These brown butter chocolate chip cookies are the perfect cookie. The brown butter gives these cookies a rich toffee flavor and a hint of salt. They have crisp, golden edges, a nice crust on the outside, but are still soft and gooey in the center with melty semisweet chocolate.
Why this Recipe Works
I spent years trying to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. I tested dozens before deciding to just come up with my own. The brown butter and high baking temperature I think it what gives these cookies an edge.
The brown butter offers a subtle nutty flavor that blends perfectly with the molasses in the brown sugar to give the cookie that amazing rich slightly smoky and nutty toffee flavor.
Baking your cookies at a higher temperature will cook the outside of the cookie faster before the inside cooks too much. This trick is going to give you those crispy edges and exterior and keep the inside nice and soft.
- Butter. The amount of butter listed in the ingredients is the amount needed before you brown it. Once browned you will probably lose about 25% of your butter as liquid evaporates during the browning process.
- Brown Sugar. We use a higher proportion of brown sugar to white sugar in this recipe. The molasses in the brown sugar compliments the brown butter well and amps up that amazing toffee-butterscotch flavor. If you want an amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe without brown sugar, we have a delicious and super easy one!
- Flour. A classic, no-frills, all-purpose flour is all we use here. The most important thing when it comes to flour is making sure you don’t use too much—spoon and level, weigh, and check out our guide on How to Measure Flour Correctly.
- Semisweet Chocolate Chips. I prefer semisweet chocolate chips over milk in this recipe. The slight bitterness from the semisweet chocolate chips adds the perfect contrast to this rich brown butter chocolate chip cookies.
How to Make this Recipe
- How to Brown Butter. Start by browning your butter. Place the butter in a heavy bottomed pan, make sure it is large as the butter tends to foam up quite a bit. Keep stirring it over medium-high heat until the butter has reached an amber color and there are brown bits at the bottom. Consult out How to Brown Butter tutorial for FAQs on browning butter, pictures, and a video!
- Chill the butter. Place the butter in a large bowl and chill or freeze until it has returned to a solid state. You want it to be room temperature, solid, but soft enough to be creamed. Chilling the butter is essential to these cookies, so do not try to skip this step. Picture A shows what the butter will look like after it is chilled and Picture B shows it after it has been moved to the mixing bowl. Notice the toasted milk solids (the dark bits) have sunk to the bottom of the dish. Don’t forget to get all those dark bits into your mixing bowl, they add lots of toasted butter flavor!
- Cream the butter and sugar. Cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar for 1 minute.
- Add the eggs. Then add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2-3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Please note: the image pictured is a double batch, which is why you see 4 eggs in the image instead of 2.
- Add the dry ingredients. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients in so they are just barely incorporated. Overworking the dough will result in tough cookies.
- Add the chocolate chips. Stir in the chocolate chips until they are evenly dispersed throughout the dough.
- Bake. Take 4 tablespoons of dough and shape into round balls. Place on a greased or lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave plenty of room for the cookies to spread (I typically place 6 cookie dough balls on a baking sheet). Let the cookies cool for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When butter is browned the milk solids are toasted giving it a nutty and toffee flavor that complements the rest of the ingredients. If 1 ¼ cups of butter seems like a lot to you in this recipe it is because butter loses about 25% of its liquid when it is browned. So you end up with closer to 1 cup of butter by the time you add it into the mixing bowl.
If your cookies are too flat, this is usually a result of not chilling the butter after it has been browned. We need the butter chilled back to room temperature so that air can be whipped into it when it is creamed together with the sugars and eggs. Otherwise you will end up with puddles for cookies.
Typically, if your cookies are hard after they have cooled it means that you didn’t make the cookies large enough. Remember, we’re using about 4 tablespoons of dough per cookie. If you make them smaller they will end up slightly overbaked and won’t have that same soft center that you get with the larger cookies.
- Make sure your flour is measured correctly. Too much flour is a cardinal sin in baking. You need to take care when measuring it, I prefer to weigh my flour, but otherwise take a second to review our guide on How to Measure Flour Properly. Too much flour in your cookies can make them dry, tough, crumbly, or too thick, none of which are good.
- Get all the brown bits in your brown butter. After you brown your butter you’ll see all sorts of little brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Those are toasted milk solids and they add a delicious toasted and salty flavor to the brown butter chocolate chip cookies. So scrape every last bit of them into your bowl for maximum flavor.
How to make pretty cookies:
- Make your cookies big! Bigger cookies look prettier. I use ¼ cup of dough for the perfect crispy and gooey ratio. This is my favorite cookie scoop to use.
- Before you put your cookie dough balls in the oven top them with a few extra chocolate chips. This makes sure you've got some chocolate chips picture perfect on top of every cookie.
- Right when your cookies come out of the oven bang the pan on the counter. the pushes the cookies out and gives them those beautiful wrinkles.
- If your cookies are a little misshapen it's okay, you can fix them. While the cookies are still hot take your spatula and gently push in the edges anywhere the cookies aren't perfectly round. You can also use a large round cookie cutter or even a large mason jar to shape your cookies. Just move the cookie cutter in a circular motion around the cookie to make it a perfect circle.
How to Store this Recipe
How to freeze cookie dough.
I love to have a stock of these in my freezer for when I'm craving a cookie or in case I need to bring a little treat to someone fast! So here's what you'll want to do:
- Scoop the cookie dough into ¼ cup balls and line them up on a lined cookie sheet and place the entire cookie sheet in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. This is going to make sure they maintain their shape and don't get squished and misshapen in the freezer
- Then you can place them in a freezer safe gallon back or stack them on top of each other in a tupperware container, I like to place a piece of parchment paper, wax paper, or even plastic wrap in between the layers of cookie dough so that they don't get stuck to each other. You can freeze these for up to 3 months.
- Before baking, pull out however many cookie dough balls you want and let them sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Then bake according to normal instructions, you may need to add a minute to the baking time
How to Store at Room Temperature
- To maintain the crispy edges and soft centers, my preferred method of storing these is to leave them on a plate or tray and loosely cover them with a towel over night.
- If you decide to store them in a sealed container (like a Ziploc bag or Tupperware) The cookies will likely lose their crisp exterior and take on a chewy texture overall (still delicious though!).
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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Brown 1 ¼ cups of butter in a medium-large saucepan, stirring constantly over medium-high heat, until you reach a deep honey color. Remove from heat and pour into your mixing bowl. Cool butter in fridge or freezer until room temperature consistency, you want your butter to be solid. If you use it when its still liquid your cookies will be flat.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease baking sheets with cooking spray or line with silicone mats or parchment paper.
- Once butter has set up, cream together butter and both sugars for 1 minute. Add in eggs and vanilla for and additional 2-3 minutes until the mixture is pale and fluffy. (Make sure you get all those toasty brown bits at the bottom of your brown butter!)
- Add in flour, baking soda, and salt. Only mix the dry ingredients in until just barely combined—over mixing will make the cookies tough. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Take ¼ cup of dough (about 68 grams) and shape into round balls bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the top and edges are just golden. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
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originally published August 19, 2018