ramadhan baking: brown butter buttons

Before I begin, here’s wishing all my Muslim readers Ramadhan Kareem, and may we have a blessed and most meaningful Ramadhan ahead!

We are well into our first week of the fasting month here in Singapore, and as always, baking (and blogging) usually takes a step back in this month, as schedules take a different turn, and the daily spreads of good food during iftar take on different palate sensations, most of which are not exactly in dire need of bakes. However, considering that this is the first year that I’ve decided not to conduct a Hari Raya (Eid ul’Fitri) cookie bakesale, I had received several e-mails over the past two weeks, requesting for cookie / cake recipes to try out either for Ramadhan or for the Hari Raya to come.

While I’m not exactly the go-to person when it comes to quintessential Hari Raya bakes (think pineapple tarts, biskut suji, kuih makmor), I do know that if there’s one thing almost synonymous to Hari Raya, it would be that quintessential festive ‘aroma’, more specifically that heavenly butter scent wafting through the air as we walk past Malay/Muslim homes busily baking away in the last week of Ramadhan. And when my mother exclaimed, “Smells like Raya!”, upon a batch of these cookies baking in the oven, I knew this would be perfect for the first installment of Ramadhan Baking.

When I was much younger, I always looked forward to the baking period during the last week(s) of Ramadhan. My two elder sisters would be pored over my mother’s thick handwritten recipe book, with the busy churning of our white Kenwood mixer in the background, while random toppers in the form of dried cherries, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate rice would be placed in small bowls, and colourful little paper cases lined up neatly on baking trays. More often than not, we would turn on the local Malay radio station for the Hari Raya songs they’d be playing, or if the deejay babble proved to be too annoying, the brother and I would don the annoying hat instead and sing what little songs we knew ad nauseam.

I’m not entirely sure whether it’s the fact that I was fasting, and with the omission of my taste sense, inadvertently everything smelled better, but thinking back on all the Hari Raya bakes, it had always been the baking aroma that was enticing, one that I actually looked forward to, interestingly more so than having a taste of the actual cookies. Baking these brown butter cookies definitely brought me back to those days filled with the festive air.

The key to that quintessential festive aroma, as I had learnt, lies in the amount of butter frolicking away in the batter, or in this case, the alluring nutty scent of butter slowly melting and browning over the gentlest touch of heat. Thanks to the browned butter, the resulting cookies had a crunchy texture with a grit of sandy and crumbly. They may not look like much, but trust me, if you love your cookies with a crunch, yet not too dry, then I assure you these will be a hit, just like it was in my household.

Nancy’s Brown Butter Buttons
(adapted from Flo Braker’s Baking for All Occasions)

225 grams butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup sugar

  1. Brown the butter: Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat, stirring carefully and heating until the mixture begins to brown. This takes about 8 – 10mins.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  3. Sift flour and baking soda into a medium-sized bowl, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the browned butter and vanilla. Stir in half the sugar, blending well, then stir in the remaining sugar.
  5. Add the flour in two additions, stirring until just combined each time.
  6. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow flour to absorb moisture.
  7. Form dough into small balls, about 1″ in diameter. Place about 1/2″ apart on baking sheet. Bake for 15 – 18mins, until cookies crack across the top and brown around the edges. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, before transfering onto wire rack.

36 thoughts on “ramadhan baking: brown butter buttons

  1. the mister

    VERY PRETTY PHOTOS, DEAR!😀

    And I so know what you mean. For me, the raya scents are the kuihs being baked as well as the smell of paint! Hehe…

    Can’t wait to see what Ramadhan and Raya will be like after we get our own place!😀

    Reply
    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Julie: Not a problem, sweetie. Yummy things ought to be shared!😉

      Wei-Wei: Hehe, thanks! Brown butter even smells heavenly!🙂

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Avanika: Haha, it’s chocolate sprinkles, but we call them chocolate rice here😛

      maameemoomoo: Thanks, dearie🙂 And yes, so far all the recipes I’ve tried from her turned out great!

