Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
You haven’t had a chocolate chip cookie until you’ve had a brown butter chocolate chip cookie.
Warning: These brown butter chocolate chip cookies will make your clothes shrink.
So, we made it to the final recipe in Christmas Cookie Palooza. I’ve seen about 4857029145 cookies go in and out of my oven this past month. Kevin’s coworkers have never been more well fed, my friends have never been so sugared-up, and my treadmill has never seen so much of me. Also: the only things in my freezer are peas, cookies, the top tier of our wedding cake, cookies, ice cubes, cookies, and biscotti. All in a good month’s work.
Are you sick of cookies ye… I can’t even finish asking that. Cookie monsters, we are.
Let me present you with the grand finale. brown butter chocolate chip cookies. Or you can call them by either of their 2 nicknames: Not Your Regular Chocolate Chip Cookies and/or The King of Cookies. Both quite fitting.
There’s as much flavor in one of these brown butter chocolate chip cookies as there is in an entire batch of ordinary chocolate chip cookies. If you’ve ever browned butter before, you’re familiar with the unsurpassable nutty and caramel flavors that come along with it. Browning butter, a simple technique, can be done on the stovetop. You’re literally just browning butter. The aroma of browned butter alone is enough to make me salivate and the flavor is absolutely marvelous. Nutty and caramel-y as I mentioned, like toasted hazelnuts swimming in a pool of caramel sauce. YES.
Doing this extra step to the butter you use in a cookie recipe makes an already good cookie recipe, even butter. I just typed butter. Instead of better. Again. Now, this isn’t a technique that will work with ALL cookie recipes. Typically the recipe requires some testing if you’re replacing creamed butter with browned butter. Or even melted butter with browned butter. During the browning process, as butter goes from yellow to amber in color, it loses some moisture– about a 20-35% loss. This is a lot of moisture to leave out of your cookie recipe! Maybe adding a little extra butter or another egg yolk to the cookie recipe will make up for this moisture loss? But then you may have too much concentrated fat in the cookie recipe. Confused? Trust me, I even confused myself testing this recipe.
Let me make it nice and easy for you. Browning butter = unbeatable flavor + moisture loss. Cookie dough using browned butter needs extra moisture. Milk = creamy, low-fat moisture. Low fat milk is the answer. Just look at this dough. ↓ ↓
Now that we have that milk/browned butter business out of the way, let me explain a few things about this cookie dough before you begin.
After browning the butter, chill said browned butter. Chilling the brown butter will solidify it. Obviously. Once chilled into a solid mass, cream it with brown and granulated sugars as if you were creaming softened butter. The key to chilling the brown butter? Do it in a large tupperware or baking pan. The larger the tupperware or pan, the thinner the layer of butter will be. And the quicker it will solidify. Save time when you can.
After the cookie dough is all mixed up, you have to chill it again. Am I a broken record? I know I always, always talk about chilling cookie dough but there is a reason for it. Chilling cookie dough not only ensures a thicker, more solid cookie but an accentuated flavor. I actually got to talking with my friend’s mom about cookie dough chilling the other night. I don’t seek people out and begin talking about cookies, I promise. She brought it up! But we discussed that chilling develops a heightened buttery, caramel-y flavor. Pair this with the flavor of brown butter? MIND BLOWING. Yes, all caps mind blowing!
I’m a chilling cheerleader.
I’m not going to tell you to chill this cookie dough for days on end. No one has time for that. And I’m not waiting 3 days for a batch of chocolate chip cookies. (If you want to, be my guest! You’ll love the flavor that comes with aging cookie dough for that long.) Chilling for about 3-4 hours is perfect. So on top of chilling your brown butter, which takes about 3 hours, and chilling the cookie dough– we’re looking at 6-7 hours in the refrigerator. Just enough time for the cookie dough to thicken, develop its flavor, and allow its moisture to distribute evenly. Thus resulting in a cookie so thick, so chewy, so flavorful, and soooo unlike any other chocolate chip cookie.
It’s not even fair how good these cookies are. And I know what you’re thinking– how does this recipe compare to my Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies? That cookie uses melted butter, not browned. You could sub browned for melted (in fact, some readers have!) but I find the resulting cookie to be a little crumbly. Which is in part to the missing moisture, explained above.
