Browned Butter Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

I told you this would happen. After one taste of browned butter cookies, I am a believer and an addict. Earlier in the month I had made what I thought were the best sugar cookies ever, that had fresh vanilla beans and Martha’s technique on the perfect sugar glaze. Those taste like sardines compared to these browned butter vanilla bean sugar cookies.

Last Monday I organized a bake sale at work with my friends Sarah and Allie to benefit the Cookies for Kids Cancer organization. I had participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap earlier in the month which benefitted the charity, and with my devoted sugar-addict coworkers I knew we could raise some serious cash money with a holiday bake sale. In just one day, we raised $2,500 thanks to the 34 bakers that donated over 1,000 cookies and all the very supportive coworkers who came out to buy cookies and make donations. I have a lot of fun photos at the end of this post from the day.

I made these browned butter vanilla bean sugar cookies along with browned butter chocolate chip cookies and chocolate dipped cranberry orange shortbread as my contributions to the bake sale. I have to say these went pretty quickly, and for good reason. I highly recommend you bake up a batch of these.


  • 14 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Step 1: In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Whisk constantly as it cooks. It will get really foamy at one point and start to turn dark golden brown with a nice nutty aroma. Remove from the heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Set aside and let it cool for 15 minutes.


Step 2: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Step 3: Cream together the cooled butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Reserve two tablespoons of granulated and light brown sugars for rolling later. Scrape the insides of the vanilla beans and add to the mixture, discarding the pods.

Step 4: Add in the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Step 5: Mix the remaining two tablespoons of granulated sugar and two tablespoons of brown sugar in a separate bowl. Using a medium-cookie scoop, roll even size balls of dough lightly in granulated sugar and place on sil-pat or parchment-lined baking sheets. Press the cookie down lightly with your finger tips.


Step 6: Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes. Let these cool on a cooling rack before taste testing.






Seriously, so so good. I cannot explain to you just how different this flavor is from a normal sugar cookie. You will just have to try it for yourself.

Now, on to the recap of last week’s bake sale. First, I had amazing co-organizers, Allie and Sarah. We planned this event in just under two weeks, with no detail left unattended. We had spreadsheets on spreadsheets on spreadsheets. Over 45 people volunteered to help bake cookies and work the day of the bake sale. One of the designers Michelle made an awesome promotional poster that we plastered all over the office.

Here’s a sampling of some of the variety of homemade baked goods contributed by the Sapient Boston crew!





We had a giant jar for cash donations that was filled to the brim with over $1,200 in cash by the end of the day!


Also, because we’re a company built on innovation, we set up a laptop for credit card donations, and raised over $1,300 from non-cash donations during the event. Bringing our total to $2,585! The Glad Company matches 100% so we raised over $5,000 in just one day.

Sean and I were super excited to be manning the laptop pay station.



Our sugar-lovin’ coworkers swarmed the bake sale as soon as it opened and filled bags with first dibs on the baked goods. Look how excited Matt and Michelle (our poster-creating designer) are for cookies!


There were just a few cookie left over at 4pm, so we repurposed the weekly beer cart to be a milk and cookies cart, delivering cookies for donations right to people’s desks.


Such a fun day for a great cause and such a successful event. And I could not have done it without my awesome co-organizers Sarah and Allie!


Safe travels to everyone traveling home for the holidays. I am already back in the ghetto of Southern Connecticut hoping that I made Santa’s nice list this year!