Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thick, gooey, chocolate chip cookies with a deep, brown butter flavor. These chocolate chip cookies are unlike any traditional chocolate chip cookie you've ever had!

We had two gatherings over the weekend. We recently joined a young marrieds small group through our church. We had a our third meeting Friday night and the meal theme was Mexican. I spent Thursday night making the enchiladas, all I had to do Friday when I got home from work was pop them in the oven to bake. Saturday we another get together with a young adult group from our church. We were having a cookout so the food theme was a little simpler. I decided to keep it simple since I had spent so much time making enchiladas the nights before. I whipped up a batch of these delicious cookies and had dessert done in no time.

I feel that I've gone overboard with the chocolate chip cookies recipes on my website. I looked back and realized this is the only cookie recipe I've posted. I am unapologetic-ally posting another one--because I feel you can never have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes!

I came across this recipe several months ago, but had yet to try it. I typically fix one of my other chocolate chip recipes (recipes here and here) instead of trying a new one. I aim to always improve my recipes and I realize, I need to do that by trying others. This recipe is unlike any other I've seen. Most recipes cream softened butter into brown and white sugars. This recipe not only melts the butter, but browns the butter as well. The browning adds a depth of flavor you don't get any other way. I almost want to call these cookies, "caramel chocolate chip" as the batter has the appearance of a rich caramel.

The recipe is pretty self explanatory, except for the browning part. You need to start with a cold skillet, add ten tablespoons of unsalted butter, and melt it over medium-high heat. Once the butter is completely melted, begin to swirl the pan so that the butter moves constantly, allowing for even browning. The butter will begin to  pop a little so you will want to stand back. The process takes about 3-5 minutes or until the butter is a deep brown color. Once you had a good color, pour the melted butter into a heat-proof mixing bowl. Add in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and gently stir until melted (be careful, the butter is really hot!). Add sugars, salt and vanilla and whisk until incorporated. Add in the egg and egg yolk and mix for 30 seconds. Allow the mixture to sit for 3 minutes, then repeat the process two more times. This resting and mixing part is crucial as it allows for the sugars to melt and incorporate, and for the flavor to develop. After whipping together, the batter will be smooth and shiny, with an velvety like texture.

Once you are finished with that step, you are ready to mix in the flour, baking soda and chocolate chips. It is crucial to refrigerate the cookie dough before using. Actually, it is best to refrigerate any cookie dough for at least a few hours before using (overnight is best). I didn't plan ahead well and only got to chill mine for an hour and a half. I sped up the process by sticking in the freezer for about 20 minutes and then into the fridge for the remainder of the time. Refrigerating allows the flavors to come together and keeps the cookies from spreading out too much when baking.

I made my cookies slightly smaller than the original recipe. The original calls for 3 tablespoon of dough and I made them one and a half tablespoons. I like smaller cookies because I don't feel as guilty about eating two or three of them at a time.

Yeah, I know that makes no sense...

I also like to make smaller cookies when I am taking them a get-together (as I did these on Saturday). Bake them until they are lightly browned around the edges. Allow them to cool slightly on the pan before transferring to a rack.

The cookies were a hit and the full plate I took to the dinner, was empty by the end of the night!

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed, dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 whole egg  + 1 egg yolk
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4  cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper(or baking mats, if using).

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Set aside. In a medium skillet, melt 10 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until completely melted. Continue cooking over medium heat, swirling pan to ensure even browning. Cook until butter is golden brown and has a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Transfer melted butter to heat-proof mixing bowl. Stir in remaining 4 tablespoons of butter until melted.

3. Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to melted butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Whisk in egg and egg yolk and whisk until smooth with no lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes. Repeat process of resting and mixing two more times, until batter is thick, smooth and shiny. Using rubber spatula, stir in flour mixture until incorporated, about 1 minute. Carefully stir in chocolate chips and just mix until incorporated and no flour pockets remain.

4. Chill dough for at least 2 hours, overnight is best. Shape dough into balls measuring 1 1/2 tablespoons. Arrange on cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes rotating sheet halfway through baking for even browning. Bake  until edges are lightly browned, and centers are set but still soft. Allow to cool slightly on cookie sheet before transferring to wire rack. Cool before serving.

Adapted from America's Test Kitchen   

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