The Flavorful Ingredient You Should Be Adding To Cookie Pie Crusts

When making pies, traditional pastry crusts may be the classic option, but they can be time-consuming and difficult to make. More than that, they can be a little basic. This is why many people opt instead for cookie crusts. The most classic cookie crust is graham cracker, which is featured in cheesecake recipes, though not exclusively. For chocolate pies, an Oreo crust is always a welcome addition, and to really drive home the fall flavors of pumpkin pie, try using gingersnap cookies. 

The moral of the story is that any type of cookie can be used for a no-bake pie crust — all you need to do is finely crush and grind your cookies and add butter until you can form it into a mold. From there, set the crust in the fridge until it's sturdy enough to hold its shape, and add your filling. However, there's one slight variation that can make all the difference in your cookie crust's flavor.

Browned butter

The only two ingredients you need to make a delicious cookie crust are cookies, of course, and butter. While simply melting your butter and stirring it into the ground cookies is fine, you could go a step further by browning it.

Browned butter is exactly what it sounds like — butter cooked past the point of melting so that it has a slightly browned color. More than that, though, it has a very potent nutty, almost caramel-like flavor that can do a lot to enhance the flavor of your cookie crust. Use browned butter in pies that would benefit from the rich nuttiness, like a chocolate pie with a chocolate cookie crust, or a pecan pie with any number of cookie crusts. You could also help balance out brighter, tarter flavors in fruit pies with browned butter in a graham cracker crust.

The process is pretty simple, and a great skill for beginner bakers and cooks. All you need is butter and something to heat it in slowly, as well as something to stir it with. Cutting the butter up into small chunks helps it melt evenly. 

Pop the butter in your pan on medium heat. Continuously stir the butter as it melts to prevent milk solids from clumping and burning. The butter will get foamy before browning. The whole process should take five to 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn the butter. Once it reaches a golden-brown shade, mix it into your cookie crust and enjoy the elevated flavor profile.