Cocoa Brown Butter Sea Salt Shortbreads

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar*
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
flaky sea salt
  1. Brown your butter in a small pot on low to medium heat. When it's ready, you'll notice that the butter has a nutty aroma, with small browned flecks at the bottom. You'll want to make sure it is not burnt. (More detailed instructions on how to brown butter here). Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla. *Note on sugar: I think that the slightly coarser texture of Trader Joes Organic Brown Sugar adds the perfect amount of sable texture. The regular brown or white sugar you'd find at the grocery store is much finer and makes your cookies too sweet. Subtract about 1.5 tablespoons if you use regular sugar.
  2. Allow to cool to room temperature. Combine flour and baking soda In a large mixing bowl, and add butter and sugar mixture until thoroughly combined. Your dough should be just a bit on the dry side.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Scoop about 1/2 Tbs of dough and roll with your hands into slightly flattened mounds. Sometimes I find that very lightly misting your hands with water can help to shape the dough. Place each cookie about 1.5" apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt on each cookie to your liking.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes until set. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 18 cookies.