Small batch brown butter sourdough snickerdoodles

brown butter sourdough snickerdoodles

Hi, hello, and happy spring! Just popping in with a fun little recipe to add to your sourdough discard repertoire: brown butter sourdough snickerdoodles.

I love riffing on the classic snickerdoodle — previously, we’ve done gingerbread latte snickerdoodles, graham cracker snickerdoodles, raspberry lemonade snickerdoodles, and there’s a whole recipe on snickerdoodle variations in my book! Today we’re veering into new territory by adding some sourdough discard to the mix, which (along with a healthy dose of brown butter) give these treats a big boost of flavor. Add in crisp edges, soft centers, cinnamon sugar goodness — these cookies don’t last long in our house!

brown butter sourdough snickerdoodles

Baker’s notes:

  • Sourdough discard is the portion of your starter that you would normally throw away when doing a feeding. I usually store my discard for up to a week in the fridge, using it to make anything from granola to pie crust to chocolate cake. For this recipe, you can use discard that’s at room temperature or straight from the fridge, as long as it’s not overly acidic-smelling or has formed any liquid “hooch” on top.
  • I prefer to bake these cookies after a short chill, just long enough to make the dough easier to portion. Since this dough does have discard in it, it will continue to ferment if left in the fridge. If you’re not planning to bake off all the cookies at once, I would recommend freezing unbaked dough balls (without the sugar sprinkle) in an airtight bag/container. Bring to room temperature and reroll each portion between your hands (this slightly warms the dough, helping the sugar sprinkle stick) before rolling in sugar and baking.

Small batch brown butter sourdough snickerdoodles

Makes 10 cookies

Ingredients:

For the brown butter sourdough snickerdoodle base:

  • 115g unsalted butter, cubed (cold is fine)
  • 25g milk, cold
  • 140g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use a scant 1/2 tsp for other brands or 1/4 tsp table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 30g light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, cold
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60g 100% hydration sourdough discard

For the cinnamon sugar sprinkle:

  • 25g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp ground cinnamon (to taste)

Method:

  • Brown the butter: Place the cubed butter in a small, light-colored saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir frequently with a heatproof spatula, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan as needed. The butter will crackle, foam, turn clear gold, then finally start browning. It’s done when the crackling subsides and you smell toasted nuts. This process takes about 10 minutes total, but the butter can go from browned to burnt in a flash—so keep an eye on it. Pour the butter and all the toasty bits into a medium bowl. (You should have ~92g brown butter.) Stir in the cold milk and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Combine the dry ingredients: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk for a good 30-45 seconds to ensure the leaveners and spices are evenly distributed.
  • Combine the wet ingredients: Whisk the sugars into the butter-milk mixture until combined. Whisk in the egg yolk and vanilla until smooth. Add the sourdough discard and whisk until totally smooth.
  • Add the dry ingredients and chill the dough: Add the dry ingredients to the wet and use a flexible spatula to mix just until no streaks of flour remain. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until the dough is cool but still scoopable (it will be fairly soft).
  • Preheat the oven and prepare pans and cinnamon-sugar: While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 400F with a rack in the middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare the sugar coating by whisking together the granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  • Portion the dough: Portion the cookie dough into 10 equal golf-sized balls, about 47 grams each. Roll between hands into a smooth ball, then toss in sugar coating. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each with a bit more sugar coating.
  • Bake the cookies: Bake sheets one at a time for about 9 to 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cookies should be puffed and the tops starting to crack, but the centers should still look a little soft. After removing the pan, bang it a couple of times on the counter to help deflate the cookies and get that classic crinkled top. Cool cookies on the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
brown butter sourdough snickerdoodles

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3 thoughts on “Small batch brown butter sourdough snickerdoodles

    1. Hi — you can probably replace the cream of tartar and baking soda with baking powder although you will lose the signature snickerdoodle tang. I haven’t tested baking powder as a replacement so I’m not sure of the exact amount, but I would start with a 1/2 tsp (omit both the cream of tartar and baking soda). If you try please let me know how it goes!

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