I started baking from scratch in college eight years ago. Like most first bakers, I learned with cookies. Since then I’ve branched out quite a bit, but the humble cookie is still my favorite treat to make. I recently found a recipe that leaped into my top three. Sea salt caramel, brown butter, and cinnamon. Done.
These cookies are festive for the holidays, but are good anytime of the year (or day for that matter). Even Mr. A, who finds ordinary snickerdoodles rather bland, declared these delicious.
Browning the butter is worth the extra 10 minutes for that toasty flavor. The higher ratio of brown sugar adds more caramel flavor. The addition of an egg yolk increases the chew. And the gooey caramel in the center makes for a nice surprise.
Brown Butter Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, sliced
- 1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup soft caramel squares, cut into 1/4’s
For Rolling the Cookies:
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Coarse sea salt or flakes, for sprinkling on top of cookies
1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Set aside.
2. Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add the sliced butter, whisking frequently. The butter will start to foam and brown specks will begin to form at the bottom. Watch the butter carefully because it can go from brown to burnt quickly. Cook until the butter gives off a nutty aroma and starts to brown. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp.
3. Using a mixer or by hand, combine the brown butter and sugars. Mix until smooth. Beat in one whole egg, one yolk only, vanilla, and yogurt and mix. Add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Form the dough in a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. For best results, chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
5. To bake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Measure about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Flatten the ball with the palm of your hand and place a couple pieces of caramel in the center. Wrap the dough around the caramel. Make sure the caramel is completely covered, otherwise it will leak through while baking.
6. Combine the cinnamon and sugar. Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place balls 2 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper. Sprinkle the tops with sea salt.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. The centers will look underdone. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod