Brown Butter Cookie Company

History of their Sea Salt Cookie

Brown Butter Cookie Company’s sea salt-sprinkled shortbread cookies have remained a popular Central Coast treat for more than a decade. Beloved for their rich combination of sweet and salty flavors, the cookie craze first began in the coastal town of Cayucos before spreading across the world. The sister-owned business owes its success to their signature “sea salt cookie,” which debuted in December of 2008 at Brown Butter Cookie Company’s flagship gourmet market in downtown Cayucos. The unique melt-in-your-mouth treat sold out quickly, inspiring the sisters to build an entire business around their single iconic recipe. Today, locals and visitors alike can savor this local delicacy for themselves at multiple Central Coast locations as well as online. What you’ll taste is the same famous recipe that started it all: The sisters have yet to change their tried-and-true shortbread recipe, a crowd-pleaser among young and old. That said, Brown Butter Cookie Company has released additional flavors over the years alongside its original “butter” offering, including citrus, cocoa and coconut-lime. It’s no wonder that these melt-in-your-mouth treats garnered initial media attention from The New York Times, Sunset Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Gourmet Weekly, Westways Magazine, Rachel Ray and The Today Show. 

Founded by sisters Traci and Christa Hozie–who also own the Cass House in Cayucos–Brown Butter Cookie Company has expanded to include bustling retail locations in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. In the mood for a salty sweet snack unique to the California Central Coast? Head to the charming Cayucos flagship location and production facility, where you can smell the butter browning, savor a warm-from-the-oven sample and marvel at the work that goes into each buttery bite. You might be surprised to learn that the sisters’ cookie production is quite labor-intensive, as the company rejects machine automation in favor of a more human approach. To this day, Brown Butter Cookie Company’s delicious dough is hand-portioned and rolled one scoop at a time. While you can enjoy their signature brown butter cookies by ordering online anywhere in the world, the brand’s traditional cookies and honey cookie offerings are best enjoyed the day they are baked and are therefore available in-store only. If you needed a few good excuses to make a beeline for the Cayucos cookie mainstay, we’re here to help!

Why is it called Brown butter?

Why is it called “brown butter?” Well, the recipe is exactly what it sounds like: the cookie butter is carefully browned on a stovetop before it’s mixed in with the rest of the ingredients. This adds a rich, deep, complex flavor profile to the crumbly shortbread offering. Starting with this spectacular dough, it makes sense how adding a sprinkle of salt alongside select additional flavors could elevate the cookies to new heights of “yum.”

What are the most popular cookies?


Brown Butter Cookie Company’s beloved Original Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookie is the most popular offering by far. The combined browned butter and brown sugar give each bite a richness and depth of flavor that leads your tastebuds searching for another bite. Before you do, however, your palate is sure to recognize the surprisingly sublime addition of flaky sea salt, which balances out the cookie’s sweetness with a savory touch.


A semi-sweet cocoa flavor and more delicate texture give Brown Butter Cookie Company’s Cocoa Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookies a sophisticated allure. A generous portion of Scharffen Berger all natural cocoa powder goes into each batch, giving these cookies a luxurious crumbly feel that gives way to fruity-chocolate bliss. Flecks of the brand’s signature sea salt–contrasting visually against the cookie’s dark brown color–tames the sweetness.


Almond fans will endlessly enjoy Brown Butter Cookie Company’s Almond Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookie, showcasing layers of sinful richness. A classically appealing almond flavor paired with a modest sea salt sprinkle allows a new dimension of nuttiness and creamy texture to rise to the fore. Close your eyes and experience the beautiful scent of almond flour as you discover bite after bite of pure pleasure.


Awaken your taste buds with a one-two punch of brown butter and finely ground fresh espresso. Bolstered by a touch of Scharffen Berger all natural cocoa powder and a touch of cinnamon, savor earthy and sweet flavors offset by a sprinkling of sea salt. Be careful, as this might become your new morning tradition. These cookies are fabulous when paired with a hot cup of Joe!

Cocoa Mint

Cool mint meets luxurious cocoa in these compelling Cocoa Mint Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookies. Composed of Cup4Cup gluten-free flour, sweet white rice flour, and dark brown sugar, this dynamic treat showcases a delightful texture that belies their gluten-free ranking. Scharffen Berger all natural cocoa powder comes together with two gluten-free flours to deliver a comforting taste akin to chocolate milk. All the white, peppermint extract and a touch of sea salt adds a refreshingly unique tingle.


With a flavor reminiscent of the classic red cinnamon gum many of us remember chewing during childhood, Cinnamon Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookies have a way of inspiring a cozy vibe with each nibble. Featuring three heaping tablespoons of cinnamon in each recipe and a sprinkle of sea salt, these treats are as nostalgic as they are delicious. Plus, as you might imagine, they make fabulous holiday treats.

The Locations


The Brown Butter Cookie Company flagship location, a.k.a. The “big  red  building” situated in downtown Cayucos at  98  N. Ocean Ave, is where all the famous Brown Butter Cookie Co. cookies are made fresh each day. Opening at 9 a.m. daily, you can watch the cookies as they are rolled and baked, try a sample or pick up a bag to go. Simply follow your nose and the scent of browned butter.

Paso Robles

Located in Paso Robles’ historic  Acorn Building at 801 12th  Street, Brown Butter Cookie Company’s sister location is open for business at 11 a.m daily. Operating in the heart of Paso Robles near quaint Downtown City Park, this popular retail location has remained a sweet tradition in Northern San Luis Obispo County since 2013.

San Luis Obispo

Nestled in downtown San Luis Obispo on the corner of Osos and Monterey Streets, Brown Butter Cookie Company’s newest location has been part of “SLO’s” dynamic boutique shopping scene since 2919. Opening daily at 10 a.m., this popular tourist destination is ground zero for all things salty sweet.

Nearby and Noteworthy

Downtown Cayucos

A trip to Brown Butter Cookie Company is incomplete without a leisurely stroll in downtown Cayucos, where antique stores, ocean views and seabirds await. After enjoying a few salty-sweet cookies, take a walk to the nearby Cayucos Pier, where you can cast a line in the surf or just take in the rolling waves. Plan ahead and hop in a kayak and paddle out. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, including seals, otters, seabirds and more.


Nestled between Cambria to the north and Cayucos to the south, the unique dairy town-turned artist’s alcove of Harmony is a fairytale dream delightfully out of step with the modern world. Grab a whimsical photo opp at the town’s tiny chapel, where couples still say “I do.” This quaint hamlet isn’t just known for its marvelously minuscule proportions (the population 18 if you count the cows). You’ll also discover glass blowers creating red hot wares, a local ice cream truck and nearby wine tasting, too!