March 29, 2009

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

The perfect chocolate chip cookies--Cook's Illustrated's claim, not mine. But, these cookies are truly great. I haven't met anyone who doesn't love them.

There are a number of specific changes Cook's Illustrated made to your standard Toll House cookie recipe in order to achieve these results. Melted butter makes them chewier. Browning the butter makes them tastier. More brown sugar than white makes them chewier, too. Allowing the sugar to dissolve completely into the liquid ingredients lets the sugar caramelize better, enhancing flavor. It also makes the edges crispy, while leaving the center chewy. Behold:
Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Ghiradelli, for best results!)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (toasted)
  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position. Heat oven to 375 degrees. (I always wait to do this step because my oven only takes a few minutes to pre-heat.) Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. (I actually have found that it is perfectly fine to re-use parchment sheets, so I use the same cookie sheet sized-parchment around 3 times--parchment's not cheap!)
  2. Whisk flour and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch skillet (try not to use a non-stick skillet. I used a light colored sauce pan--you need to see the color of the butter as you brown it) over medium high heat until melted. Continue cooking, stirring or swirling the pan constantly until the butter is a dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma--1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and pour into a large heatproof bowl. Stir in remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into hot browned butter until it has melted.
  4. Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and egg yolk; whisk until smooth--around 30 seconds.
  5. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times (this let's the sugars dissolve), until the mixture is thick, smooth and shiny.
  6. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined--about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, making sure no flour pockets remain.
  7. Spoon dough in 3 tablespoon portions 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets--8 to a sheet. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy; the edges will have begun to set, but the centers will be still soft after 10-14 minutes. Rotate the sheet halfway through baking.
  8. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and cool cookies completely before serving.
*Makes 16 cookies, which in my experience is not enough. I'd recommend doubling the recipe, for sure.


  1. Good Golly Miss Molly do those look scrumptious. We just got our Cook's in the mail, I am excited to see what other treasures lurk in there.


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