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Browned Butter Lemon Cornmeal Cookies with Macadamia Nuts: Delicious but lower in sugar and extra crunchy from cornmeal as well as the nuts, these cookies are absolutely addictive!

Browned Butter Lemon Cookies with Macadamia Nuts

Adapted from Joanne Chang. This dough requires chilling, so plan ahead. Note that prep and cook times do not include chilling time.

I think any nut that sounds good to you could work well here. Chang's recipe used pistachios, which would be lovely with the lemon (I was out, but we adored the macadamia nuts).

Course Dessert
Cuisine Cookies
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Author TheSpicedLife


For cookies:

  • 1 cup (230 g, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 2 T lemon zest (you can also sub a little lemon oil- I used zest of 1 lemon and maybe 1/16 t lemon oil)
  • 1 T vanilla bean paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups (280 g) AP flour
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) medium-fine grain stone ground cornmeal
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t kosher sea salt

For rolling the cookie dough balls in:

  • 1/4 cup turbinado/raw cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped roasted and salted macadamia nuts


  1. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. Now brown the butter.If you have not browned butter before, I describe it in more detail here. Then pour it into a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar. When it is cool enough to dip your finger in (it can still be hot, just not burning hot), whisk in the lemon zest (or oil). Whisk in the vanilla bean paste.
  3. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Whisk briskly to make sure the ingredients are emulsified (blended together completely without the butter fat separating).
  4. Now switch to a rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture one third at a time, mixing completely each time. When the dough is completely mixed together, press wax paper or plastic wrap down on the dough and then cover the bowl and chill for at least one hour or overnight (I always prefer overnight but in this case I was rushed and chilled for 1-2 hours).
  5. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Whisk together the chopped macadamia nuts and sugar in a flat bowl.
  6. This recipe makes 24 cookies. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Using a 2-tablespoon cookie dough scoop, scoop out the cookie dough, roll briefly into a smooth ball, and then roll each ball in the sugar-nut mixture, pressing lightly to adhere the nuts. Then lightly flatten the ball while still in the sugar and nuts--this will adhere them even further. Then move the ball to the cookie sheet. This cookie should not spread much, so you can get 12 cookies to a sheet, placing them 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake both sheets at once--they will bake for a total of 15-18 minutes, but you should rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back after 9 minutes.
  8. The cookies are done when they start to brown along their edges.
  9. Remove the sheets from the oven, and let the cookies cool for 5-10 minutes on the cookie sheets. Then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.