Brown butter sesame cookies are crumbly and rich, a little like classic Scottish shortbread. Melted white chocolate and a sprinkle of toasted seeds make for an easy decoration. Cooking the sesame seeds in the butter as it browns adds extra richness and another layer of flavour!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Brown sugar: we recommend a dark brown sugar to really pull out that caramel flavour, but light brown sugar works too.
- Butter: this recipe probably won't work with vegan butter or margarine as it generally doesn't brown.
- White chocolate: Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate mixed with matcha powder are all great substitutes for plain white chocolate.
Step 1: brown the butter with the sesame seeds in the pan.
Step 2: whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
Step 3: add the brown butter to a large bowl and whisk in the brown sugar, followed by the egg.
Step 4: add the flour mixture in two parts, carefully mixing until combined.
Step 5: divide the cookie dough into twelve equal portions. Using your hands, roll each portion into a smooth ball.
Step 6: place the balls on a prepared baking sheet. Dip the base of a flat-bottomed drinking glass or mug into flour and use it to gently press each cookie ball until the edges of the dough start to crack.
Step 7: bake the cookies until the edges and bottoms are lightly golden. Cool fully before decorating.
Step 8: dip each cookie in melted white chocolate and top with toasted sesame seeds to decorate.
- Don't skip the browning: this is a key element of the cookies. For more detailed instructions on how to brown butter, visit this brown butter chocolate chip cookies post.
- Use room temperature ingredients: as with most baking recipes, you want a room temperature egg here.
- Don't over-mix: if mixed too long, the cookies with turn out tough and chewy. Work with light, quick hands.
If you use salted butter, you may want to halve the amount of salt added to the cookies. This is personal preference as you may like them a bit saltier, but keep it in mind.
Toasting the sesame seeds to top the cookies will add a stronger sesame flavour. If you want it to be a little more subtle, either omit the extra sesame or don't toast the seeds.
You can decorate the tops of the cookies however you like. Dipping the edges in chocolate as pictured, spreading the tops with frosting, or drizzling with glaze are all nice options.
Be sure to let the chocolate set fully (overnight in the fridge is your best bet) before packaging the cookies as gifts.
How to Store
Storage: keep the cookies in a sealed container at room temperature for 4-5 days.
Freezing: transfer fully cooled cookies to an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. If decorating with chocolate, they can be decorated before freezing, but if you want to use something like a glaze, add it after they've thawed.
What does brown butter do to cookies?
Brown butter adds a nutty, slightly caramel-like flavour to cookies. It simply makes them a bit more complex and interesting.
Can you brown margarine like butter?
Margarine or dairy-free butter substitutes don't brown the same way that butter does, because they don't contain milk solids – this is what browns in butter.
What kind of butter is best for browning butter?
Any type of normal dairy butter can be used for browning, but make sure it's at room temperature so that it melts evenly and doesn't splatter. Salted and unsalted butter can be used.
If you make this Brown Butter Sesame Cookie recipe or any other cookie recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Brown Butter Sesame Seed Cookies
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Small saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- 2 Mixing bowl
- Wire rack
- Heat-safe vessel
- ½ cup butter
- ¼ cup sesame seeds plus 2 teaspoons for garnish
- 1-¼ cup all-purpose flour plus 1 to 2 teaspoon extra for pressing cookies
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 egg
- ¼ to ½ cup white chocolate chopped
- Place the butter and sesame seeds in a small saucepan over medium-low heat on the stovetop.
- Cook the butter, swirling it often, until it turns deep amber in colour, about 12 to 14 minutes. Set the brown butter aside and let it cool for 10 minutes.
- While the butter is cooling, preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
- Line a standard 17-¼ x 12-¼ inch (44 x 31-cm) half sheet baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium-small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt
- Pour the brown butter and sesame seeds into a large bowl. Add the brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the egg, and again, whisk smooth.
- Dump half of the flour into the wet ingredients and gently fold until no streaks of flour remain. Add the remaining flour and again, gently fold until well combined.
- Divide the cookie dough into 12 equal portions (approximately 35 grams each). Using your hands, roll each portion into a smooth ball.
- Place the cookie dough balls on the prepared baking sheet.
- Dip the base of a flat-bottomed drinking glass or mug into flour and use it to gently press each cookie ball until the edges of the dough start to crack.
- Though floured, you will probably still have to gently peel the pressed cookie from the bottom of the glass/mug.
- Place the sheet of flattened cookies in the preheated oven and bake them for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the edges and bottoms are golden. Cool the cookies on a wire rack completely before decorating.
- To decorate the cookies, place the sesame seeds in a small, dry pan or pot on the stovetop.
- Cook the seeds over medium-high heat, swirling often, until the seeds are fragrant and turn medium-dark gold in colour.
- Spoon the seeds into a small heat-safe vessel and set aside.
- Melt the chopped white chocolate in 30 second bursts in the microwave, or over low-medium heat in a small pot on the stovetop, until no lumps remain.
- Dip the edge of each cookie in melted white chocolate then sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
- Place the dipped cookies on a wire rack on the counter, or in the fridge, until the chocolate hardens, before serving or packaging as gifts.