Brown Butter Hawaij-Spiced Snickerdoodles
I tested this recipe so. many. times. Ok, I think a total of 5 but I made them A LOT. And I’m totally ok with that. They are so good. I’m really excited to share them with you. I really wanted to share a Fall version of a snickerdoodle and I pondered how I could do this in a fun and unique way. I thought about possible spices to incorporate rather than just the traditional cinnamon. It hit me: hawaij! What’s hawaij? It’s a Yemini spice blend often used in sweet and savory applications from soups to brewing coffee and it’s pretty much the most delicious mix ever. This version is like a warm, cozy hug. It's akin to gingerbread or chai in flavor. Sweet, aromatic, spicy, and a hint of floral. This on is a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shoutout to Molly Yeh for introducing me to hawaij in the first place. I think I first read about it in one of her IG posts a few years ago and I’ve been mixing up a little jar every so often to sprinkle into my weekend chemex coffee and I’ve loved it ever since. So I thought it would be a natural pairing for snickerdoodles. I went a little rogue and opted to not only mix it with the sugar used to coat the exterior of the cookies, but I also mixed some of the spice blend right into the dough, fore even more flavor. To up the ante even more, let’s go ahead and brown the butter. Why? Cause it’s like a free flavor bonus. You’re already using butter, so why not coax out every nutty, toasty note we can out of it? It takes the cookie to a whole new level. And a quick note regarding the extra 2 tablespoons of butter, it is necessary because when you brown butter, you will inevitably lose a little moisture and volume as water evaporates while it’s cooking, so the extra will ensure you don’t end up with a dry cookie.
Aside from flavor-packed, the type of snickerdoodle I was going for was a balance of soft and chewy texture, not too crispy, and a little puffy. During my research, I came across Bon Appetit’s recipe for snickerdoodles and borrowed a few techniques, including really giving the eggs, butter, and sugar a good whip for several minutes to incorporate lots of air into the eggs. This helps with lift, along with the addition of baking powder, which normally isn’t in a classic snickerdoodle recipe. I also upped the flour a little to aid in a slightly thicker cookie. I played around with the granulated to brown sugar ratio and settled on double the amount of brown to granulated to encourage ultimate chewiness and that hint of molasses flavor. BA also taught me you don’t necessarily need to chill the dough, either. Rather, their recipe calls for just allowing the mixed dough to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, to allow the flour to fully hydrate. After doing several tests involving chilling the dough for an hour in the fridge, I thought this was intriguing. It really works. I found that when the dough became firm enough in the fridge to roll into balls, it was also too cold for the sugar/spice mixture to really adhere to the outside. By just letting the dough hang at room temp bypasses this issue. I can’t to try this trick when I start developing my chocolate chip cookie recipe soon.
I hope you try these, they might just be one of my new favorites! Enjoy!
Brown Butter Hawaij-Spiced Snickerdoodles
makes about 24 cookies
1 c + 2 T (2 sticks + 2 T) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c organic granulated cane sugar
1 c light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
3 c all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
2 t cream of tartar
1 t Himalayan pink salt
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground cardamom
1/4 t ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
1/4 c organic granulated cane sugar
2 t ground ginger
2 t ground cardamom
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
make the dough
In a small saucepan or cute little butter warmer over low heat, melt the butter then allow it to continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally until the milk solids at the bottom of the pan are golden brown and the butter smells toasty and nutty. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer to stop it from browning any further, being sure to scrape out every last brown bit (flavor!). Allow to cool a few minutes before proceeding.
While the butter is cooling, let's whisk together the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, spices, and salt. Set aside.
Once the butter has cooled for a few minutes, add in the granulated and brown sugars and whip to combine using the paddle attachment for about a minute or so on medium speed. Add in the eggs and mix for about 3 minutes on medium/high speed. Add in the vanilla and mix to incorporate.
Add in the dry ingredients all at once then turn the mixer on low to start to incorporate the mixture then slowly turn it up to medium until a smooth dough just starts to form. It’s ok if there’s still a few steaks of flour. Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate everything. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, letting the dough firm up.
bake the cookies
Preheat oven to 350 F. To make the hawaij-spiced sugar, whisk the sugar and all the spices together in a small bowl and set aside. Scoop the firm dough into balls using a cookie scoop then roll each into balls. Roll the balls in the spice sugar mixture, rolling around to be sure all sides are coated. Transfer balls to parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. I fit about 8 on each baking sheet at a time. Bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly golden brown and cracks have formed on the surface of the cookies but centers are still puffy and slightly underdone. Allow to cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool before enjoying!