I had intended for these cookies to serve as a natural segue into fall baking. Nothing too dramatic: only one spice (the baking classic, cinnamon) for a foretaste of the spice-laden autumnal and winter baking that is to come. Cinnamon always stars in snickerdoodles, which are a whimsical riff off sugar cookies. This particular variation, dreamed up by two creative geniuses in their new book, caught my attention for an addition that is at once ingenious yet entirely appropriate: brown butter. It’s these kinds of little twists on classics, ones that make me wish I’d thought of it first, that make me love the Baked books.
A gentle introduction into fall flavors might be fitting for the middle of September, when I made these, but now a month later, it’s past that point, decidedly the season to break out the pumpkin and apples full-force. Nevertheless, I think you should make a place for these. The best word to describe these cookies is warm, with nutty brown butter, cinnamon both in the dough and, as per usual, cracking around the exterior, and brown sugar to add depth. All the aforementioned are not found in your average snickerdoodle yet harmonize together here into a crispy-around-the-edges, chewy-in-the-middle fall cookie.
Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
adapted from Baked Elements
Makes about 2 dozen large cookies
1 cup (2 sticks | 8 ounces) unsalted butter, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until it bubbles, foams, turns deep-brown, and smells nutty, about 8-10 minutes. Stir frequently to brown the butter evenly. Don’t let it burn! Pour the brown butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment to bring the butter to room temperature, about 6-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and milk together.
Once the butter is tepid, add 1 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, drizzle in the egg mixture; raise the speed to medium and continue to beat until thoroughly combined and very light and creamy. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, mixing after each addition until barely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, gathering it into a mound in the middle. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. You can also freeze the dough, double-wrapped in plastic and foil, for up to 1 month.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon until the mixture is uniform in color.
Scoop the dough into about 2-tablespoon sized balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar. Space the cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets and press them down slightly with your fingers. Bake for about 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cookies are set around the edges and slightly cracked or wrinkled. Don’t overbake–snickerdoodles are best chewy.
Let the cookies cool on the pan set on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then transfer to cookies the racks to cool completely.
The snickerdoodles can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.