Browned-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

BrownedButterCCC

08 Jul Browned-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - TheMessyBaker.com

A while ago I solicited recipes for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. A lot of suggestions rolled in. Conflicting opinions on walnuts, oatmeal and chefs flew through cyberspace. Some people loved Alton Brown’s recipe. Others called it “cakey” and touted the ever-popular David Lebovitz. Thomas Keller’s name cropped up frequently, while a small but vocal group swore on their grandmother’s baking pans that Cook’s Illustrated’s browned butter version was the best. Make that The Very Best. Ever.

So I did some research into the various options. Some recipes called for chopped chocolate. But with chips readily available that just seemed like extra work. Other recipes used bread flour, which I don’t stock. So I nixed them. Many demanded an extra yolk. Needless to say, I was a little put off by this requirement since I hate wasting food and never know what to do with an extra white. Two or three? Make meringues. But one?

However, I adore browned butter and hunted down the Cook’s Illustrated recipe. Even though it called for that pesky extra yolk, it used ordinary flour and included my beloved walnuts. So I was willing to sacrifice some albumin for the cause. Then I read the instructions. “Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny.” Was this some kind of joke? They’re cookies. Mix, drop, bake, eat.

Browning the butter was as much extra work as I was willing to do, so I made up my own version. No extra yolk. No carefully timed beating. Because of the hot butter they require some refrigeration, but I figure I can workout during this time. You know, I’ll firm up while the dough firms up. Mutual support and all that rot.

The verdict? Browned-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies have a lovely caramel undertone and an unusual crunchiness that is hard to describe. Are they the best ever? No. But they’re pretty darned good and a nice change of pace.

Am I the only one put off by recipes that call for  extra yolks? How do you feel about recipes that use more than one kind of flour or an unusual ingredient you’ll never use again? What are you willing or not willing to do when it comes to cookies?

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - TheMessyBaker.com

Browned-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Baked Goods
Prep / inactive time: 
Cook / active time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
 
Browned butter adds depth to the classic chocolate chip cookie.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cups butter
  • ¾ cups packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, add extra chocolate chips if you prefer)
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, gently swirl the pot and continue to cook until the butter has browned. (The butter is finished when it has turned dark amber and smells nutty.)
  2. Put the brown and granulated sugars into a medium-sized bowl. Pour the hot browned butter over the sugars, and stir until completely dissolved. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts, if using. Refrigerate for at least an hour or even overnight.
  4. A good half hour before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. While the oven heats, let the dough come to room temperature.
  5. Drop a heaping tablespoon of dough onto the baking sheet, leaving two inches between cookies to allow for spread. (Note: If the dough doesn't spread while cooking, flatten the cookies a bit before baking. How cold the dough is can affect how much the dough spreads.)
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are done around the edges but the middle is still soft. Leave the cookies on the pan for 2 minutes or until you are able to transfer the cookie off the sheet without it falling apart. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Notes
Using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop works really well with this recipe. Cookies will be a consistent size and bake evenly.

 

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36 Comments
  • Mary Luz
    Posted at 15:07h, 08 July Reply

    These look delicious- I’m going to have to try them out on the nieces and nephew. And yes, an extra egg yolk is bothersome unless you’re into small, egg white omelttes?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:34h, 09 July Reply

      @Mary Luz, good call. But not being into small egg white omlettes I’ll stick to 2 whole eggs instead. Hope your nieces and nephews enjoy them.

  • Linda Formichelli
    Posted at 15:23h, 08 July Reply

    Charmian, all I can say is — yum! I love making cookies and will have to try these. And you may like my favorite recipe for Chocolate Lover’s Oatmeal Delights! I replace the peanut butter chips the recipe calls for with dark chocolate chips. Let me know if you’d like the recipe.
    .-= Linda Formichelli´s last blog ..Contact Linda =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:35h, 09 July Reply

      @Linda Formichelli, you know I’d love the recipe. I adore oatmeal and chocolate so am more than happy to give your favourite recipe a try. Thanks so much for the offer!

