I love a snickerdoodle.
They are definitely one of my favorite cookies any time of year, but especially around the holidays. We make them every year. And usually with some variation from the original!
It keeps things fun and interesting. And extra delicious!
Earlier this fall, I shared these apple butter snickerdoodles. Oh my gosh. So good. So chewy and spiced and lovely.
Today’s variation is epic. We’re doing brown butter snickerdoodles laced with bourbon!
Adult cookies for the win!
These are the sort of cookies that you want to make when you have people around to help you eat them because they are DANGEROUS. Dan and I had a very hard time stopping with these. They are so flavorful and have the most amazing chewy, dense texture, which is classic of any snickerdoodle.
The bourbon is the very first thing you taste when you bite into one of these, quickly followed up by the spice of nutmeg and cinnamon, and the nuttiness of brown butter. All wrapped up in one sweet, sugary experience. Gosh. They’re so good.
The bourbon, as I said, is definitely THERE but it isn’t so strong that it’s unpalatable. Kieran snuck one of these when I wasn’t looking and at first I was alarmed that he was eating something with bourbon in it, before realizing that it was probably so little that it made no difference. He, who has a very discerning palate, did not say that they tasted odd or funny. The bourbon is something a grown up will taste because they likely know what bourbon tastes like. A kid? Not so much. It just adds to the spiced, caramely experience of a good snickerdoodle.
This recipe was a tough one to nail down. I tested it three times before I was ultimately happy (read: THRILLED) with both the taste and texture of these cookies. Snickerdoodles should be chewy and soft and a teensy bit gooey in the center. When you add a liquid to cookie dough (in this case: bourbon), it can result in a somewhat cakey cookie when all is said and done. You have to offset that somehow.
And I figured out how to do that with a multitude of key ingredients and steps.
The first being using melted butter instead of softened butter. I brown it here for flavor reasons, but the melted aspect of it is most key to getting the texture we want. Using melted butter in cookies lends itself to a denser, chewier texture in the end.
Secondly, using dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar. And a lot of it. Dark brown has more molasses in it and thus has more moisture than light brown sugar. The molasses aids in the chewiness. In this case, it is IMPERATIVE to use the dark brown. I tested it with both, and the resulting cookie using dark brown sugar was far superior.
Third, don’t skip the cream of tartar in this recipe. I realize it’s an ingredient you may not always have on hand, but it’s sold at every food store and is an awesome thing to keep on hand for baking. In this case, it makes the cookies chewier.
We also want to offset some of the moisture added by the bourbon by using one whole egg and one egg yolk instead of two whole eggs (which most cookie recipes typically call for). Removing that extra moisture really makes a huge difference!
All that to say that these cookies are not difficult at all to make. They’re just a little bit finicky. Please read the recipe below and don’t make substitutions. Please don’t alter the measurements, either. I promise that this is a well-vetted cookie recipe and what I say in the recipe is really best for these.
I would not lead you astray when it comes to snickerdoodles!
These Brown Butter Bourbon Snickerdoodles are chewy, soft, and flavored with spices, brown butter, and a touch of bourbon. The cinnamon sugar really makes these something special. Perfect for holiday baking!
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar (not light brown sugar – see Notes below)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For Rolling the Cookies:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Place the butter in a light-colored skillet or saucepan and set over medium heat.
- Cook until the butter is melted and then reduce the heat to medium-low and stir constantly, swirling the pan every now and then, until the butter is deeply golden brown. Watch carefully as it can go from brown to burned in seconds.
- Remove the butter from the heat and allow to cool slightly while you gather the rest of the ingredients.
- Whisk together the cooled brown butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, and bourbon until smooth and creamy.
- Stir in the egg and egg yolk and mix until well combined.
- Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in another bowl. Once well combined, pour into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Chill the cookie dough in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes (and up to 24 hours). Meanwhile, mix together the sugar and cinnamon for rolling the cookies.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and line large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop, portion out balls of dough roughly 2 tablespoons big and roll in the cinnamon sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space in between.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are golden and set and the centers still look slightly underdone.
- Remove the pans from the oven and tap the pans on the counter top a few times to help the cookies slightly flatten and release excess air. Return to the oven for another 2 minutes.
- Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to continue cooling. Continue with remaining cookie dough.
- These cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.
- There are a few things that are imperative in this recipe to achieve the right consistency for these cookies. The first being the use of dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar. Dark brown sugar has a higher moisture content, and these cookies need the moisture to have that classic snickerdoodle chew. Additionally, you absolutely cannot skip the cream of tartar in this recipe. It also gives the cookies that classic chewy texture that is so wonderful! The proportions of this recipe were tested three different times, and I do not recommend making any substitutions or measurement adjustments here.
- Rapping or banging the baking sheets on a hard surface while the cookies are partially baked also helps contribute to the chewy texture. Doing so releases extra air from the cookies, allowing them to finish baking with a denser, gooey texture.
- You can freeze this cookie dough if you do not want to make all the cookies at once. Make the dough, chill the dough, and roll it into balls. Flash freeze the cookie dough balls on a baking sheet for at least 1 hour. After an hour, transfer the frozen cookie dough balls to a plastic resealable bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. When you are ready to bake the cookies, take the dough balls straight from the freezer and roll in the cinnamon sugar. Add 2-3 minutes to the total baking time if baking from frozen. You can store the dough in the freezer for up to three months.
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: cookies
Keywords: brown butter bourbon snickerdoodles, bourbon brown butter snickerdoodles, brown butter snickerdoodles, bourbon snickerdoodles, boozy cookies, boozy baked goods, holiday cookies