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Brown Butter Espresso Bear Cookies

Easy brown butter espresso bear cookies decorated with melted chocolate! These cookies are crispy yet soft, chewy, and are balanced with the perfect amount of salt. They can be made in one bowl with a hand whisk and rubber spatula, making these bear cookies an easy project for beginner bakers!

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Brown butter espresso bear cookies on a wire rack next to a vase of flowers

About these brown butter espresso bear cookies

This recipe was actually inspired by my mom! She loves chocolate chip cookies, but… without the chocolate chips. And I totally get it, because I prefer to have less chocolate in my cookies as well. So, I decided to make a chocolate chipless cookie recipe, but ~ zhuzh ~ it up by adding in brown butter and espresso powder.

The brown butter adds a bit of nuttiness to the cookie and the espresso brings in a very slight coffee flavor. The cookies are amazingly crisp yet chewy, and absolutely delicious. They were an extremely big hit with my family and friends. And honestly, they’re probably my favorite cookie recipe so far this 2023!

This recipe is extremely beginner-friendly, especially if you’re making character cookies for the first time! Making the cookie dough is simple—you can use one bowl, a hand whisk, and a rubber spatula. Shaping the cookie dough is quick and all the decorations are made with melted chocolate. So no fancy equipment is needed, making this a fun project for the weekend.

If you’re interested in other kawaii cookie recipes I have, check out these recipes!: Aang Sugar Cookies, BlueBEARy cookiesCoconut Ube Bear CookiesRed Velvet Bear CookiesStrawberry Kirby Sugar CookiesStrawBEARy Sugar CookiesBunny Sugar CookiesTeddy Bear Chocolate Chip CookiesKeroppi Matcha Sugar CookiesFrog Matcha Sugar CookiesSoft, Less Sweet Ube Sugar Cookie Bears (Dairy-Free!)Pig-Shaped Snickerdoodles (Vegan)Cat-Shaped Black Cocoa Cookies (Vegan), and Chick-Shaped Lemon Cookies.

Brown butter espresso bear cookies on a wire rack

FAQ

Can you make these gluten-free?

Absolutely! I recommend using 1:1 gluten-free flour.

Tips for baking and decorating

Properly measure the flour

I always like to measure my ingredients with a kitchen scale for consistent, accurate results. But if you’re measuring with cups, make sure you follow this tip: gently spoon in the flour into the cup until it’s full, then scrape the excess off using the back of a knife or offset spatula.

If you scoop the cup directly into the flour bag or container, the flour may get compacted, and you will be adding in more flour than necessary. On the other hand, if your flour is clumpy, you could be adding in chunks of flour into the cup with gaps in between them, possibly adding less flour than required. These instances can cause tougher or even really flat cookies, since the proper ratio of dry:wet ingredients isn’t met.

So, for best results, use a scale. If you don’t have one, gently spoon and level the flour into your measuring cup!

Chill the dough

After making the dough, cover the top with plastic wrap. Then, leave it in the fridge for about 30 minutes so the dough hardens up a bit. This will make shaping easier and also yield chewier cookies.

Shaping the dough

For each teddy bear cookie, you’ll want to use a small cookie scoop, or gather about 1 ½ tbsp of dough. Shape it into a ball and place it onto your lined baking tray. Repeat for about 14 more cookies, making sure you have some left over for the ears.

For the ears, take about 1/2 tsp of dough, and split it into two equally sized pieces. Roll into balls and place on the sides of the bears’ heads.

Achieving crackly cookies

To get the crackly top that these cookies have, you must bang the baking tray on the counter a little more than halfway through the baking time.

While the cookies are still puffy about 8 minutes into baking, take the tray out and hit it against the counter. Continue baking for another two minutes, bang the tray again, then bake until the edges are golden brown. This will cause the cookies to crack on top and deflate, yielding very chewy, thin, and crisp cookies.

Decorating with melted chocolate

You can use a piping bag, cookie scribe, or toothpick to add on the details.

First, use the white chocolate for the snouts and ears. Then, use dark or milk chocolate to add the eyes and nose. Lastly, use dye the white chocolate with pink food coloring for the blush.

