Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I wonder how many times my mom furiously shuffled through her paper-strewn pocketbook for the receipt for my brother and I. Ten times? Twenty? How often did she wonder what the hospital’s return policy was?

I imagine it was as often as we pleaded for store bought chocolate chip cookies. Soft Baked, Mrs. Fields, Chips Ahoy Chewy. Our kitchen was void of these. Mom baked instead. Fresh, homemade cookies, recipe on the yellow back of the Nestle Toll House bag. Out of the oven, they tasted divine.  But once the next day came, and the one after that, the cookies hardened a bit. Stiffened with one night’s slumber. How quickly they lost that innocent and young, chewy charm. A bag of three CD-sized chippers in a brown bagged lunch was no more prized than a box of raisins.

“They’re just not soft enough, Ma.” Her eyes dulled. She realized that we must have been sick that day in school when they taught us tact.

I wish our tiny tot taste buds weren’t jonesing for the fake vanilla, the dough conditioners, that artificial caramel flavor. I wish I knew then that ‘Ma-produced’ means a world more than ‘Mass-produced.’

I get it now, Ma. Ant and I were as foolish as Fraggle Rock. We should have been encouraging you to consider a throwdown with Mrs. Fields.

These brown sugared beauts are a new take on traditional, a variation that I’ve heard more about than my own birth. Browned butter chocolate chip cookies. Chewy caramel meets intense toffee taste. Browning the butter, to the point where it’s almost caramel, brings out a nutty depth, complexity of sweetness…layers of brown sugar verging on molasses.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

(recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

(makes 20 large cookies)

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 ½ cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325°. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let it melt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes- until the butter has begun to brown and look like caramel. You will smell a sweet nuttiness coming from the pot.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until well combined.

Add the eggs and vanilla, beating for about 30 seconds until mixture is light brown and well combined.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and give it one final stir to make sure no pockets of flour remain.

Stir in chocolate chips. At this point, I like to refrigerate the cookie dough for up to 48 hours, to let the dough rest. It does wonders to ensure a chewy cookie. I realize this is insanity for most people so go ahead and get baking. Roll the dough into 20 balls- each about 2 tablespoons. Place no more than 9 at a time on a cookie sheet and flatten slightly with your fingers. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies begin to turn a light golden brown around the edges and the center looks soft-set. Remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Comments

  1. says

    Yay! You made browned butter chocolate chip cookies! Are they not amazing? I too am addicted to the deep caramely flavor browning the butter adds. Also I love the way it makes my apartment smell.

    I should bake another batch of browned-butter cookies this week. I haven’t baked in a while and my boyfriend is threatening to move out if I don’t whip something delicious up soon (kidding, well kinda).

  2. says

    Mmmm! I’ve never gone the browned butter route but it sounds wonderful.

    Usually when I bake cookies, only have the batch gets turned into cookies. I like munching on the dough 😀

    • says

      You’re a smart lady, Sagan- the dough is the best part. Form it into balls the size of the cookies you want to bake, and put them in a ziploc in the freezer- that way you can either bake them anytime or just eat them as dough because it never hardens too too much!

  3. says

    You’re REALLy on a roll with these awesome cookies! I wish I was your neighbor, so I can demand a cookie exchange party…where you’ll probably get the bad end of the deal, but hey! All in the holiday spirit! >__<

    • says

      Hi Kristen! You can absolutely use light brown, it will taste similar. I just like dark brown because it imparts more of a rich molasses like flavor, but not enough of a difference to go out and buy some if you have light on hand! Thanks!

  4. KD says

    I was making these, and I just wanted to eat the sugar/butter mixture up! It smelled so good :) can’t wait to see how these turn out

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