Meltaway Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting

Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. Deuteronomy 32:2

Okay, last weekend I got an early start on my baking after realizing what month it is. It seems like only yesterday I was horrifed to find that somehow June 21st had just slipped by and the days were starting to get shorter (I really hate that).  At this point I can start to celebrate that we only have 79 days and 22 minutes until the winter solstice (of course, by the time you read this it will be probably only be 77 days!!!).  I think it’s my favorite day of the year…when the days start getting longer and the horrid darkness of wintertime starts to wane.  Judging by the fact that Googling the phrase “how many days until december 21 2011” returned “about” 143 million results, I’m guessing I’m not the only one who feels that way.  When it’s finally April or May again and the plants start to bloom, and the trees rustle with their new bright green spring leaves, I feel like I can finally take off my shoes and socks and take a breath.

I love fall, though, and we are in the midst of what is supposed to be the most colorful and intense display of fall leaves in 10 years. We went up north to visit my mom and stepdad this last weekend, and the news guys weren’t lying. Wow.  I think my favorites are the maple trees.  I love the yellows and oranges – so vibrant. I’m not sure if the sky is actually really a richer blue or if it’s just the combination of colors that makes it seem like it is.  I love to hear the leaves crunching under my feet, and the air is nice and crisp – perfect sweatshirt weather.  It’s exactly the right weather for having a fire in the fire pit and visiting the apple orchard. The only problem is that white stuff that’s going to start falling in just a few short weeks.  Eek! 

At any rate, I can’t do a thing to stop it, so I’m going to try to make the best of it.  I want to have time this year to sit quietly and craft, without having to worry about baking everything at once. So here’s another great cookie recipe.  This one calls for frosting.  While the frosting can be frozen, I actually think it’s best to make the cookies and freeze them without frosting – the frosting is easy to make, just doesn’t taste quite as good (at least to me) after it’s been frozen.

These are essentially a brown sugar shortbread cookie. They really do have that melt-in-your-mouth flavor that is so indicative of shortbread, with the added depth of brown sugar. These also have egg yolk, which helps to keep them just a bit moist.

Very basic ingredients. And because it’s a shortbread base, no leavening agents.

Start by creaming the brown sugar and butter together. Beat for about 3 minutes.

Nice and creamy!

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.

Beat in the egg yolks and the vanilla.

Add the flour and stir to combine.

 

Roll into 1″ balls and flatten on an ungreased cookie sheet to about 1/4″ thick. This dough is crumbly and will be rough around the edges.  Bake until just browned in a 350° oven.

While the cookies are cooling, melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium low to medium heat.  Swirl gently occasionally, and watch it closely. When it turns brown immediately remove it from the heat. At the same time, put some walnuts in the oven to toast.

When the butter is browned, combine it with confectioners sugar and milk to make a creamy frosting.

 Add the milk a little at a time, beating between additions, until it reaches a thick but creamy and spreadable consistency.

 Put a pile of walnuts on a plate or a cutting board.  Spread each cookie with a generous dollop of frosting.

Dip the frosted side in the chopped walnuts, and then let the frosting set.

It might be a good idea to try a couple to make sure they taste good!

That’s the ticket!

Meltaway Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting:

Cookies:

  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • Granulated sugar for flattening cookies

Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2-1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk, or additional as needed

Directions:

Cookies:

Beat butter and brown sugar until creamy.

Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat well.

Add flour and stir until mixed in.

Form into 1″ balls and flatten with a juice glass dipped in sugar. They should be about 1/4″ thick.  You can crowd them because they will barely spread.

Bake for 7-9 minutes until just barely starting to brown. Do not over bake.

Remove to a wire rack to cool.

While cooling, toast about 2 cups of walnuts (or nuts of your choice), and finely chop.  Place in a bowl or on a cutting board.

Frosting:

Brown the butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium low to medium heat.  Swirl occasionally and watch carefully – once it turns brown remove it from the heat immediately.  Slower is better to prevent burning.

Mix the browned butter, powered sugar and vanilla together, and add milk one tablespoon at a time until frosting is thick but creamy and spreadable.

Frost cookies and immediately press frosted side into chopped nuts to coat.  Allow frosting to set before storing in an airtight container. If you want to make them and freeze them, freeze the cookies unfrosted in an airtight container, and thaw before frosting.

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