When dying white chocolate, you’ll want to use oil-based food coloring or the chocolate will seize up and become lumpy. However, if you don’t have oil-based food coloring, you can try mixing in a tsp of neutral oil (canola, vegetable) at a time! The chocolate should come back together. Maaagic.

Storing the cookies

Store these cute bear cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week! 

I really hope you enjoy this recipe. If you make these cute teddy cookies, I’d love to see them. You can tag me at #bitesbybianca / @bitesbybianca on Instagram. Enjoy! 

If you’re interested in other kawaii cookie recipes I have, check out these recipes!: Aang Sugar Cookies, BlueBEARy cookiesCoconut Ube Bear CookiesRed Velvet Bear CookiesStrawberry Kirby Sugar CookiesStrawBEARy Sugar CookiesBunny Sugar CookiesTeddy Bear Chocolate Chip CookiesKeroppi Matcha Sugar CookiesFrog Matcha Sugar CookiesSoft, Less Sweet Ube Sugar Cookie Bears (Dairy-Free!)Pig-Shaped Snickerdoodles (Vegan)Cat-Shaped Black Cocoa Cookies (Vegan), and Chick-Shaped Lemon Cookies.

Brown butter espresso bear cookies on a wire rack

Brown Butter Espresso Bear Cookies

Bites by Bianca
Easy brown butter espresso bear cookies decorated with melted chocolate! They can be made in one bowl with a hand whisk and rubber spatula, making these bear cookies an easy project for beginner bakers!
These cookies are crispy, yet soft, chewy, and are balanced with the perfect amount of salt.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Chilling time 30 minutes
Total Time 59 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 15 cookies

Ingredients
  

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (150g)
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt

Wet ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick butter/8 tbsp)
  • cup brown sugar, packed (66g)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Decorations for face:

  • 3 tbsp white chocolate, melted
  • ½ tbsp milk or dark chocolate, melted
  • oil-based pink food coloring, see steps

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Now, brown the butter.
    In a saucepan over medium heat, add in all of the unsalted butter. Continuously stir with a whisk or rubber spatula.
    After the butter melts, it will begin to foam. Then, the foaming will stop and brown specks will start to form at the bottom of the pan. The color change will be fairly quick, so keep an eye on the butter. Remove the pan from heat once you smell a nutty aroma and the butter becomes golden brown.
    Transfer to a heat-safe bowl and let slightly cool.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the cooled, melted brown butter and both sugars until combined.
  • Add egg and vanilla extract to the mixture. Whisk until smooth.
  • Dump in all of the dry ingredients. Fold together using rubber spatula until no dry spots remains.
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let chill in fridge for 30 minutes. This will help the flour hydrate and firm up the butter, yielding chewier cookies. Plus, the dough will be much easier to handle when shaping the teddy bear cookies.
  • Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F/162°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper/silicone mat.
  • Use cookie scoop to gather dough (about 1.5 tablespoons each). Roll into a ball and place on lined baking sheet. This will be the bear's head. Repeat for about 14 more cookies, making sure you have leftover dough for the ears.
    For the ears, take about 1/2-1 tsp of dough (without any chocolate chips mixed into it), split it in two, and place on top left and right sides of the head. Repeat for other bears, spacing the cookies about 3 inches apart.
  • Bake for about 8 minutes. The cookies should have puffed centers.
    Take the trays out and immediately bang them onto the counter. This will cause the cookies to crack and deflate. Return to the oven and bake for another 2-3 minutes, then bang the tray on the counter one more time.
    Return the cookies back to the oven and bake for 2-4 more minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven, giving them one last final bang.
    Allow to cool on sheet for at least 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.

For the faces:

  • You can a piping bag, toothpick, or cookie scribe to add on the details. I used a piping bag for the and ears, eyes, and snout, then a scribe for the blush.
  • Use melted white chocolate to add the snouts and ears.
  • Use melted dark or milk chocolate to draw on the eyes and nose.
  • To the remaining white chocolate, add a drop of oil-based pink food coloring. Use this for the blush.
    If you don't have oil-based food coloring, then the chocolate will seize/become lumpy. To counter this, stir in a tsp of neutral oil (canola, vegetable) at a time, until it becomes smooth again.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
  • To make it gluten-free, sub in 1:1 gluten-free flour! 
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