Brown Butter Rosemary Cookies
Kate and I will start baking our Christmas cookies this week when she’s home for Thanksgiving. Actually, we’ll be doing this baking on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as we will be putting up our tree and decorating the rest of the house on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. I’d imagine the traditions and expectations around our Christmas Decorating are similar to those in your family. We’ll have our favorite Christmas music piping through the house and have a plate of cookies set out to keep us fortified during the frenzied fun. We will also have a spread of cheese, meat and other noshes as the meals on Friday will be of the ‘grazing’ variety since I will be way too busy to cook.
We easily make 8-10 different cookie recipes each holiday season so that each member of the family has several favorites to choose from. It’s fun to look back and see how each cookie came to be on our Christmas cookie list. Just as we bring furniture and pictures to a marriage, favorite family cookie recipes come too. Terry grew up with the Peanut Butter Blossom, which were new to me. My Grandma made the double chocolate cookies and the pizzelle maker I use is the one she used 40+ years ago. I’ll be curious to see what cookie recipes my kids take with them when they set up a home of their own.
Some of our top favorites include:
Amaretto Butter Cookie
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Brown Butter Shortbread
Raspberry Jam Thumbprint
Sugar Cookie Cut outs
A recent addition to the line-up has been a Rosemary Shortbread cookie that was offered at a Cookie Swap I attended several years back. While I loved this recipe, I was anxious to take it up a notch by using browned butter. Browning butter takes an already yummy kitchen staples to serious new heights. Its nutty, caramel flavor is perfection in short bread cookies and over pastas where it doesn’t have to compete for attention on your palate. I used Irish butter because its higher fat content makes it just that much more flavorful. And while brown butter is outstanding on its own, adding some rosemary to it makes you question the adage ‘you can’t improve perfection.’ Thus was born Brown Butter Rosemary Cookies.
Rosemary in a cookie? Don’t knock it until you try it! In this recipe, the sweetness from the sugar is complemented by the caramel of the browned butter. Salt and a hint of pine from the rosemary adds just enough pleasant surprise to your taste buds to make these very distinctive Brown Butter Rosemary Cookies work into your cookie repertoire.
Just a note, you can’t just brown the butter called for in a recipe that didn’t specifically call for browned butter (yeah…I found that out the hard way…twice!) Browning the butter causes some evaporation (like 20%), so you need to accommodate by adding more butter. There’s your fun fact for the day.
- 8 ounces unsalted butter (I used Kerrygold Irish butter)
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Coarse sanding sugar
- In a pan with a light colored bottom (so that you can see the color of the butter) brown butter over medium heat. As the butter starts to melt it will begin to foam. Swirl the pot frequently. . The process will progress rather quickly, so stay by the stove. Burnt Butter + BAD
- Once it's brown and you can smell nutty aroma, transfer to a heat proof bowl or your mixing bowl to cool
- Once cool, beat in your large mixing bowl until creamy/frothy.
- Add sugar, milk and vanilla and mix to combine
- Combine flour, baking powder and rosemary in separate bowl and mix well
- Add flour mixture and nuts to butter mixture and blend to combine. Dough will be crumbly but will hold together when pinched.
- Dump your dough onto a clean working surface and, with your hands, form into 2 1" diameter logs.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour
- When ready to bake your cookies, preheat oven to 350'
- Slice cookies into 1/4" rounds and place 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheet
- Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake for 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through to ensure even cooking.
Some days I eat salads and go to the gym. Some days I eat too many Christmas cookies and refuse to put my pants on. It’s called ‘balance’.
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