warm flavor profile, that remind me of a cozy fall night cuddled up by the fire.
Brown your butter at least a few hours before making your dough, and pop it into the fridge to firm up a bit, as you don’t want to use fully melted butter for this recipe.
With most of my recipes, I suggest not using top shelf butter, but you do want to use a high-quality Irish or European butter for these cookies. When you brown butter, what you’re doing is cooking the butter just long enough to toast the milk solids, and cook out some of the water. Most American butter has a lower content of butterfat and milk solids, and a higher water content, so you’ll end up with less of those delicious, caramelized, nutty, milk solids.
Because you will be using browned butter, that has some water content cooked out of it, you will need to replace that moisture in your recipe by adding 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream or half and half.
If you would like more info on my preferred ingredient brands, tips and tricks, FAQs, and a little cookie science, I cover all of that in my No-Spread Lemon Shortbread Sugar Cookie Recipe.
Are these technically shortbread or sugar cookies?
They’re kind of both. It’s fine to call these either “decorated sugar cookies” or “decorated shortbread cookies.” But I’m going to refer to any of my cookie recipes that can used as a base for cookie decorating as “shortbread sugar cookies.”
- 2 parts flour to 1 part fat
- No eggs
- No leavening agent
- Dense and crispy
- 3 parts flour to 2 parts fat
- Contains eggs
- Contains a leavening agent
- Light and Chewy
All of my shortbread sugar cookie recipes don’t rise or spread, can be used for cookie decorating, have egg, but no leavening agent, and have a 2 ¼ parts flour to 1 part fat. Which makes them fall somewhere between a shortbread and a sugar cookie. They’re both shortbread and sugar cookies, and neither shortbread or sugar cookies, at the same time. They’re Shrodinger’s cookies!
All of my shortbread sugar cookie recipes can be used for slice-and-bake cookies as well!
Brown Butter Spiced Shortbread Sugar Cookies
- measuring cups and spoons
- mixing bowls
- cling wrap
- cookie cutters
- large knife
- 1 cup browned butter room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- Brown butter a day ahead and allow to cool to room temperature, or place in refrigerator for a couple hours until set up. You don't want to use melted butter for this recipe.
- Whisk flour and cornstarch together and set aside.
- Cream butter, sugars and spices together with paddle attachment, on medium-low speed, until fluffy and pale in color (about 5 minutes).
- Add egg and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the paddle with a spatula, and then continue to mix on low speed for another 30 seconds to ensure everything is fully incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients, all at once, and mix on low speed just until dough starts to come together and no dry bits remain. Do not overmix.
- Turn dough out onto cling wrap, tightly wrap, and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
- Knead, roll, cut out cookies, and return to fridge or freezer until firm. Leave a couple inches between cookies.
- Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, rotate pan, and bake for another 1-5 minutes until edges are starting to turn golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to fully cool on cookie sheet before handling.
- Make your browned butter at least a few hours ahead of time to allow to cool before using. You can leave it at room temperature overnight, or allow to cool in fridge for a few hours. You don’t want to use melted butter for this recipe.
- The reason for adding 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch to your dough is to prevent your cookies from shrinking or spreading during baking.
- If making slice-and-bake cookies, split dough in half, roll into logs, wrap tightly in cling wrap or parchment paper, and refrigerate before slicing and baking.