      • Linda Formichelli
        Posted at 20:42h, 09 July Reply

        @Charmian Christie, Here you go! Wish I remembered where I got it. BTW, it’s supposed to cool down tomorrow so I may make these brown butter cookies.

        Chocolate Lover’s Oatmeal Delights

        1 1/4 all-purpose flour
        1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
        1/2 teaspoon baking soda
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        1 cup butter, softened
        1 1/2 cups sugar
        1 egg
        1/4 cup water
        1 teaspoon vanilla
        3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
        1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
        1 cup peanut butter flavored pieces (I just use more chocolate chips instead)

        1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

        2. In a very large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.

        3. Add the sugar and beat mixture until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, water, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can.

        4. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture and the rolled oats. Stir in chocolate pieces and peanut butter flavored pieces.

        5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are set. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool. Makes 48 cookies.
        .-= Linda Formichelli´s last blog ..Contact Linda =-.

        • Charmian Christie
          Posted at 14:05h, 10 July Reply

          @Linda Formichelli, thanks so much for this. I’m going to a family reunion today and this sounds like the kind of cookie everyone would love!

  • Lora
    Posted at 01:23h, 09 July Reply

    Good question. I think I’m more likely to go with the unusual ingredient or recipe if I’ve tasted the product in advance. For example, following a restaurant’s cookbook or a friend’s recipe. The uniqueness must outweigh my inconvenience. Otherwise, no.

    What’s the rationale for the whipping and resting? Does it change the final texture somehow? I imagine Cook’s provided a reason (knowing them)?
    .-= Lora´s last blog ..Beat the Heat in Seattle- Wading pools- beaches and more =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:38h, 09 July Reply

      @Lora, I agree. I’ll try unusual ingredients if I have an idea of how the dish will turn out. Good observation.

      Not sure about the rationale behind whipping and resting. I located only the recipe and not the long lead-in explanation. Cook’s Illustrated is great at explaining their techniques, but sometimes the extra work isn’t worth the effort. I suspect this might be one such case.

      Anyone know differently? I’d love to hear how the whipping/resting makes a difference.

  • Andrea the Kitchen Witch
    Posted at 10:01h, 09 July Reply

    You can always use the extra egg white for velveting chicken for stir fry :) check out my blog if you’d like to see the recipe :)

    Recipes that call for unusual ingredients are A-ok by me :) that just means I get to play around with new flavors & textures. I might buy an ingredient for a specific dish but it’ll end up in other things, too.

    As far as cookies go, I’m like you, mix, drop, bake, feast. Much more than that and I’m very uninterested. I’ll get all sorts of creative on other things but cookies, I like them pretty basic. Having said that, these sound out of this world delicious!! I love browned butter, I can only imagine the depth of flavor that the chocolate chip cookies get from simply browning the butter :)
    .-= Andrea the Kitchen Witch´s last blog ..Zucchini and Ricotta galette =-.

  • Alison
    Posted at 17:47h, 09 July Reply

    I really do think the Cooks Illustrated ones are the best ever. The mixing/resting times are for developing the toffee flavors or something like that. It sounds funny but the batter really does change a lot when you do it, and it doesn’t require much more active time. Soooooo good though. I like to use the super dark Ghirardelli chips, especially because they’re larger than your typical Toll House or generic brand.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:56h, 10 July Reply

      @Alison, thanks for the clarification. And I guess it really doesn’t take the much time. But I’m just sooo impatient when it comes to cookies.

      I’ll give the “real” recipe a try. Not sure I can get the Ghiradelli chips readily here, but I’ll keep an eye out for them. Super dark and extra big sounds like the perfect chocolate chip!

  • susan
    Posted at 19:15h, 09 July Reply

    I agree! Brown butter on everything!
    .-= susan´s last blog ..Strawberry Muffins =-.

