Brown butter and bittersweet chocolate chunk cookies with flaked sea salt! Wow, that’s a mouthful! Literally! I just can’t find any way to shorten it. Each ingredient is so vital to the recipe. When I tell you that I have been working on the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe (or at least what I consider to be the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe) for years, believe me. I am serious about my chocolate chip cookies. I know some that only prefer soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies and some that are fans of thin, crisp chocolate chip cookies. I happen to appreciate both for different reasons. This cookie combines the best of both worlds. It has a bit of crispness around the edges while still remaining soft and chewy on the interior. So, what don’t I like in a chocolate chip cookie? Well, it mostly comes down to the flour/butter ratio and also slightly the sugar and chocolate quantity. If the flour content is too high in relation to the butter, you end up with a tough, flour forward tasting, cookie bomb. If there is too much butter in relation to the flour, the cookies will not retain structure and be greasy. The sweetness of this cookie is nicely balanced by the flaked sea salt and contains just the right amount of chocolate! I know it sounds crazy, but there is such a thing as adding too much chocolate to a chocolate chip cookie. I want to taste that which holds the chocolate pieces as well as the chocolate. I have had giant chocolate chip cookies, loaded with chocolate, that look amazing, but all I end up tasting is chocolate. If all I want to taste is chocolate, I’m going for a finely crafted piece of dark chocolate, not a cookie.
In addition to the right balance of ingredients, the method for making these cookies is also important. As with many baked treats, not overmixing helps to retain the tenderness of the cookie. So, no over mixing, okay? Now for the most important step to follow… the refrigeration of the cookie dough for 2 hours or overnight (if you have the willpower). I know it’s hard when you’re craving a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. The cookie dough is made, you’ve
possibly most likely sampled the raw dough and you’re now anticipating the awesomeness of that warm, melty, crisp yet tender, cookie! Allowing the dough to rest in the refrigerator causes the fats to solidify resulting in cookies that don’t spread flat. In addition, the flavor develops as the cookie dough becomes more concentrated throughout the resting time.
Wanting all my ingredients to shine in this cookie, I chose a quality chocolate and chopped it myself. I prefer the variation in size that hand-chopped chocolate provides. So much time has been spent in the preparation of the recipe… browning the butter and resting the dough. Let’s honor that time investment with the best chocolate we can find/afford. In my area, the best option was Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate 70%. I purchase the 9.7 0z. size, using half for this recipe and the other half for the next time I make these fabulous cookies.
I just want to mention one more thing regarding the method for preparing these cookies. Most of you already know this, but in case you don’t, measuring your flour properly is key to achieving perfect results. You need to stir your flour with a spoon to lighten it. Then, spoon flour into your measuring cup, overfilling the measuring cup and leveling excess off with a knife. If the flour is simply scooped up with the measuring cup, you could mismeasure by as much as 1/4 cup. Yikes!
I hope that you receive as much enjoyment from these cookies as I do. I am always learning and experimenting with recipes, so I’ll never say that this is it, no need to try anything new, but for now…I’m totally content.
Yields: 30 (if scooped with a 1/8 cup scoop)
Preheat oven 375°
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
- 1/2 cup cake flour (I use King Arthur)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon if using sea salt or table salt)
- 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup quality bittersweet chocolate (70%), roughly chopped
- flaked sea salt for finishing after the cookies come out of the oven (I use Maldon)
Begin by creating your brown butter. Place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. The butter will be very noisy and sputtering. When it starts to quiet down, pay attention, that’s when you will begin to see it starting to brown. The milk solids that have sunk to the bottom of your pan will now be brown, be careful not to let them burn. Pour into a glass measuring cup and allow to cool (15-20 minutes).
Meanwhile, sift all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Mix with a whisk to combine and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the browned butter with the brown and white sugar and mix on medium speed until well combined (1-2 minutes). Add in the eggs, (one at a time, mixing well after each addition) and vanilla. At this point, your mixture will be thickened and almost resemble frosting. Now, with your mixer on low, slowly add your flour mixture, turning off the mixer just before it is completely combined. Remove your bowl from the stand mixer, add the chopped chocolate, gently stir until combined and chocolate is evenly distributed. Refrigerate dough for a minimum of two hours or overnight.
After dough has rested, adjust the oven rack to center, preheat the oven to 375° and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop or a 1/8 cup measure, place 9 scoops of cookie dough on the lined cookie sheet, spaced about 1 1/2″ apart (reference the above photo). Bake in preheated oven for 9-11 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes, then remove to cooling rack. Repeat this process with the remaining dough, refrigerating the unused dough between baking shifts. While cookies are still warm, sprinkle with the flaked salt and try not to eat the whole batch!