One last minute cookie recipe to share! This one is an oldie and goodie in our family. Growing up, we had this Christmas baking circular of some sort from I think Betty Crocker. It was so old school looking….red and white checkered all over the front, and super out of date pictures and font. But it held what came to be SO many cookie traditions for us over the years, and Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without making them.
This recipe is one of them, or a spin on at least. When my parents sold our childhood home, or so we think it was then, the cookbook got lost. I was honestly devastated the first year we went to bake for the holidays and the book was nowhere to be found. I scoured garage sales, antique stores, used book stores and sales…and came up empty handed every time. 15 years later, to this day, I still look whenever I am somewhere that has old cookbooks. It’s always to no avail, but it’s still fun searching in anticipation for that little piece of nostalgia.
9 years ago, I decided to search high and low online and in random books to try and find the recipes from my memory that we just HAD to make each year. I wanted to compile them all in one place for my sister and parents, and myself, so that we each had our own new cookbook holding all the recipes special to our family’s Christmas. I was pretty lucky in finding a few of them on allrecipes.com and the Betty Crocker site. But some of them I couldn’t and so had to find something similar enough that could be slightly changed to be a good enough fit. As I did with these cookies here. I knew I basically just needed to come up with a simple vanilla butter cookie somewhere between a shortbread and a sugar cookie. The taste of the frosting is what makes the cookie and I since I knew those ingredients by heart, I just needed to play around a bit with the measurements.
The brown butter frosting is what I’ve always remembered most about these cookies. This frosting was my first introduction to brown butter and I was immediately in love. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I don’t love sweets. Well, I generally completely dislike frosting. It’s usually SO sweet and all it tastes like to me is raw sugar which makes my teeth hurt to even think about. The addition of the caramel like flavor from the brown butter completely cuts the sweetness and adds this nutty flavor to the vanilla cookie base that is simply perfection to me. Maybe I love these cookies a little more because they remind me so much of being in the kitchen with my family, making a mess and making memories…but there’s no denying that they are a delicious addition to Santa’s plate each year. ENJOY!
BROWN BUTTER MELTAWAY COOKIES
Yield 3 dozen
FOR THE COOKIE DOUGH
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- granulated sugar for dusting bottom of a glass
FOR THE FROSTING
- 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1-1 1/2 tablespoons milk
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until softened. Add in the brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla and beat well. Add in the flour and salt and mix until just combined.
- Cover and chill dough for 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pull dough from refrigerator and shape into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.
- Bake for 7-9 minutes or until edges are slightly browned and the centers are no longer shiny. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat until lightly browned in color. Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Continue whisking until smooth, adding in slightly more powdered sugar or milk to achieve the desired consistency.
- Frost each cookie and sprinkle with confections or gold flakes if desired.