Recipe: Rosemary-Walnut Brown Butter Cookies

updated Jun 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Yossy Arefi)

As if the toasted walnuts weren’t enough, we decided to brown the butter in these shortbread cookies for an extra dose of nutty richness! Rosemary might sound strange in a cookie, but it adds just the right balance of fresh flavor. These cookies are crunchy and addictive, and they go perfectly with an afternoon cup of tea!

(Image credit: Yossy Arefi)

If you don’t have walnuts at home, try substituting almonds or pine nuts. You might also try drizzling the finished cookies with a little melted dark chocolate for some extra decadence!

If you’d like to make the dough ahead and freeze for longer than a few days, put the wrapped dough in a sealed freezer bag or other container to avoid freezer burn.

Rosemary-Walnut Browned Butter Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped small (none larger than pea-sized)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powered sugar (or another 1/4 cup granulated, if you don’t have confectioners)

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Swirl occasionally and cook until all foaming has subsided, the butter is dark tan colored with little black specks, and smells fantastically nutty. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, making sure to scrape out all the browned bits. Let cool to room temperature. (The butter should be solid but still smooshy.)

Place the walnuts, rosemary, flour, salt, sugar, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) While beating on medium speed, add the cooled brown butter in several additions until it’s completely incorporated and the dough looks grainy. The dough should hold together when you press some together in your hands — if not, beat in a few teaspoons of cold water until it does.

Transfer the dough onto a work surface. Divide into two pieces, then shape each piece into a thick log about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter (or smaller if you want smaller cookies). The dough will be pretty crumbly, but that’s ok. Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 days.

When ready to bake, arrange a racks in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Unwrap one of the dough logs. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick round cookies. Transfer the rounds to the baking sheet and arrange them so that they are about 1/2-inch apart — they won’t spread much during baking. If any of the cookies crumble, just press the dough back together with your fingers and a bit of water.

Bake until lightly browned around the edges and very fragrant, 10 to 13 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a cooling rack and cool completely. Cut and bake the remaining dough log.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Cookies keep in a sealed container at room temperature for about 2 weeks.