All those years that I’ve been living in the dark about the existence of brown butter, all those unnecessarily long, long years they don’t matter anymore. The only important thing here now is that those days are over, they’re just a thing of the past and they won’t come back ever again. So now there’s only one possible future ahead and it totally involves brown butter no matter what. And thus, in this new refurbished future, everything is better, way, way better… Not convinced yet? You just have to take a look at these brown butter chocolate chip cookies to which, in case they weren’t perfect enough, I added a few sea salt flakes on top to take things to the next level. Simply brilliant, and it’s not bragging if you can back it up.
These brown butter chocolate chip cookies have been my first attempt with this happily discovered phenomenon. Not only is brown butter a real flavor-enhancing miracle but also it makes everything beautifully appealing with its undeniable golden touch. Not to speak of that amazing scent; you will be longing for it to never leave your home. But then you would crave for salted brown butter chocolate chip cookies all the time. Well, it’s your move now. You have been warned…
So it’s official now: from this moment I hereby declare myself a hard-core brown butter fan. So do not be surprised if you observe a slight enthusiasm for brownbuttering some of the recipes to come. But fear not, I won’t reinvent the whole buttery side of the blog. Or at least, that is not my initial intention but honestly, you never know… I’m in no shape to make such a promise right now; it must be the effect of the brown butter scent that is keeping my judgement a bit cloudy these days.
Well, I leave you here with this truly breathtaking recipe, but not without first strongly recommending you to try and brown your butter in some of your favourite recipes if you haven’t already. So now it’s up to you. I can’t wait to hear all about it.
- ¾ cup (170 g) good quality unsalted butter
- ¾ cup (165 g) light brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2¼ (290 g) cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (170 g) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup (60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
- Sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
- For browning butter: Place 1 stick (½ cup / 115 g) of the butter in a medium-size saucepan or skillet (preferably a light-colored bottom one so you can keep track of the butter’s color) and melt the butter over medium heat, swirling it in the pan frequently to distribute the heat evenly. Once it is melted, butter will be lightly creamy and will foam up (you don't need to get rid of the frothy residues). Now reduce to low heat to prevent butter from burning and keep a close eye on the melted butter as it will turn from brown to burned in a matter of seconds. Continue to swirl the pan constantly (I even remove momentarily the pan from the heat every now and then if it gets too hot). As soon as melted butter becomes more fluid and golden brown it should begin to have a nutty aroma. You’ll also notice that lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan (hence the light-colored bottom). Once the bits go from golden brown to amber brown and the nutty scent deepens (the time it takes may vary from one pan and one stove to another), remove the butter from the heat and immediately pour it into a different container, bits and all, to stop the cooking process. Let it to cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before using*.
- Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch, baking soda and sat together until totally combine. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your hand-held or stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (alternatively, you can use a large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon), beat the remaining ¼ cup (55 g) of butter with the sugars and molasses at medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Pour the cooled brown butter into the previous mixture and beat until totally combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go.
- Reduce to medium-low speed and beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract, beating well after each addition until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients (see point 3) in 2 batches, beating on low speed just until barely incorporated. The cookie dough will be quite thick and it will have a nicely coarse texture.
- Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts or pecans until evenly distributed.
- Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Once chilled, remove cookie dough from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven (electric) to 350 degrees F (175ºC) and place racks in the center and upper third of the oven.
- Using a medium-size ice cream scoop or your hands, scoop and roll balls of dough (about 2 tablespoons of dough each will be just fine, but you can make them larger if you prefer) and place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheets leaving a 2-inch (5 cm) separation between the balls. (The dough may be slightly crumbly, but will come together if you work the dough with your hands as you roll it.)
- Sprinkle the cookies with some sea salt flakes, to your liking. (In case you're working in a rather warm weather or even if you manipulated the cookie dough balls a bit too much, cover with plastic wrap again and refrigerate for a further 10 minutes on their bakings sheets before baking.)
- Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, until they’re golden brown around the edges but still soft in the centre. Remove them from the oven and let them sit undisturbed on their baking sheets for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack using a large, flat spatula (freshly baked cookies are extremely soft and fragile when hot).
- Let cool completely on the cooling rack before consuming.
Store in an airtight at room temperature for several days.
- Brown butter can be stored refrigerated in an airtight container for weeks. You'll just need to melt it again before using. Be careful not to brown (or even burn) your browned butter again.
- Brown butter, ghee and clarified butter differ in the amount of water evaporated during the melting process.
- Although regular butter cannot be always substituted by brown butter, there are recipes which almost clamor for it, such as banana bread, carrot cake, blondies, buttercream and course cookies. Brown butter is even used in the preparation of some sauces for a number of dishes such as eggs, vegetables, pasta, fish, etc. It's just a winning bet. It can be even enhanced by adding lemon juice, some herbs, and salt and pepper.
- In case you just have one baking sheet, you will need to bake your cookies in different batches. Remember to keep your cookie dough refrigerated between batches and to allow your baking sheet to cool completely before reusing.
- These cookies freeze wonderfully for up to 3 months. Wrap them in plastic wrap and foil to prevent freezer burnt.
Browning butter method and cookies adapted from How to Brown Butter de Joy the Baker