Chewy Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies have crispy edges, chewy middles, and toasty, butterscotch-y brown butter. Plus chunks of your favorite chocolate bars…. Yes, please!
Makes about 16 4-inch cookies.
- 10 tablespoons plus (141 g) plus 4 tablespoons (57 g) unsalted butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons (16 g) powdered milk
- 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) sea salt
- 1 cup packed (200 g) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk, cold
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
- 3 1.5-oz (128 g) milk or white chocolate bars
- 3 1.5-oz (128 g) dark chocolate bars
- optional – 3/4 cup (about 85 g) nuts of your choice (like hazelnuts, macadamias, walnuts, cashews, etc. )
1. Toast (and chop) the nuts.
– Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
– Spread the nuts out in a single-layer on a baking sheet.
– Toast the nuts in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on what kind of nut you are using, or until lightly browned and fragrant. (When you can start to smell the nuts from across the room, it’s a good time to start checking.)
– Immediately pour the toasted nuts onto a plate to cool.
– Chop the nuts, if you wish, to the desired size. (It’s ok if the pieces vary in size.) Set aside.
2. Brown the butter.
– Have a heat-proof bowl nearby and ready for the browned butter. (It will be hot!)
– In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat 10 tablespoons (141 g) butter over medium heat.
– Swirl the pan around to heat the butter evenly. The butter to sputter, bubble and foam.
– Once the butter begins to turn clear, sprinkle in the milk powder. It will be very foamy.
– Turn the heat down to medium-low.
– Continue to swirl the butter around and stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, scraping up any browning bits sticking to the bottom of the pot. (That’s where all the flavor is!)
– Once the milk solids have turned a toasty brown (like the color of butterscotch) and the butter smells toasty and nutty, immediately remove from heat and pour into the heat-proof bowl, making sure to scrape in any brown bits.
– Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons (57 g) butter until melted. Set aside.
– Keep a close eye on your browning butter, especially when it starts to turn color. It can go from nutty brown to burnt pretty fast.
3. Chop the chocolate bars.
– Using a large, sharp, unserrated knife, like a french chef’s knife or a cleaver, chop the chocolate bars into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch pieces. (It’s ok if the chunks are different sizes.) Set aside.
– You can substitute the chopped chocolate bars with 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips and 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.
4. Combine the ingredients.
– Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
– Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the browned butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until evenly combined and there are no lumps of brown sugar.
– Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined, smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
– On low speed, mix in the flour mixture in 3 additions until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
– Stir in the chopped chocolate and nuts by hand with a wooden spoon.
5. Drop and chill the cookie dough.
– Drop the cookie dough in 1/4 cup portions onto a tray.
– Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (and up to 5 days) to develop and meld the flavors.
– If you absolutely need cookies immediately, chill for at least 30 minutes (or don’t chill them at all). They will still be very delicious.
6. Preheat the oven and prepare the baking sheets.
– Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
– Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
– Place the chilled cookie dough balls onto the prepared cookie sheets about 3 inches apart.
7. Bake and cool the Cookies
– Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, about 11 to 13 minutes. (They may not look finished, but they will continue to cook while cooling on the pan.)
– Let the cookies cool and set on the cookie sheets for at least 5 to 10 minutes before moving to cooling racks.
Note: If your cookie dough was not refrigerated, bake for only 9 to 11 minutes.
To freeze the dough:
– Scoop the dough into 1/4 cup portions.
– Freeze for 2 or 3 hours, until firmly frozen.
– Place the frozen dough balls into Ziploc freezer bags, squeezing out as much air as possible.
– Freeze up to three months.
– Thaw the frozen cookie dough, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight.
About this recipe
Chewy Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies take a little extra effort – toasting nuts, browning butter, chopping chocolate bars and chilling cookie dough overnight. But these extra efforts all contribute to exceptional flavor and texture. It’s worth it. I say, just enjoy what you’re doing, and then get rewarded for it at the end!
Here are 5 helpful tips:
1) Brown butter plus milk powder equals sublime flavor.
– Brown butter adds a toasty, nutty flavor to your baked goods. It has a deeper and more intense flavor than regular butter.
– Adding milk powder to your browning butter will intensify the flavor even more. The toasted milk solids in the browned butter is where the flavor is. And just a couple of tablespoons of milk powder can add enough extra toasted milk solids to really boost that flavor over the top!
Brown butter without added powdered milk (left) and with added powdered milk (right):
See more about brown butter here!
2) Choose chocolate and nuts that you love to eat.
– When choosing chocolate for the cookies, you don’t need to get the expensive chocolate. You DO need to get chocolate you love to eat. (If you are going through the trouble of browning butter and chilling dough overnight, it’s nice to make every ingredient worth it.)
– Chocolate chips may be used instead of chocolate bars. But choose good quality chocolate chips you are happy to eat all on their own.
– Use a blend of chocolates instead of just one kind of chocolate if you can. Different levels of sweetness will add interest and depth to the flavor of the cookies.
– Chocolate and nuts are always a great pairing. You can really never go wrong on the kind of nuts you choose, so feel free to try whatever you love – unsalted or salted! (I love salted cashews with white chocolate!)
– Don’t use stale nuts. They do not always come back to life in the oven or in your cookies.
3) Drop the cookie dough by the 1/4-cup.
– Use a measuring cup when dropping your cookie dough. Uniform cookie sizes ensure even baking. All cookies will be equally crispy and chewy.
– Scoops of dough bigger or smaller than 1/4 cup will affect baking times, which could then affect how crispy/chewy your cookies are.
4) Chill your dough overnight.
– These cookies will be delicious even if you don’t have the willpower to wait for the cookie dough to chill overnight. But chilling the dough will give the flavor of your cookies time to develop and become more pronounced. It will also give your cookies better color out of the oven. (Even 30 minutes of chilling will make a difference.)
5) Do not overbake.
– Ovens vary, so be sure to check in on your cookies at the earliest time. Usually when you can start to smell the cookies, that’s a good time to start checking.
– The cookies are done when the edges are just starting to brown and the centers are still soft and puffy. The cookies will continue to cook and set while cooling on the hot pan. (Overbaked cookies will be crispy, not chewy.)
– Allow the cookies to cool on the pan at least 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.