Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Recently, I’ve been having the urge to bake. Perhaps it’s the change of season that has been motivating me to make warm and delicious treats. Or the fact that my birthday is this week and I wanted to bring goodies with me to work as a nod to the days of elementary school, when bringing in cupcakes to share was practically required. When I came across these cookies on Pinterest, my heart skipped a beat. Chocolate chip cookies stuffed with nutella? Is this possible?

Spoiler alert: I skipped out on the nutella. I got incredibly frustrated (and messy: nutella on my new shirt) with the stuffing process and decided these chocolate chip cookies would be fine without the nutella. And fine they were indeed. My 19-year-old brother said they were the best chocolate chip cookies that he’s ever had… A bold statement since my Aunt’s chocolate chip cookies are kind of famous around here.

I had never made cookies with brown butter before, but let me tell you, it made all the difference. I spend a few minutes whisking the butter with frustration… “When is this going to BROWN,” I yelled to my mom. And then it was like magic, in an instant the butter became a golden brown color and I could smell the nutty, caramel-y aroma wafting throughout the kitchen.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
(makes 3 dozen)

  • 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions-

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Cut the sticks of butter into quarters and begin melting over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Once the butter begins to foam, whisk continuously until the butter turns a golden brown color and gives off a nutty, caramel-y aroma. This may take a few minutes, be patient! Transfer the butter to a bowl and let cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until blended. Then beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients in 3-4 additions, mixing until just combined. Then, fold in the chocolate chips. At this point, the dough may be very crumbly and shiny (read: greasy from all that butter). I actually folded the chocolate chips in with my hands because a spoon wasn’t going to do the job. Chill the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes. The original recipe suggests refrigerating for 2 hours, I will try this next time if I’m not pressed for time.

Form the dough into 1-2 tablespoon-size balls. Press the balls flat in the palm of your hand so you have a thick disk shape. If you want to try stuffing the cookies with nutella, flatted the dough ball until very thin, place a small amount of chilled nutella in the middle, roll up the edges and reshape into a ball, making sure no nutella is coming out of the cookie. The dough kept crumbling and cracking on me when I tried to stuff the cookies. Maybe it was because I skipped the tablespoon of greek yogurt that the original recipe uses? Maybe it was because I was in a hurry to get these in the oven and needed to freeze them for 30 minutes instead of chilling in the refrigerator for 2 hours? Maybe I’ll try again, but to be honest, I think these are decadent and sweet enough without the nutella.

Bake the cookies in a 350-degree oven for 9-11 minutes on parchment lined baking sheets. Once the cookies are out of the oven, sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy! The chewy, crackled tops are perfection and the flavor from the brown butter is so decadent, after one bite it’s clear: these are definitely not your everyday chocolate-chip cookies.

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