I am making a real effort these days to put my many baking books to good use. I have amassed quite a collection in the last year. Every time I know I'm going to bake, I pull out a few under-used books and make the first thing that jumps out at me. A few days ago, I had some baking time on my hands. I had no eggs in the house, as I had just used my last four for Rick Katz's Brownies for Julia, so I knew finding a recipe would be more challenging. I started thumbing through Baking for All Occasions, and found these. These adorable little cookies combine two of my favorite things: shortbread and brown butter. I knew I couldn't go wrong. I just love the addition of the nutty butter to the sweet cookie.
Though I have made brown butter shortbread before, these are a little different. The main thing is that these have a texture that is so sandy it verges on crunchy. They are unbelievably satisfying, and entirely too easy to eat.
These sturdy little cookies are great for any occasion - or no occasion at all!
Nancy's Brown Butter Buttons
adapted from Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker
8 oz unsalted butter, browned and cooled
2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a medium-sized bowl, set aside. In a large bowl, combine butter and vanilla. Stir in half the sugar, blending well, stir in the remaining sugar. Add the flour in two additions, stirring until just combined each time. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow flour to absorb moisture. Form dough into small balls, about 1" in diameter. Place about 1/2" apart on baking sheet. Bake until cookies crack across the top and brown around the edges. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer cookies directly onto wire rack to cool completely.