Improve your chocolate chip cookies with browned butter

April 29, 2014

By Maria Nelson

It’s hard to argue that few things are not improved by the addition of browned butter.

Over the course of the past few years, browned butter has pretty much taken over the world of baking. The thinking goes that any recipe that calls for butter can definitely be improved by the addition of butter that’s been melted, and milk solids that have been browned and caramelized. In my view, it’s pretty sound thinking. The alchemy that occurs when browning butter is nothing short of magical.

By Maria Nelson Kick your chocolate chip cookies up a notch by using browned butter.

By Maria Nelson
Kick your chocolate chip cookies up a notch by using browned butter.

Browned butter adds a salty complexity to baked goods and leaves the uninitiated wondering just what makes that cookie or that banana bread they’ve just devoured more amazing than anything they’ve ever had before.

Once the darling of the strictly savory, browned butter is now finding itself the darling of the sweet. Recipes for browned butter ice cream, pancakes, icing and, my personal favorite, browned butter crispy rice treats, are plentiful and bakers everywhere are continually thinking up ways to include browned butter in new and wonderful recipes.

If you haven’t had a browned butter chocolate chip cookie yet, I think it’s time you did.


Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 18-24 cookies

(Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated)


  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted
  •       butter, divided
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons pure
  •       vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 whole egg yolk
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet
  •       chocolate chips or chunks
  • ½ cup chopped nut (optional)

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir the flour and the soda together with a whisk to break up any lumps. Set aside. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt 10 tablespoons of the butter over medium low heat. Watch the butter carefully, swirling the pan periodically until the butter begins to turn a dark-brown caramel color. The butter can burn quickly, so be careful.

Remove the pan from the heat, and pour the melted butter over the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter that you’ve placed in another medium-sized bowl. Let the hot butter melt the room-temperature butter, and then allow the mixture to rest until it comes to room temperature.

Once it has cooled, add the sugars, salt, extract, whole egg and egg yolk, and whisk. Whisk for 30 seconds until combined. Let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes, and then repeat by whisking and resting two more times. The mixture will begin to look thick and glossy.

Add the flour and soda mixture, switching to a wooden spoon to stir and combine. Add the chocolate chips and the nuts, if desired.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a small cookie scoop to portion the dough evenly and space about six cookies per sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan half way through baking.

Let cool 3-4 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with flaky salt.


Maria Nelson is a blogger and food photographer living in Issaquah. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Relish Magazine, Buzz Feed, Daily Candy and other online publications. Find her at


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