Tag Archives: brown butter

Brown Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies with a Bourbon and Brown Butter Glaze…whew!


Early to bed, early to rise.  I am an early riser.  Often I awaken in darkness and have some version of the following conversation with myself.  “If I get up now I can pull some butter and cream cheese out of the refrigerator to soften on the counter while I have my coffee.  Am I going to even use the butter and cream cheese?  And I can look through some cookbooks for inspiration.  Do I have any eggs?  What was it I ran out of and was supposed to get at the store?  Did I remember to get it?”  Wide awake I grab the clock to learn it’s 4:17 in the morning.  Ugh.  I lie in bed as long as I can and then that’s it.  I have to get up…have to.  It’s still too early to wake the household with my banging about, but I WILL quietly pad to the kitchen, prepare the morning coffee and mull over what it is I want to cook or bake.  The morning is deliciously dark, the kitchen hushed and still.  It is an exquisite peace, well worth leaving 1200 thread count sheets.  No phones ringing, no dog barking, too early for music, my thoughts silently bounce around my noggin with the speed of a crazy ball.  This morning I focused on pecans.  And butter.  Brown butter.  And cookies.  With a glaze.  More brown butter.  Rum?  Uh-uh…too harsh.  Bourbon, yeah, bourbon.  A bourbon and brown butter glaze.  Bingo.  I know what I want to do with the morning.  Pecans mean autumn to me as does brown butter.  I pull out books, pens, recipes and notebooks.  My coffee sits on the window sill of the kitchen as I settle into the window box to sip and see what I can come up with.  I know everyone’s excited about pumpkin right now but I just can’t.  I’m sorry.  I’m already over and done with all the pumpkin.  Pumpkin lattes, coffee cake, Rice Krispy treats, cinnamon rolls and snickerdoodles.  Maybe sometime I’ll bake off some pumpkin bread but that’s it for pumpkin.  Maybe some soup, too.  However, pecans?  Georgia pecans?  Oh, hell yes.  Pecans say college ball, the occasional lit fireplace, short days and cool nights.  Pecans say gumbo parties, your favorite boots, cashmere, apples and no bad hair days.  The result of all this is a cookie that will blow your cozy, autumnal socks off.  The glaze is not at all boozy but a warm, soft blanket of icing with the deep, smooth flavor of butter hinting towards bourbon .  The cookie is ever so slightly crisp at the edge becoming chewy, salty and buttery with the joyous meeting of sweet pecan to tastebud.  Good Lord, but they were good!  I say were because I had to get them out of the house.  Too much temptation for this girl.

I was a fool for these cookies. Something about that sweet, salty combination.
I was a fool for these cookies. Something about that sweet, salty combination.

It’s an easy cookie but because the butter is melted when browned, the dough is best chilled overnight.  I put together my dough in the afternoon and bake the cookies off the following morning up to a day later.  I bake them for exactly 12 minutes because I have a “hot” oven.  I need to buy a new oven thermometer and calibrate it but until that happens I’ll just keep a watchful eye on what’s baking.  Also, with holiday baking right around the corner, I strongly urge you to pick up a pack of parchment paper.  I find the packs at food warehouses and Michael’s craft store also sells it.  The packs are by far easier to use rather than the parchment paper rolls sold in boxes.  The edges of the boxed paper curl uncontrollably back to their boxed form.  Plus I believe the packages are infinitely cheaper.  To form the cookies I used a medium cookie scoop which holds 1 1/2 tablespoons.  I packed the dough in generously with a bit extra spilling out.







Brown Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies with Brown Butter Bourbon Icing


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cup toasted pecans (400° for 7 minutes), roughly chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Bourbon Brown Butter Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • Extra pecan halves for decoration, optional
  1. In a large, heavy bottomed pot brown the butter over medium heat.  Stir continuously and briskly to ensure even browning.  It will foam up and begin to brown from the center of the pot.  Continue stirring until the butter turns a dark brown.  Allow to cool 10-15 minutes off the heat.
  2. Pour browned butter into a large bowl and add both brown sugars. Mix to combine then add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder.  Stir to combine.
  4. Add toasted, chopped pecans to brown butter/sugar mixture and stir well.
  5. Add flour mixture to the wet pecan mixture and beat until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  6. Transfer dough to plastic wrap, shape into a ball, wrap well and chill the dough in the refrigerator until hard and set.  I find overnight is best.
  7. When dough has chilled sufficiently pre-heat oven to 350° and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Using a medium cookie scoop, cut out dough and place on parchment lined baking sheets.  12 mounds per sheet works best.
  9.  Cover the bottom of a smooth meat pounder, salad plate or small flat-bottomed bowl with plastic wrap and press down on each ball of dough so that it measures about 2 1/2″ in diameter.
  10. Bake for 12 minutes.  Check the bottom of a cookie for browning and if further baking is needed return to oven checking every 2 minutes.  These cookies firm up on top once out of the oven so take care not to over bake.
  11. Cool on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes then transfer to cooling rack until completely cool.

