Corn Nut Brittle and Brown Butter Cookies

MAKES: 12-14

If ever a cookie has towed the line between sweet and savory, it’s this one. This cookie is hard to put into words but trust that it will change your outlook on cookies forever. The overnight rest is highly recommended, as it will enhance flavor, but if you can’t wait that long, just be sure the dough chills or freezes long enough to become very cold and hard. If you put soft cookie dough into the oven, the cookies will spread too quickly and lose their shape. The other important note is that these must be baked at 350, and not any lower, for the proper spread–they contain a lot of sugar thanks to the toffee and a low oven temperature will yield a very melty, large cookie. If you don’t have an oven thermometer it is an invaluable investment!

Active Time: 35 Mins

Total Time: 55 mins, plus chilling

Screenshot 2023-09-15 at 6.13.59 PM


  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 ¼ cups (100 g) corn nuts
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups (168 g) all purpose flour
  • ½ cup (75 g) medium grind cornmeal
  • 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • Flaky salt, for sprinkling


  • 12 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided


  • 1 large egg











































1. Brown the butter:

  • Cut 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter into 1” pieces. Place the butter in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan until the butter melts, and then whisking the melted butter frequently as it cooks, until the milk solids turn dark brown and the butter smells nutty, 5-7 minutes.
  • Pour the brown butter into a large bowl, scraping the bottom of the pan to make sure you get all the yummy bits in there. Stir in 1 large or two small ice cubes ( it will sizzle!) until melted. Let cool to room temperature while you prep the rest.

2. Make the corn nut brittle:

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • To that same saucepan, add ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons water, and 3 tablespoons (43 g) unsalted butter. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula until the butter has melted and the mixture comes to a simmer.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high, and at this point, remove the spatula and stop stirring. Simmer, swirling the pot over the burner every minute or so to help even out the cooking, and keeping a close eye on it–the mixture will get thick and viscous and eventually start to darken in color. Once the mixture turns a rich orangey amber color, remove the pot from the heat. In total this should take 5-7 minutes.
  • Immediately stir in 1¼ cups corn nuts (using the rubber spatula) until well coated. Be careful it will be hot! Once incorporated, stir in ¾ teaspoons baking soda, and ¾ teaspoons salt until well combined. You’ll see the mixture turn slightly darker in color and get foamy–that’s what you want. Immediately scrape the mixture out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet in a thin layer. It will harden as it cools so work quickly! Set aside to cool.

3. Make the dough:

  • Now that the brown butter has cooled and is still liquid, whisk in ¾ cup granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, and whisk until combined, 1 minute.
  • Crack in one egg and whisk to combine, the mixture should thicken and turn paler in color. Next add 1¼ cups (168 g) all purpose flour, ½ cup (75 g) cornmeal, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, and 1¼ teaspoons salt.
  • Once the brittle has cooled, break off half of it, transfer to a cutting board and chop into pea-sized pieces. Stir the pieces into the cookie dough with a spatula.
  • Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Working with a 2 ounce ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measure, portion out the cookie dough, rolling into balls as you go and transferring to the baking sheet–you can crowd them at this point, they’re going to get spaced out before they bake, this is purely where they will chill.
  • Cover lightly with plastic wrap and transfer the baking sheet to the fridge to chill, at least 3 hours, and ideally overnight.
  • Keep the remaining corn nut brittle sealed in an airtight container overnight.

4. Bake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange the cookies on the baking sheets, evenly spread out.
  • Break the remaining corn nut brittle into 1” chunks, and place a few chunks on top of each cookie ball. You may not need all of it–the rest is for snacking!
  • Bake, rotating the sheets from top to bottom halfway through, until the cookies are golden at the edges, wrinkled and just set in the center, 15-17 minutes.
  • Pull the cookies out of the oven and forcefully slam the cookie sheet down on the counter top (this will help encourage wrinkles, as it deflates the cookies, making them chewier and less cakey.) At this point you will notice some of them are misshapen due to the melted brittle. That's okay you can reshape them now! While still hot, use a rubber spatula to nudge the edges of any unshapely cookies back into a more perfect circular form.
  • While still warm, sprinkle the tops with flaky sea salt. Serve warm, or room temperature, and note that these are especially good with vanilla ice cream! Just saying!!!

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