Brown Butter Spice Cookies

Prep time
20 minutes
Total Time
34 minutes
3 ratings
4 dozen
Brown Butter Spice Cookies


  • 1 cup Organic Valley Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 12 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 teaspoon ground cinnamon, cardamon or ginger, as desired
  • 18 teaspoon salt


Heat oven to 350oF.

1. Melt butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter is browned but not burned, stirring constantly, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, making sure to add any browned bits from saucepan.

2. Add sugar a little at a time, stirring well with a wooden spoon. Stir in vanilla.

3. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add in a little at a time, mixing well with each addition.

4. For each cookie, roll about 2 teaspoons dough into a ball. Place one inch apart on cookie sheet(s) lined with parchment paper.

5. Bake 14 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown on bottom and slightly cracked on top. Cool cookies completely on wire rack. Cookies will be delicate.

6. They may be dusted with powdered sugar just before serving.

Store tightly covered at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.


Recipe Created by Regional Chef Stacie Pierce of Little Bee Baking, San Francisco, CA.  © Organic Valley

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Karen from Corona, Ca on December 22nd, 2013
These came out perfectly for me. Didn't have Organic on hand, so I use "regular" sugar and unsalted butter. While the dough doesn't roll as easily as regular cookie dough, it wasn't too bad. I didn't find that the baked cookies were that delicate, especially after cooling. I upped the spices a little, using cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Will definitely make these again!
John from Newton, MA on December 10th, 2013
While these are very good, I actually had the same problem as Courtney in that they never seemed "done". It is possible that the butter was not totally browned, or that the top never cracks since we don't have a top burner but otherwise not sure what happened. The bottom browns and they hold together but are fragile as stated...No substitutions but the sugar is not pure white, it is a very very light tan colored fair trade version. Spices used were cinnemon, cardamon, and ginger. Any thoughts?
Courtney from Portland, OR on December 9th, 2013
I tried to make these over the weekend and I must have done something wrong, although I can't figure it out. I followed the recipe to the letter but the cookies never "came together." They kept cooking for a long time, never turning brown and never firming up. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but I tried a similar brown butter approach to a snickerdoodle recipe I've used before and it worked perfectly. I'm not at high altitude, my ingredients weren't old, and I'm at a loss... I see everyone else loving their results, so I can only imagine that I messed it up somehow. I did use a more turbinado style of sugar, maybe that was it. Anyway, I may try it again here in the near future and hope it turns out right this time.
Jen at Organic Valley

Hi Courtney,

I passed your comment on to Stacie Pierce of Little Bee Baking in San Francisco who contributed the recipe. Here's her advice...

these cookies are very fragile but will usually "firm" up when cool - I usually pull them out when the bottom starts to get brown/golden and let them cool completely before picking them up. I always have used organic sugar when making which isn't as fine as white sugar but the turbinado sugar may be too course which may be why they aren't coming together. That aside, the dough is very dry and the does not feel "typical" at all but they should have enough moisture in them from the butter to hold their shape. 

Hope this helps you and your readers!


Robin from St Paul, MN on December 4th, 2013
I dipped the tops in my favorite Brown Butter Icing! Yum!
Robin from St Paul MN on December 4th, 2013
I dipped the tops in my favorite Brown Butter Icing (browned butter, confectioners sugar, a dash of salt and cream to thin as necessary) Yum!
Nancy from Vermont on November 21st, 2013
One question though...I did give up on the "browning" of the cooked for nearly 15mins without browning. Is it really that essential? (I did realize it wouldn't then be Brown Butter) Thanks again.
Jen at Organic Valley

@Nancy in Vermont,

Hmmm, interesting. How high was your burner on? Stove and oven heat can vary. If you try the recipe again we suggest that you use medium high to high heat to get the butter to brown. 

Nancy from Vermont on November 21st, 2013
I substituted the regular sugar with less than a 1/4 cup organic brown sugar and the rest Maple Sugar! Additionally I added a 1/4 tsp of nutmeg...OMG! The taste is out of this world maple syrup good! Thank you for such an easy to make and easy to substitute recipe!
Mark from Allentown,pa on November 21st, 2013
Radost from Spring Creek, NV on November 20th, 2013
Perfect for the up and coming holidays! Thank you all so much for the wonderful recipes! AND thank you all for the incredible products you all so lovingly produce!
Patti from Helena, MT on November 19th, 2013
I'd love to try these, but wondering ... why call for unsalted butter and then add salt to the recipe? Could you use salted butter and omit the 1/8 tsp salt?
Jen at Organic Valley

Adding salt when baking actually makes sweet things taste sweeter. Also, depending on what you’re cooking salt will act as a leavening agent which helps the item rise. If there is baking SODA (not baking powder) in the recipe there is some reaction (that is beyond my science knowledge to explain technically) that makes the baking process work. So, if there is baking soda, don’t omit the salt called for in the recipe. If there is no baking soda you can forgo the salt or use salted butter. However, if you use salted butter it won’t make up for the difference in the amount of sodium (where salt’s “saltiness” comes from). For example, there are about 2,300 milligrams of sodium in one teaspoon of table salt. There are about 117 milligrams of sodium in one tablespoon of salted butter.  Our advice…add the amount of salt called for in the recipe.

Hope this helps!

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