Browned butter chocolate chip cookies
My childhood home had a built-in stepstool in the kitchen that pulled out like a drawer, which was, of course, directly in front of the mixer. I’m not sure if my parents were encouraging independence or resigned to the fact that their oldest would always be short or ensuring a constant supply of chocolate chip cookies, but the cookie part happened in a big way. (My older sister is still short, but I’m pretty sure she can see the top of the mixer now.)
Chocolate chip cookies are one of the first things I remember making in the kitchen, and they’re still up there among my favorites. The dough comes together with an elegant simplicity and logic, and it doesn’t hurt that I always ignored salmonella warnings and dug in. House rules required the maker of the cookies to deliver a spoonful of dough to every person in the house. I’m proud to say that I never broke that rule.
All of this is to say that I know and love a good chocolate chip cookie. They’re satisfying and always delicious, but I didn’t think they could surprise me anymore.
That was before I bit into one of these. And then, immediately, another one.
These cookies take a childhood favorite and update it for grown-ups. They have a lot more going on than your average chocolate chip cookie: browned butter adds a rich nuttiness, a combination of dark and milk chocolate finds just the right balance, and a touch of molasses smolders in the background. They’re thin but chewy and salty enough that you notice how it complements the chocolate. This is the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had, and believe me, I’ve tried my fair share.
A few notes: more on browned butter here for the culinarily curious.
I love chopped chocolate over chips because you get tiny shards that melt into the dough along with the bigger pockets of chocolate. Just chop until your biggest pieces are a little bigger than chocolate chips, and then step away from the cutting board.
Yes, the dough resting really does something. Some time spent chilling in the fridge gives you a head start on starches and proteins breaking down, giving you more flavorful and tenderer cookies. Do it.
Now have at it! The adults among us may no longer need stepstools, but we do still need chocolate chip cookies in our lives. And you still have to obey house rules, so make sure you sample some dough.
- 1 c. butter (2 sticks), divided and room temperature
- 2½ c. flour
- 1½ t. kosher salt
- ¾ t. baking soda
- ¼ t. baking powder
- 2 eggs
- ¾ c. white sugar
- ¾ c. brown sugar
- 2 t. vanilla
- ½ t. molasses
- ⅔ c. chopped dark chocolate
- ⅓ c. chopped milk chocolate
- Brown one stick of butter: melt it in a small pot over medium heat. It will bubble, then subside. Continue to heat until the white milk solids on the bottom turn brown and your whole kitchen starts to smell amazing. Turn off the heat and let cool.
- Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cream the eggs with the white sugar until smooth.
- When the browned butter is around body temperature, add 2 teaspoons of cold water and pour into the egg mixture. Add the remaining stick of butter and the brown sugar, and cream until the color lightens.
- Mix in the vanilla and the molasses.
- Add the flour mixture and mix until there is no more flour sitting on top of the dough (you will still have large white streaks). Add the chocolate and mix until just combined.
- Allow dough to rest in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Scoop dough into about two-tablespoon sized balls. Bake while still cool for 12-14 minutes, until evenly brown but still a little gooey in the center.
- The cookies with firm up as they cool, but who can wait that long? Eat them hot and cover yourself in chocolate.