Looking for a trusted recipe for chocolate chip cookies? Look no further! These brown butter chocolate chunk cookies are perfectly buttery and chocolatey. Texture-wise, they have a great balance between crispy edges and a chewy middle.
The butter and the heavy cream
You must be wondering: why use brown butter? Well, why not? Brown butter adds a bit of nuttiness that rounds out the flavor of your chocolate chunk cookies. In short, another layer adding more depth of flavor!
Another weird ingredient you probably don’t see often in cookies is heavy cream. This is optional, but I do think it’s helpful in the emulsion and providing moisture to the cookie dough. When you brown the butter, you’re basically losing some of the water that will help bind with the gluten of the flour. Adding heavy cream reintroduces that water content back into the butter, but it also makes the emulsion easier since it has a good amount of fat.
// WHAT IS AN EMULSION?
An emulsion is the process of combining things that are normally not combinable. For example, fat and water are unmixable. You usually need an emulsifier to ensure that those two elements don’t separate.
For this recipe, I chose half brown sugar and half white sugar. The reason for this is, again, variety. In this case, it’s providing variety in the cookie texture. White sugar results in that crispiness in the cookies, while the brown sugar adds the chewiness. So with these chocolate chunk cookies, you get the best of both worlds: crispy edges and a chewy center!
Th great thing about this recipe is that you can really use whatever combination of chocolate you want. My recommendation though: don’t use just one kind. The more you can vary your chocolate, the better. Of course, variety is NOT necessary. However, I personally like using half semi-sweet (or milk) and bittersweet (or dark) chocolates.
In addition to the different type of chocolates, I also like to change up the shape. For example, for my first batch, I used half roughly chopped chocolate chunks and half chocolate discs (or baking wafers). The discs kinda end up being melty sheets of chocolate once baked in the cookies, and then the chunks provide you with bites of chocolate. For my second batch, I used half roughly chopped chocolate chunks and half chocolate chips because I ran out of the discs. The point is: variety = mini adventure in every cookie bite 🙂
I know, I know, I’m sorry that I’m subjecting you to having to wait longer for the chocolate chunk cookies. BUT, it’s really important that you let your cookie dough “age” in the fridge overnight before baking them. If you really can’t wait that long, at least chill the cookie dough for 3 hours. Why do we need to chill it anyway? Aging your cookie dough in the fridge results in a deeper flavor all around for the cookies.
Without going through the exact science stuff, the brown butter re-solidifies, some of the sugars re-crystallizes, and the flavor is also even more absorbed in the dough. But also, this will give your cookie more structure as it bakes. Since the butter is cold again, it takes longer for it to completely melt as it bakes. The result? Cookies that are not super flat. I promise your patience will be worth it!
Tools you’ll need
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 5 oz of a mix of semi-sweet and dark or bittersweet chocolate (chopped or chips)
- Brown the butter in a small saucepan. Make sure to keep an eye on this and occasionally stir so it doesn't burn!
- Pour in a medium mixing bowl. Add the heavy cream and keep whisking until you see the heavy cream a bit more incorporated. Chill in the freezer for just 5-10 minutes.
- Take out your brown butter from the freezer. At this stage, some of the butter probably started to solidify, but that's okay. Whisk vigorously until the brown butter and heavy cream have completely emulsified and the mixture looks homogenous.
- Add both sugars and whisk thoroughly. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Whisk until well-combined.
- Pour all the dry ingredients (flour, kosher salt, baking soda) into the bowl and mix everything. At this point, you may need to switch to a silicone spatula. However, just don't forget any good batter bits from the whisk! Fold in the chocolate chunks or chips.
- Scoop out your portions of cookie dough into a parchment-lined baking sheet. Because you'd want to space out the portions with enough room, you may have to use two pans. These cookies spread while baking, so plan accordingly. For me, I can fit about six portions in one standard baking sheet.
- Now comes the hard part. You gotta chill the dough in the fridge overnight! I know, it's torture to have to wait for it, but it's worth it! If you really can't wait that long, at least chill the cookie dough for 3 hours. But, I really recommend the overnight chilling.
- Once your cookie dough has sufficiently chilled, bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes. Edges should be golden brown.
- When you take them out, they'll be a bit fragile, so wait for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
// ON THE SCENE
- Bottom backdrop: Woodville Workshop — Amsterdam
- Props: cooling rack