One of my favorite Christmas cookies are these soft and chewy brown butter snickerdoodles! They have crispy edges, soft chewy centers, and that classic snickerdoodle tang in enhanced by the nutty brown butter.
how to make brown butter
Brown butter is my absolute favorite ingredient for taking baked goods to the next level! The toasty, nutty flavor enhances the warm cinnamon flavor in these snickerdoodles!
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Once melted, stir frequently and watch closely for the formation of brown specs on the bottom of the pan and a nutty aroma.
- Once you see brown specs, stir for just a few more seconds (it browns super quickly).
- Remove from the heat and immediately pour into a different bowl to prevent it from burning.
- Let the butter cool for about 20 minutes or pop it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes until it's about room temperature.
why do i have to chill the dough?
This is for a couple of reasons. First, letting the dough rest gives the flour time to hydrate. Eggs are the only liquid in these cookies and it takes flour a long time to absorb that moisture. When the flour is hydrated it helps contain the spread of the cookie so that you get a nice set edge and soft, chewy center. Additionally, since the browned butter is usually warmer than room temperature we need to chill the dough so that butter can firm back up. We want cold, solid butter going into the oven because that also helps control the spreading.
But don't we want the cookies to spread? Yes, we do and they will. We just don't want them to spread too much because then you get a flat, crispy cookie instead of one with a soft, chewy center.
more tips for perfect cookies
For even sized round cookies, I use a size 20 cookie scoop*. It's one of my favorite kitchen tools!
Only bake one sheet at a time; on the center rack. This will ensure all your cookies cook evenly and the bottoms don't burn. Also, let the cookie sheet cool completely between batches. This will also help ensure all cookies cook evenly and don't spread too much by being put on a hot pan.
This dough will keep really well in the fridge for up to a week, so I recommend only baking a few cookies at a time. That way they're always fresh, warm, and delicious!
The dough also freezes great! You can freeze pre-rolled cookie dough balls and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.
The frozen cookie dough can go straight from the freezer to the oven! Just add about 2 minutes to your cooking time!
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Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
- 1 cup unsalted butter, browned
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- To make brown butter, melt unsalted butter over medium heat, stirring frequently. Watch closely for the butter to develop brown specs and a nutty aroma. Once you start seeing brown specs, let cook for just a few seconds longer (watch very carefully or it will burn). Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl so that it doesn't continue to cook. Set aside and let cool for about 20 minutes or pop it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes until it's about room temperature. You want the butter to be mostly solid but still pliable.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the brown butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and for 3-4 minutes until the texture is light and fluffy (it should look much paler than before).
- Add in the flour, cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be wet and sticky.
- Cover the dough and chill in the fridge overnight (minimum of 2 hours if you just can't wait).
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon sugar topping.
- Spoon a generous 3 tablespoons of dough and then roll cookie dough balls in cinnamon sugar.
- Place dough balls at least 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet (they will spread, I usually only do 6 cookies on a half sheet pan).
- Place the rest of the cookie dough balls back in the fridge while the first batch cooks.
- Bake cookies for on the center rack of the oven for 9-11 minute or until the edges are set and the centers are still soft.
- Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
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