Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Back in 2014, I had a lot of time on my hands. I love chocolate chip cookies and I decided to make it my mission to find the best chocolate chip cookie out there. I tried many, many recipes but I finally settled on two I really loved, the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and the Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie.
The NYT recipe is interesting in that it uses two types of flour and it requires you to refrigerate the dough for a long period of time. The long refrigeration allows the dry ingredients to soak up the wet ones and provides a thicker more flavorful dough. It also allows the cookies to have a chewy center and crisp edge, while providing amazing flavor.
The Cook’s Illustrated recipe is interesting in that instead of using softened butter, they brown the butter. Browned butter provides a toffee like flavor to the cookie. It is an amazing ingredient that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, if you have never used it before you are really missing out. In addition to the brown butter, they have a rather high brown sugar to sugar ratio, which allows the cookies to remain soft for a while after baking. Cook’s Illustrated also adds an extra egg yolk to the batter to help add moisture.
From these two recipes I took what I liked about both and made, in my very humble opinion, an excellent chocolate chip cookie. I looked at butter to flour ratios, flour to sugar ratios, chocolate to batter ratios, and cooking temperatures and decided on this.
These cookies are thick, chewy and complex in flavor. Browning butter adds a subtle toffee flavor, while the high brown sugar content allows for a very soft cookie and the crisp edges we all love. Instead of mixing the two types of flour all-purpose can be substituted and it would work just fine. However, I bake a lot of recipes that require both cake and bread flour, so having them on hand is not an issue for our house. The mix of dark and milk chocolate is also amazing. I love the sweet milk chocolate paired with the bitter dark. If you’re really feeling up to it, adding flaked sea salt to the top of the cookie before baking also adds another layer of flavor and sophistication to the cookie.
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks of butter, browned
1 stick butter, cold and cubed
1 1/2 cups (approx 12 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup (approx 6 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds (20 ounces) of chocolate – (I use a mix of milk and dark) all semi-sweet is good as well
1. Measure out all ingredients.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda and baking powder; set aside.
3. Heat 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a 10-inch stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring butter with a rubber spatula constantly until the butter is a dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 2-4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer the browned butter to a large bowl. Stir the remaining 1 stick butter into the hot browned butter until completely melted.
4. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to the bowl with the butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the eggs and egg yolk and whisk until the mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times until the mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until mostly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and give the dough a final stir to ensure there are no hidden flour pockets.
5. Refrigerate for 24 hours up to 48 hours.
6. Using an ice cream scoop arrange the cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. If desired, sprinkle the dough with flaked sea salt to add another level of flavor to the cookie.
7. Bake the cookies 1 tray at a time until the cookies are golden brown but still puffy, and the edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 15-18 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the baking sheet to wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely before serving. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
*Note: Almost every time I make cookies, I freeze the cookie dough. The easiest way to do this is to portion out the dough onto a baking sheet that will fit in your freezer (important note, I learned this from experience). Place the sheet in the freezer for at least an hour, longer is also okay. Once almost frozen you can put the dough in a zip lock bag and store in the freezer. When baking allow for about 2 minutes extra cooking time to the dough.
Yes, you can bake them frozen and have freshly baked chocolate chip cookies whenever your heart desires.
Also below are links to the NYT Recipe and Cooks Illustrated Recipe for chocolate chip cookies that helped inspire this one: