I didn't get a chance to try the cookies last summer, but brown butter and sea salt seemed like an appealing combination. Another Northwestern baker at Bakelist posted brown butter cookies last summer, which I added walnuts to here. This time, however, I stuck to the recipe. For the most part.
Since I was using a brand new cookie cutter which imprints letters, I left out the heavy cream, which tends to crinkle the cookies' surface. With inspiration from V, I mixed sugar and sea salt and pressed it around the lettering. These aren't the little rounds of dough found at the Brown Butter Cookie Company, but they're good.
Half of these became study snacks for a friend who is studying for the MCATs. The other half disappeared within days. Only one cookie was left for V, three days after the batch went into the oven. It wasn't as good as he remembered, but only because he had biked 50 or so miles before the first brown butter cookie in Cayucos.
adapted from Bakelist
1/2 cup unsalted butter, browned and cooled to room temp
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened and cubed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
a pinch of kosher salt
sugar and sea salt, to taste (more sugar than sea salt, for me)
1. To brown the butter, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Cook, scraping the bottom often with a wooden spoon, until the butter begins to turn brown. Remove and strain into a clean bowl. Allow it to cool.
2. Cream butters and sugar until well-combined.
3. Add in vanilla, flour and salt. Mix until combined; my dough came together in large crumbs so I kneaded it slightly and patted it into two discs.
4. Refrigerate the dough for at least half an hour (up to overnight).
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough evenly until it is 1/4" thick. Cut out cookie shapes; refrigerate for another 10 minutes so the cookies keep their shape.
6. Remove from the fridge and sprinkle the sugar salt mixture over the cookies, pressing the crystals in.
7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges have browned.