Browned Butter Brown Sugar Cookies with Lemon Buttercream

by Heather on May 25, 2011

Have you ever browned butter before?

Lord help me, I just might burn my tongue trying to lick the pan the next time I brown butter.  That nutty, buttery (duh), rich aroma is only slightly indicative of the massive amount of nutty, buttery, richness that will befall your tastebuds and I almost can’t stand it.  I’m afraid that if Nate hadn’t have been standing right next to me I would be typing this with gauze taped to my tongue.

Hey, anything could happen.

But what if – just what if – you balance the richness with a little zing of lemon zest?  OH, and extra butter?  AND SUGAR.  Whoa now, I’m getting a little excited…but I just can’t help it.

Sometimes I meet people who say crazy things like, “Oh, I don’t like dessert,” or “I forgot to eat food today.”  Really?  I don’t believe that…food is the guiding force of my day.  I think in terms of food.  I decide my day on when I’ll eat, what I’ll eat, how good it is, and how I can blog about it.  I dream about menus and grocery shopping and what pairs well with what thing, what’s in season, how can I make that thing over there – that healthy stalk of celery – how can I make that decadent.

OK that’s a lie – I hate celery and would likely never make you eat it.  Unless it’s flavor is masked by bacon.  Or garlic.  I do this out of love.

Really though, imagining a world without food – scratch that, a DAY without food – is pure insanity to me. Purely.


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter sliced thinly + 4 Tbsp at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350.  In a small skillet over medium low heat brown the butter by adding it to the pan and let it bubble, stirring constantly.  As you start to see some brown in the color take note; it won’t take long to finish from there.  Pour immediately into a cold bowl to stop cooking.  Cream together the browned butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  If you’re at a higher altitude then refrigerate for about 30 minutes.  Roll into 1 tsp balls and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until the edges are just slightly brown.  Let cool completely before adding the frosting.


For the frosting beat together the 4 Tbsp of softened butter with the 1 cup of powdered sugar.  Add the lemon zest and half of the juice.  If the icing is spreadable, stop there; if it needs more liquid add just a touch of the lemon juice.  Spread on the cooled cookies and enjoy!

Oh goodness.  Oh me oh my.  Sorry, my mouth is too full to talk…

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maria May 25, 2011

I think I need to make these TODAY!


2 Jessica @ How Sweet May 25, 2011

Oh brown butter… how I love thee. This is a fabulous cookie. I think this may be your best recipe yet!!


3 Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 25, 2011

Those people who say they forget to eat must be lying… I don’t believe it! These cookies, though, look amazing!


4 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat May 25, 2011

Browning the butter makes such a difference — beautiful cookies!


5 Salah@myhealthiestlifestyle May 25, 2011

this sounds so wonderful….I want some! AND it has frosting :-) doesn’t get much better than that!


6 Emily May 25, 2011

Um, I want these for breakfast! Looks amazing!


7 Lauren from Lauren's Latest May 25, 2011

Yes please!


8 Amy B @ Second City Randomness May 25, 2011

I’ve never browned butter, but one of the recipes on my list of things to make is browned butter chocolate chip cookies. I can’t imagine how decadent they’ll be- can’t wait!


9 Kate@Diethood May 25, 2011

Oh my worrrrd! I have to make these. WOW!


10 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. May 25, 2011

These look delish


11 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun May 25, 2011

You know how to win me over with each and every creation. You just keep getting better and better!!!!


12 Cindi May 25, 2011

I’ve been following your blog for awhile (I LOVE it!) and am finally breaking out of my silence :) Two things: 1) browned butter is one of the most wonderful smells in the world. 2) I, too, don’t “get” people when then say they forget to eat or don’t really even care about food. This is sad. Just plain sad. :)


13 Natalia - a side of simple May 25, 2011

All this talk of browned butter has me changing into my yoga pants and heading to the kicthen. Exercise of the day: mixing ingedients and test tasting :)


14 Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic May 25, 2011

No I haven’t made brown butter yet!! These look ridiculously good!


15 Urban Wife May 25, 2011

There’s a container of leftover lemon cream cheese frosting sitting in my fridge. I knew there was a reason for keeping it ‘just a little longer’. Now I can stop eating spoonfuls of it when I get home from work and put it to good use with these decadent cookies! I heart cookies but cookie sandwiches are even better. :)


16 Lindsey @ Morningstar Project May 25, 2011

Me oh my I’m drooling on my keyboard! I just roll my eyes at those people who “somehow forgot to each lunch today!” I don’t think I’ve forgotten to eat a meal, let alone my midday snacks ever.


17 Steph @ StephSnacks May 25, 2011

I just want one little bite!!


18 kitchenarian May 25, 2011

I am a fan of browned butter. I love it on fresh pasta with grated parmesan cheese. Now I am about to break out and try it in cookies. Thanks for sharing your recipe.


19 Cookin' Canuck May 25, 2011

You’re killing me! Brown butter is a favor I just can’t resist. Put it in a cookie with brown sugar & lemon – I’m a goner.


20 The Food Hound May 25, 2011

Browned butter is so amazing. More people should eat it and there might be world peace! I made a pumpkin cake with browned butter for my Gluwhein party this past holiday season and it was a TOTAL hit. Browned butter in the frosting, too- oh, yeah!


21 Molly at Duchess of Fork May 26, 2011

OMG, Heather, these look divine! I adore lemon cream anything. I’ll definitely be making these this summer.


22 Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery May 26, 2011

Those look so perfect it’s not even funny. Brown butter = food of the gods.


23 Amanda @ The Beauty Notebooks May 26, 2011

These look wonderful! The name sounds divine. I love sandwich cookies, too! I am going to add your recipe to my list of recipes to make!


24 Michelle June 1, 2011

I’ve never tried Browned Butter before changing that trying…yum


25 Amanda June 1, 2011

As a lemon lover, these sound incredibly appealing! I love that you can see the lemon zest in the buttercream – so pretty! Can’t wait to give these a try!


26 Joanne June 4, 2011

Seeing as how I start thinking about my next meal practically before the last one has finished…yeah I don’t understand these people who forget to eat. Weirdos.

I had browned butter ice cream while in SF last week and now I’m hooked on browned butter. It’s truly a gift. And these cookie sandwiches look amazing!


27 Elle June 8, 2011

Gimme! please. :)


28 Lindsay December 12, 2012

These cookies are delicious, however, I found that it’s important to flatten out the balls before baking. It was my experience that the dough didn’t flatten on its own so my cookies looked more like mini whoopie pies than sandwich cookies.


29 Heather December 12, 2012

Thanks Lindsay! Definitely a good pointer – the difference probably is the fact that when I made mine it was at high altitude which tends to change a lot of aspects. I’m glad you liked the recipe!


30 Katie March 8, 2013

Lindsay, the same happened to me. I ended up flattening mine a little too. In hindsight, I think adding a small amount of baking soda would have helped a bit. Good tip that I carry with me in my baking endeavors — soda spreads, powder puffs.


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