Brown Butter Sea Salt Shortbread


Brown Butter Sea Salt Shortbread

The happy failure of accidentally overcooking the butter you just wanted to melt in a pan is where these cookies begin! My kids had a babysitter that periodically and accidentally browned the butter she was melting for the kids’ pasta. Since that flavor became a real hit in our family, I thought I’d recreate it myself. I quickly learned that trying to replicate her mistake actually took careful oversight!
So before making these cookies, you’ll need to plan ahead a little bit and brown the butter until it’s a rich golden brown and then leave time for it to chill and become solid again. It’s so worth the extra step though! Between the nutty brown butter flavor and the lightest sprinkling of flaked sea salt, you’ll be amazed at how tasty this odd savory-sweet combination is. In fact, this is the cookie I have to package up and give to clients as soon as they’re cooled from the oven, otherwise I can’t stop eating them!

Brown Butter Sea Salt Shortbread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder (or cornstarch if you don’t have this)
  • 1 ½ cup flour 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Flaked sea salt


  • Preheat 350 degrees. 
  • Melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Once it starts to foam up, keep stirring it to see the color underneath. When the foam just begins to turn a dark golden color and the butter is a dark golden color, remove it from the heat. Pour it into a dish and refrigerate it until it’s solid and about the consistency of room temperature butter.
  • Cream together the sugar and brown butter, being sure to scrape in all the little browned bits of butter! Add in the vanilla..
  • Slowly add in the flour, arrowroot powder and salt. Mix until very creamy.
  • Use a scoop and put the little mounds about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Then dip the bottom of a glass into flour and flatten each of these little mounds to be about ½ inch high.
  • While the oven is preheating, place the cookie sheet with the unbaked cookies into the fridge to chill for about 10 minutes. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies just begin to turn golden brown.
  • Lightly sprinkle flaked sea salt over the cookies while they’re warm.
  • Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Janet Souza

Hello! I'm Janet Souza, lifestyle blogger and REALTOR® at Christie's International Real Estate Sereno. I live and work in Silicon Valley and love everything our wonderful area has to offer. If you live in Silicon Valley or are thinking about moving here, you've come to the right place! Stay up to date with local events, theater, concerts, Real Estate and more! 

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