  2. amy

    i could not help but conjure up images of the famous amos cookies as i read about the texture of these brown butter buttons! hahaha. i love my cookies chewyyyyy but my family likes it otherwise so this may prove to be just the perfect recipe to stop them from saying i bake too much for myself! i miss all the ‘malay’ food i got to eat during last year’s ramadhan, my tution kid’s mom was the best cook/baker everrrrrr. ah welllll.

    Reply
    1. ovenhaven Post author

      I’m a chewy fan as well, but this may just be the one of the few crunchy cookies I love! And yes, Ramadhan’s ironically the best period for all sorts of Malay dishes to come up. Just drop by any of the plenty Ramadhan bazaars, and you’re spoilt for choice😛

  3. wirinna

    Hi…It’s been quite a while since I last comment in your blog. Salam Ramadhan to you. I just got married and move to my new home – sadly, no oven yet. Looks like I have to wait till I gett my oven before attempting this little brown buttons.

    Reply
  4. kangli

    These sounds like a sure winner!! especially love butter cookies with some grit, it makes the whole munching experience a thousand times better. thanks for sharing this!🙂

    Reply
    1. ovenhaven Post author

      wirinna: Hi Wirinna, selamat berpuasa, and congrats on your wedding and new home! I’m sure you must be so thrilled to be celebrating Raya as a wife this year🙂 It’s okay, these brown buttons will wait patiently for your oven😛

      kangli: No problem! I’m always a fan of bakes with a deeper texture, and the sandy grit of these cookies definitely made the cut😀

  5. zarpandit

    woww it’s amazing..You’re Muslim?🙂 super! I had one more Muslim friends from around the world:) i’m happy:) We met with Ramadan 🙂 blessing of Ramadan🙂

    Reply
    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Elizabeth: Thanks, Elizabeth! And I’m totally won over by browned butter now😀

      zarpandit: Blessing of Ramadhan indeed! Yup, I’m Muslim. I just hopped on over to your blog, and you’ve got splendid photos🙂 Ramadhan Kareem to you!

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Thanks, Anh🙂 Puddings and other soft foods are great for Ramadhan! Especially since they’re kind to the stomachs after a whole day of fasting, plus they’re yummy too😛

  6. Sihan

    there’s always something magical and alluring about the sound of browned butter. Simple recipe and I’m sure must carry quite a kick to it. Happy Ramadhan Kareem to you!

    Reply
    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Browned butter has definitely won me over! Thanks for the wish, sweetie. I bet the Ramadhan ambiance over there must be so different from here! Wish I could drop by there in the near future🙂

  7. norza

    i nvr baked in all my entire existence until recently. im struggling to get my cookies and cakes right and hope i can bake my own raya cookies one day. for now, at least they dont give anyone ceretberet. hehe.

    Reply
    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Well that’s a good start, isn’t it? Hehe😛 I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it soon, and insyaAllah perhaps this year you can bake your own Raya cookies already🙂

  8. Gil

    I baked these today, as I was looking for simple and crunchy cookies. This was the first time I treid baking butter cookies at all.
    Changed the vanilla extract with a real vanilla pod, and I loved the crumbly texture and butter-y flavour. Those are very good, so thank you for sharing.

    By the way, forgive my cliche`, but I’m Jewish and find great comfort in knowing that we can all get along when it comes to the /real/ important things in life – wondeful food!

    Ramadan Karim.

    Reply
    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Thanks for dropping by, Gil. Glad to hear you enjoyed these cookies! I definitely loved the texture, and am already planning to give them a revisit in the next couple of days. And yes, food brings people from different walks of life together!

  9. shaffy

    these cookies, and also your peanut butter sandies, are what my visitors will find in the pretty little bottles when the come a-visitin’ during Eid. fast-to-make, good-to-eat and definitely fast-to-finish too!

    Reply
  10. Pingback: Brown Butter Buttons « Juni's FoodBlog

  11. Pingback: ramadhan baking: kuih bakar « :: epicurean escapism ::

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