  • Linda Formichelli
    Posted at 23:29h, 09 July Reply

    Just made the browned butter chocolate chip cookies — yes, at 11 pm! Very good! My first two pans came out kind of lump-shaped — they didn’t spread out. But I think it may have been the cookie sheets I used, as the third pan looked more cookie-shaped. (I used three different types of cookie sheets; I did refrigerate the dough between batches, so warmed dough is probably not the reason.) I left out the walnuts (I love them but I’m not sure they’re safe for toddlers) and used 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips. The cookies have a nice undertone of browned butter. Yummy — thanks for the recipe!
    .-= Linda Formichelli´s last blog ..Contact Linda =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:58h, 10 July Reply

      @Linda Formichelli, thanks for the feedback, Linda. Mine spread (as you can see). I’m learning that cookie sheets and ovens can make a big difference. I also cook using convection, which shouldn’t make a difference to anything but efficiency, but I do wonder if it changes other aspects.

      • Linda Formichelli
        Posted at 14:01h, 10 July Reply

        @Charmian Christie, Yes, yours look great! I was wondering if my oven runs hot so the cookies cook before they have a chance to spread out. Maybe next time I should try 325? Does that make any sense to try?
        .-= Linda Formichelli´s last blog ..Contact Linda =-.

        • Charmian Christie
          Posted at 16:26h, 10 July Reply

          @Linda Formichelli, there are a couple of factors that might be at play here. Chilled dough tends to spread less. Try letting the balls of dough come up to room temperature before baking and see if they spread more.

          If your oven does run hot, which makes for a firmer, crisper cookie, then try reducing the temperature. This will help the cookies spread, but too low an oven and they’ll just ooze. If you suspect your oven runs hot, buy an oven thermometer and test it first.

          I think the day I made these the kitchen was warm and the dough chilled only for an hour, so came up to room temp quickly. That might be the difference.

          Good luck — and I made your chocolate delights today. Thanks for the recipe. They’re cooling right now. Then it’s off to the reunion where lots of kids will weigh in on the recipe. I think it’s mighty tasty myself!

  • Linda Formichelli
    Posted at 23:30h, 09 July Reply

    I forgot to mention that I really liked the way the dough was super easy to scoop (I use a cookie scoop) after being chilled — much better than typical sticky cookie dough.
    .-= Linda Formichelli´s last blog ..Contact Linda =-.

  • Linda Formichelli
    Posted at 23:36h, 09 July Reply

    I must be really tired…I completely forgot that I flattened the third batch with my hand before putting them in the oven — that’s why they came out more cookie-shaped. Thanks again for the recipe!
    .-= Linda Formichelli´s last blog ..Contact Linda =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:59h, 10 July Reply

      @Linda Formichelli, Thanks for all the feedback. I didn’t have to flatten mine, but will add a note to the recipe in case others find the same issue.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 12:32h, 12 July Reply

    I could never be bothered to try that original recipe. When I want cookies I want them now! Plus, I’m cooking with two little ones eager to pour, stir, and taste. You think I’m impatient?
    .-= Cheryl Arkison´s last blog ..Aside =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:15h, 13 July Reply

      Nice to know I’m not alone on this one! I might make the original recipe just to see if the waiting makes a difference, but to me cookies are all about immediate gratification. I eat the raw dough while the first batch cooks. :-)

  • jodi (bloomingwriter)
    Posted at 20:21h, 13 July Reply

    Hmmm. Never tried a recipe with browned butter. I like my chocolate chip cookie recipe, which has oatmeal, dried cranberries, pecans, and as many chocolate chips as I can get into the dough. And butter. None of that margarine crap. I say the oatmeal and cranberries counteract the butter. My story and I’m stickin’ to it. Like cat hair to lavender. :-)
    .-= jodi (bloomingwriter)´s last blog ..Blessedbee the pollinators at work =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:09h, 13 July Reply

      Mmmm. Butter. I’m with you on the no margarine front. I hope you use that gorgeous Kitchen Aid stand mixer of yours.

      And I think the phrase “I’m sticking to it like lavender to cat hair” could catch on. Thanks for the smile.