To Know Before Beginning:
- Do not leave out the cornstarch. It creates a softer cookie.
- For pretty cookie tops, press a few chocolate chips into the tops of the finished cookies as they cool. (As instructed in the recipe below.)
- Make sure you plan ahead and have enough time for both stages of chilling. Chilling is everything in this cookie recipe.
- More brown sugar than white = chewier, softer cookie.
- An extra egg yolk = chewier, richer tasting cookie.
- Low fat milk = low fat moisture into the dough (see above for more detail).
- The milk makes up for the loss of moisture in the browning butter process.
- Want to make cookie bars? Use a 9×13 pan and bake for 24-28 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. No need to chill the cookie dough, just chill the brown butter as directed.
- Feel free to add chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts, making sure to leave the total amount of add-ins (including chocolate chips) at 1 and 1/2 cups.
- Wait until you try them on day 2. If there are any left on day 2. Still so soft and an even better flavor. Flavor, flavor, flavor.
- Sandwich butter pecan ice cream in the center of two cookies. You’re welcome.
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
You haven't had a chocolate chip cookie until you've had a brown butter chocolate chip cookie.
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (200g) packed light brown sugar (or dark brown)
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature preferred
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 and 1/2 cups (312g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) low fat milk
- 1 and 1/2 cups (270g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Brown the butter according to my instructions below this recipe. Once browned, immediately remove from heat and pour into a large tupperware or a 9x13 baking pan. Try to leave some of the browned solids/bits in the pan, unless you like a slightly more complex browned, almost burnt-like flavor. I like to leave them behind and discard. Cover tightly, place in the refrigerator, and chill until solid, about 3 hours (or even overnight or up to 1 day).
- Remove solid brown butter from the refrigerator and spoon into a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer). Using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the chilled brown butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined, then beat in the milk on medium speed. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Add the chocolate chips and mix on low for about 5-10 seconds until evenly disbursed. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 3-4 hours1 and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. The longer the better; I always chill for at least 4 hours.
- Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes-- if the cookie dough chilled longer than 4 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
- Once chilled, the dough may be slightly crumbly, but will come together if you work the dough with your hands as you roll into individual balls. Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each, into balls.
- Bake the cookies in batches for 11-12 minutes, until slightly golden brown around the edges. My oven has hot spots and yours may too- so, be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time. The baked cookies will look extremely soft in the centers when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. If the cookies are too puffy, try gently pressing down on them with the back of a spoon. During this time, you can press a few extra chocolate chips into the top of the warm cookies-- for looks. The cookies will slightly deflate as you let them cool. After 5 minutes, transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Make ahead tip: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 5. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
- You can chill the dough using this alternative: chill the cookie dough as a whole for 1 hour. Then remove from the refrigerator and roll into 1.5 Tablespoon balls, as the recipe suggests before baking. Continue to chill the cookie dough balls for the remaining 2-3 hours (or freeze them as suggested in the last step). Some readers find this easier! If you do this, you do not have to let the cookie dough sit at room temperature in the next step.
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Hi! Me again. Let me show you how to brown butter.
- First, slice up your butter. Slicing ensures the butter melts down evenly. It doesn’t have to be Tablespoon slices, just slice it up into smaller blocks. Melt over medium heat in a skillet. Ideally, you want to use a pan with a light colored bottom so you can keep track of the butter’s color.
- Stir the butter occasionally to ensure the butter is browning evenly. Once completely melted, the butter will foam up. You’ll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan. Smell the butter; it should begin to have a nutty aroma. One it begins to turn tan, remove from the heat and place on a cool surface to stop the cooking process. Burnt butter is bitter; if your butter is extremely dark, it is burnt and time to start over.
- The time it takes to brown butter depends on your pan and your stove. For me? It usually takes about 6 minutes. Hopefully you can kind of see the color of the butter in the right picture.
- Once browned, pour into a container or pan as instructed in the recipe. Try to leave some of the browned solids/bits in the pan, unless you like a slightly more complex browned, almost burnt-like flavor. I like to leave them behind and discard.
- That’s it! Chill as directed in the recipe above and use in the cookie recipe.
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