I made brown butter chocolate chip cookies for the first time this weekend, and can’t wait to make them again.

By Bridget Hallinan
August 17, 2020
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Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

Every so often, I’ll make a recipe and know from my first bite that it’s going to be on repeat, part of a “greatest hits” playlist I draw from when I want something reliably delicious. Nigel Slater’s pasta with sausage, basil, and mustard is a weeknight jam I can’t get enough of, and Douglass Williams’ show-stopping summer crab carbonara also joined the list earlier this year. My latest addition came this weekend in the form of a dessert—Jasmine Smith’s brown-butter chocolate chip cookies, which were nearly gone by the time I wrote this story.

Although I’ve tried out several different chocolate chip cookie recipes in the past, I’ll readily admit that when the craving strikes, I’ve also followed the instructions on whatever chocolate chip bag is stashed in my pantry and called it a day. However, the levels of flavor from these brown-butter cookies prove that taking a little bit of extra time is definitely worth it. And if you also find yourself wanting more chocolate in your chocolate-to-dough ratio, you’ll appreciate that these cookies include both bittersweet chocolate chips and a chopped up bittersweet chocolate bar, ensuring every single bite is packed.

To make them, you start off by browning the unsalted butter, a crucial step that will give the cookies that “intensely toasty butterscotch note” the recipe describes. I’d recommend doing this step a few hours in advance—you have to chill the butter until it solidifies before making the dough, anyway (either for about an hour in the refrigerator, or in the freezer for about 30 minutes), so you might as well have it ready in the fridge. Then, you preheat the oven and get your baking sheets prepped with parchment paper, so your cookies can seamlessly transition to the wire cooling racks later on.

Next, sift your dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and baking soda) into one bowl, set it aside, and get ready to make the dough. Start by beating the chilled brown butter, dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, and then add in the eggs and vanilla extract. After that, you gradually beat in the flour mixture—be sure to beat “just until combined” like the recipe says, so you don’t overwork the gluten in the flour—and finally, fold in all. the. chocolate. Smith’s recipe notes that you can use bittersweet chocolate chips, morsels, or discs. I went with Ghirardelli’s premium baking 60 percent cacao bittersweet chips, which are larger than the typical chocolate chip and melted beautifully.

At this point, you’re all set to scoop out the cookies and bake ‘em. Note: Make sure you thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly) read the recipe and sprinkle the cookies with flaky sea salt before they go in the oven, not after. I missed that instruction at the end of step three and ended up having to leave the salt off. They were still delicious, and I’m looking forward to the salt adding even more flavor the next time I bake them.

Once the cookies are done and cooled, you can either serve them warm or let them cool fully. I’m fully on team warm—after all, it was that first bite, bursting with melty chocolate and notes of butterscotch, that immediately got me hooked. And I’m already dreaming of round two.