Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie stack.

Cookie stack.

I imagine I’m not alone in this, but sometimes I can get a little bit (a lot) obsessive about specific foods. I’m talking about making them again and again until I’ve “perfected” the recipe and technique. I don’t generally like eating repeats, so this behavior’s a bit odd for me, but it certainly happens from time to time. One perennial obsession is finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I still want to do some testing with this (parchment vs Silpat is the biggest question here), but I’ve made them now enough times to be confident that they are very good chocolate chip cookies.

They are, of course, from The Food Lab at Serious Eats, where Kenji indulges food obsession and documents his recipe testing with satisfying depth and detail. He’s decided this is the best recipe for his preferences, though, I have some soul searching to do yet, so I’ve renamed it.

I’m still working out details for this blog like how to represent measurements. When cooking, as is probably apparent, I rarely use measuring cups, etc and cook by feel instead, though I have been doing my best to quantify the “feels right” amount for writing here. For baking (other than bread), though, I’m fastidious and usually use a kitchen scale. So these measurements will be in weights, though I’ll also provide volume estimations.

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Serious Eats

2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter
1 small ice cube
10 oz (2 cups) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 oz (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 oz (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) packed brown sugar
8 oz (2 bars, usually) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped by hand into 1/2 to 1/4 inch pieces
coarse salt (I’d use Maldon but didn’t have it the day I photographed.)

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Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly as it cooks. Once particles begin to turn golden brown and smell nutty (this is after the foamy phase), take the pan off the heat immediately and swirl for a few more seconds, until the butter is a deeper brown (but not black). Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the ice cube to replenish moisture and halt the cooking. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to cool.

Place granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat until the mixture is combined and pale, with an electric mixer if possible. Add in brown sugar and brown butter, then mix until combined.

Add flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix by hand, careful not to overwork, but also taking care to not leave lumps of any one dry ingredient. Add chocolate pieces and mix gently to incorporate.

Cover and refrigerate at least overnight and up to 3 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment or a silicon mat. Parchment tends to yield slightly flatter cookies, while a silicon mat will yield thicker cookies, from what I can tell. Roll dough loosely into balls between the size of a walnut and a ping pong ball, spacing on the baking sheet with at least an inch between them. I usually try to then tear apart the balls a little so the cookie surfaces end up more uneven.

Bake until the edges are brown, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating the pans if necessary.

While cookies are hot, sprinkle coarse salt on their tops. I used normal salt the day I photographed because I’d run out of coarse, and it wasn’t as good… but still pretty tasty. Remove from the pan and let cool.

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