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 12:25h, 14 July Reply

    I’m with you on this one too, Charmian – I immediately reject recipes with bread or cake flour since I don’t stock or use either and I know I’ll never use it up. I suppose we could be missing out on some wonderful recipes because of this, but as far as chocolate chip cookies go, I like my old fashioned, plain and simple recipe best.

    The widowed egg white would be less of a problem for me … I’d scramble it and eat it as a snack!
    .-= The Diva on a Diet´s last blog ..Quick Chicken Tostadas Give-away Winner =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 17:36h, 15 July Reply

      Funny how I can fuss over a cake recipe but demand my cookies simple. Glad I’m not alone on this one. Think I’ll try the Cook’s Illustrated version, despite the fuss, once the wedding is over and I’m not as frazzled. Who knows? If it’s as good as they say, I might have to eat a little crow along with my chocolate chip treats.

  • Sophie
    Posted at 14:07h, 18 July Reply

    MMMMMMMMMMMM,..these cookies look awesome, my friend!!

    My mouth is watering,…
    Many kisses from Brussels to you!!!
    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..Sophies chilled melon &amp cucumber soup with a radish &amp minted topping =-.

  • Debbie S.
    Posted at 11:10h, 24 July Reply

    These chocolate chip cookies look devine! I am gonna make these and follow the mixing directions to the letter. Just to see if it really makes a difference. I hate the fact that you have to let the dough chill though. Too long to wait!
    I agree with the Ghiradelli chocolate chips. They are the best. I buy them in Niagara Falls at the bargain store beside the No Frills. They also carry the Ghiradelli Pure Cocao. Next time we go, I’ll pick up some for you.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:41h, 31 July Reply

      @Debbie S., let me know how the cookies turn out. And believe me, waiting for the dough to chill is a KILLER. I ate half the batter while ti cooled.

      Thanks for the tip about Ghiradelli chips and the offer to pick some up for me. That’s extremely kind of you. I can’t wait to try them.

  • Barbara | Creative Culinary
    Posted at 11:52h, 19 September Reply

    I just made some cookies and the original recipe called for bread flour and that one egg yolk. I did it all but modified a bit from other recipe with brown butter and molasses and chilling. So…not a quick or easy task but the results were amazing. Really, the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had!

  • Jessie
    Posted at 11:14h, 03 September Reply

    I tried making these and the sugar wouldn’t dissolve, i really want to make them! Any tips?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:54h, 03 September Reply

      I’m not sure why the sugars didn’t dissolve. Was your brown sugar soft to begin with? Hard brown sugar can be fixed with a few seconds in the microwave. I assume you poured the butter onto the sugar while the butter was still hot?

      Once you pour the hot butter on the sugar, keep stirring to dissolve the sugar. It might take a minute or two. If that doesn’t work, add the vanilla and room temperature egg and stir until the sugar is smooth. It should work as long as you measured accurately. Don’t worry too much if the sugar isn’t silky smooth. The dough gets refrigerated so it firms up and the sugar and butter reset a bit.

      Good luck with this.

  • Catherine
    Posted at 20:32h, 29 March Reply

    I like using bread flour to make brownies – it seems to make them more chewy.

    Why can’t all cookies use melted and browned butter? I hate using mixers!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:28h, 29 March Reply

      Bread flour would definitely make the brownies more chewy. I’d love that.

      I wrote this post before I had a decent sized pantry and space was a huge issue. No room for multiple types of flour. I now stock some bread flour and should use it for more non-bread recipes. Thanks for the reminder!

      Most cookies don’t need a stand mixer, although I find I use mine a lot more because of my wonky wrist! I haven’t tried browned butter in other recipes, but an now wondering what it would do in oatmeal… Oooooh. That’s a thought!!!

      • Catherine
        Posted at 09:08h, 30 March Reply

        I don’t even have a stand mixer, only a regular one. I am very low tech. I don’t have the room for one.

        Wonder what difference there is in just using butter, melted, and not creamed as in the Chocolate Lover’s Oatmeal cookie recipe above. I am always looking for simplicity in recipes. Made a Cowboy Cookie recipe from Homesick Texan site that was pretty tasty.

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