I used to work at a local orchard that sold fresh produce and homemade baked goods. Most of the time, I was a cashier, working with the most complicated cash register ever created and memorizing prices for what must’ve been hundreds of different fruits and veggies. The rest of the time, I did odd jobs like dish washing, sweeping, mopping, and apple box-making. It wasn’t the greatest job ever, but it certainly wasn’t a bad one. All my co-workers were kind and patient with my frequent screw-ups.
The only aspect of the job I really disliked was when a customer would ask for one of the tantalizing baked goods that were neatly displayed behind a pristine glass pastry case. There were gargantuan slabs of apple cider cake, heavy as a brick when you picked them up, thick fudge-covered brownies, cookies the size of my face, and all kinds of plump muffins. The glass doors acted as a barrier between me and my drug of choice: sugar. When the doors were closed, it was like the baked goods didn’t exist. But when they opened, their sweet scent came wafting out from the case, making a b-line for my nostrils. I thought I’d get used to it eventually, and the intoxicating aroma would no longer affect me so intensely. I never did.
Despite the fact that I almost always resisted the sweet temptation in order to opt for healthy-eating, there were days when I’d allow myself to take one treat home. The orchard was known for many of its sweets, one of which was their blueberry cookies. There was only a small window of time when they made the cookies, so if you loved them, you had to buy them while you could. I did just that, and instantly fell in love. They had that undeniable homemade quality. The blueberries were fresh and the cookies were so soft they melted away on my tongue.
I haven’t eaten those cookies in over a year, but I think about them often when my sweet tooth gets rowdy. I finally decided to make some of my own, but I of course put a Smart Cookie Twist on them: Brown Butter Blueberry Cookies with Vanilla Glaze. I hate to be all cliche and preach about the magic of brown butter, but it is an extraordinary ingredient. It takes these already amazing cookies and adds a deep, rich, nutty flavor that makes them other-worldly.
These cookies are so delicately soft, but they do not cross into cake territory; they’re distinctly cookies. The blueberries are so fresh in the cookies that they burst with juiciness when you bite in. It’s a beautiful experience. The light vanilla glaze is the perfect kiss of sweetness to finish off the cookies and compliment that deep brown butter flavor. You simply must make these cookies before the summer ends; no if’s, and’s, or blueberries about it.
As good as the cookies from that orchard are, I think I’ve got a leg up on ‘em.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- If you’ve never made brown butter before, it’s common to feel scared. But fear not; literally all you have to do is stick butter in a pan and wait for it to turn brown. Just make sure to get it off the stove as soon as that change takes place, because it turns burnt quickly.
- You can make these bigger if you like.
- Use fresh blueberries for the juiciest, most delicious end results.
- Don’t over-bake! This isn’t like the typical cookie where you wait for it to brown around the edges. You want to pull these when they are set.
- Parchment paper = your best friend.
- You can skip the glaze if you like things a little less sweet.
- If you like these, then you’ll also like my Mini Rainbow Sugar Cookies. They’re made from the same sugar cookie base.
Brown Butter Blueberry Cookies with Vanilla Glaze
Cookies adapted from Foodbeast; Glaze by The Smart Cookie Cook
- 3 sticks butter (1 1/2 cups), room temperature
- 4 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 5 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1.5 pints fresh blueberries
For the glaze
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp. milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
1. In a small sauce pan over medium-low, melt the butter. Let cook, whisking every now and then, for about 10 minutes. The butter will start to form a layer of foam on top. It will begin to smell nutty and darken in color. Keep whisking so it doesn’t burn, and make sure you’re paying attention to the bottom of the pan to see if the butter is browning. Once you see brown flecks start to form and the butter has deepened in color, immediately remove from heat. Pour into a bowl and freeze for 15 minutes. Then transfer to the fridge until butter is completely solidified again. Let come to room temperature before continuing.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in vanilla until blended. Gradually add flour mixture and beat on low just until incorporated. Gently stir in the blueberries until evenly distributed, being careful not to break them. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls. You can use a watermelon baller to scoop the dough so each cookie is uniform size. Place balls on parchment paper-lined trays, 6-8 cookies per tray depending on the size. Bake cookies 8 – 10 minutes until set, checking after 5 minutes. They should not be browned at all. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
6. Make the glaze: Whisk powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, and vanilla together in a bowl until completely smooth. Whisk in another tablespoon of milk if it seems too thick. Once cookies are cooled, top them with the glaze. You may dip them or spread it on with a knife. Allow glaze to set & enjoy!