Bourbon Brown Butter Glaze

  1. Place glazing butter in a small heavy bottomed pot and melt over medium heat.
  2. Remove from heat when the butter is dark brown.
  3. Carefully, because it will pop and splatter, pour in bourbon and stir vigorously.  The alcohol will burn off but you’ll still be left with that caramel like bourbon flavor.
  4. Stir in confectioner’s sugar and continue stirring until the glaze is smooth and there are no lumps of sugar.
  5. If the glaze is too thick add milk, water or bourbon one teaspoonful at a time taking care not to make it too runny as you’ll spread the glaze with the back of a spoon.
  6. Spread one teaspoonful of glaze over each cookie using the back of the spoon to swirl it around and cover the top of the cookie.
  7. Finish each cookie with one perfect pecan halve pressed into glaze.




Give Thanks for Sides Haricots Verts with Brown Butter, Ham and Pecans


It’s the beginning of November, folks, and time to start thinking of Thanksgiving sides. I’m pretty traditional with what I serve these days. Many years ago I went through a very long phase of serving anything but the standard fare. One year was an Italian Thanksgiving, the next Puerto Rican and following that Italian. That was one FINE feast. I served a Vitello Tonnato that would make you lie down and weep it was so good. And the creamy, dreamy Tiramisu for dessert was celestial! You see, I don’t really like turkey. I’m just not a big fan except for the “oysters”, the large, oval pieces of meat which sit on both sides of the backbone. So I wasn’t exactly compelled to roast another  big, bland bird.  Or do that green-bean-mushroom-soup thing that ends up looking like barf.  Sorry, but it does.  And that thin, runny gravy with little fragments of chopped hard-boiled egg and liver covering MY mashed potatoes?  Not in my house.  Until the year when the mother of one of James’ friends asked him if he enjoyed Thanksgiving and Mama’s food which must be absolutely delicious? He didn’t realize it but I was within earshot. I waited for his response, a little smile started on my face in anticipation of the loving, complimentary answer from my first grader. “Yes”, he replied, “It’s always really good but I wish that just one time we could have regular turkey and gravy and pumpkin pie”.  He almost sounded wistful verging on sad.  It was heartrending for me.  I thought, “Never again will I prepare anything for Thanksgiving that veers from the classic, time-honored American fare.”  And I haven’t!  Because nothing makes me happier than when my boy’s happy and I know many of y’all feel the saaaame way.  I’ll do it but I’ll do it my way.  And that would be with beaucoup flavor.  So let’s get on with my first side, French Green Beans, (Haricots Verts), in brown butter, roasted pecans and tiny bits of salty, sautéed ham.  I like the french green beans better than the typical Blue Lake variety that are found at every grocery store in America.  The French ones have more flavor, they’re not watery and the end result is firmer.  Publix carries Haricot Vert and they even have their own brand.  I am NOT leading you down the path of ruin!!!  Try them out before hand and you’ll see for yourself.  They can be steamed right in the bag in the microwave and then lightly tossed with olive oil and garlic, a little salt and pepper and they’re delicious.  That’s what my friend, Jody, does and her kids gobble them up.  Yep.  Green beans. Sometimes I also saute a little shallot in the browned butter for further flavor.  This recipe allows you to prepare the dish in advance and then warm it just before serving.  And did I mention it’s really pretty on the table?  Oh, yeah!  Pink and green, baby!!  It’s a Southern thing!

Exquisitely delicious browned butter.  Actually heard the "tssss" of my tongue burning while licking the spoon.  Well worth it!
Exquisitely delicious browned butter. Actually heard the “tssss” of my tongue burning while licking the spoon. Well worth it!

Haricots Verts in Browned Butter with Pecans and Ham

yield:  4-6 servings

  • 1 pound French green beans, haricots verts
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, lightly roasted
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped ham
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Steam or microwave beans until al dente.   Set aside.
  2. In a small pan melt butter on medium high heat and stir continuously so as not to burn.  It will quickly turn a beautiful brown which is what you want.  But keep your eyes on it.  You want it browned not burned.  Add pecans, stir well and take off the heat.
  3. Put oil in a medium to large pan and bring the heat up to medium high.  When the pan is hot add the ham and shake the pan every now and again to get a few crusty pieces.  When the color is to your liking add the browned butter and pecans, stir well and set aside.
  4. This is the point where you can stop and cover everything up to serve later.
  5. Drop the heat to low and add green beans to the pecan ham mixture.  Stir well to warm the beans through and coat with the all the other ingredients.
  6. Serve immediately.  Or as soon as you can!