Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Golden brown, crisp edges. Thin crisp skin on the outside. Soft and slightly chewy middle filled with puddles of melted milk and dark chocolate. Sweet, salty and chocolatey with hints of nutty aroma and flavour. Comforting and homely.
It took me a while to perfect our version of brown butter chocolate chip cookies. I wanted a cookie which will be full of flavour, cookie that is not too sugary but still has crisp edges and skin, cookie which forms perfect shape after baking. To achieve that, in this recipe will ask you for some extra ingredients (like milk powder - optional here but recommended), 3 different types of flour and 3 types of sugar. You can totally disengage at this stage - but - you will be happy if you give it a go!
This is a small batch baking. You will get 15 medium-sized cookies. In this post we are also sharing tips on how to freeze cookies.
For a good bake:
Butter - brown butter brings subtle nutty aroma and flavour. To brown butter, choose pot with bright bottom (to see butter's changing colour). Cut butter into small pieces and melt over low heat, continue cooking. Butter will be noisy, bubbly at first and at one point (4-5 minutes into cooking) it will become silent. It’s a sign that solids have started to cook (brown). It will take you another 1-2 minutes from that point. Watch not to burn. You are going for golden brown colour here. When done, scrape all the bits from the bottom and use everything (that’s your nutty aroma and flavour). I’m using here European-style butter (82-83% fat). Measure final yield of brown butter - the recipe asks for 115g of brown butter. If you are unsure what butter to use and how the process will go, you can always increase butter amount to 150-155g to make sure you have enough when butter is browned. 1-3% fat difference in butters will yield different amount after browning (and the amount of water which will evaporate during browning may differ from brand to brand).
Creaming - in this bake we are mixing browned butter and olive oil and refrigerate to solidify both. When testing these cookies, together with other factors, creaming yielded better texture and final shape of baked cookies. Refrigerate liquid butter mixed with olive until solidified and then bring to room temperature (it will take about 15 minutes). Start to cream when the butter is at 15-16 C (not fully room temp, as you will warm up the mixture during creaming). How do you know that butter/olive mixture is ready to use? Make a small dent and your finger should leave a visible mark (but the mixture shouldn’t feel too oily or leave oily marks on the surface). Cream for 2-3 minutes only.
Sugar - there are 3 types of sugar in this cookie. White sugar gives volume, light brown sugar brings slight chewiness and golden syrup richer flavour and crispier skin on the outside.
Flours - there are 3 types of flour used in these cookies. Bread flour helps to keep structure of the cookie intact (nicer shape) and wholemeal spelt brings more texture and enhances nutty aroma of brown butter.
Milk powder - I have marked this ingredient as optional. If you don’t have it - don’t replace it with liquid milk, just skip that ingredient altogether. However, here are some arguments to explain why it’s worth to add milk powder or malted milk powder to your kitchen cabinet. Using milk powder in cookie baking allows for control of liquid content. Adding liquid milk to this cookie would change its texture and shape. Thanks to milk powder cookies are chewier, more dense, there is a greater concentration of milk sugars and proteins. This in turn enhances texture, flavour and overall visual aspect (lovely brown colour). To bring the flavour one step further - you can use malted milk powder. Once you get a pack of milk powder you can use it in cookies, brownies, ice cream, cakes or yeasted dough. You can read more on this ingredient here.
Chocolate - we are using coarsely chopped chocolate. I love the way chocolate breaks down in the dough and infuses extra flavour during dough rest. This is why I let the whole portion of the dough to mature (rather than maturing separately formed cookies). You will get darker dough with richer butterscotch aroma. Chocolate chips work just fine too - use whichever option suits you best. We are using here Lindt chocolate (mix of milk and dark chocolate).
Raising agents - be conservative with measurement - use flat teaspoons, less is more here (otherwise you will end up with cake-y texture).
Preparing the dough - cream butter with sugar only for 2-3 minutes and then make sure to fully incorporate egg so that the mass is glossy and creamy. When adding flour - don’t over-mix - few swift moves will bring the dough together. Over-mixing will make cookies hard and you may release too much gluten (powdery after-taste in baked cookies). After adding chocolate - again - few swift moves, the dough should look rough and not fully combined (see picture). When done, bring the dough by hand, wrap in the cling film and refrigerate.
Chilling - 48hrs chilling (dough) will create beautiful cookie flavour and texture. You will be happy if you don’t rush this step. After the initial rest - shape cookies into cookie balls . For even cookies you may opt to use weighing scale (55g per cookie gives nice shape to the final cookie, with nice balance between crispy edges and soft/chewy centre). Make sure to chill shaped cookies before baking (1-4hrs).
Storage and freezing - I love to freeze cookie balls or baked cookies to have freshly baked cookies whenever we feel like enjoying one. To freeze cookie balls - proceed like in the recipe and refrigerate shaped cookie balls for at least 1 hour. Then, transfer to freezer bag, date and sign and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy - preheat the oven and bake for about 2 minutes longer than in the recipe (14-16 minutes). If you want to freeze baked cookies - fully cool, refrigerate for 1 hour, then place in the freezer bag, date and sign, freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy - preheat the oven (180C/160C fan) and bake for 6-8 minutes.
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
Yield: 15 cookies (55g each)
Time: 30min prep + 48hrs rest + 10min shape + 1hr rest + 12-14min baking
Tin: large tray
140g unsalted butter, should yield 115g brown butter
30g light olive oil
80g white sugar
50g brown cane sugar or light brown sugar
50g golden syrup
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
150g all-purpose (plain) flour
55g bread flour
50g wholemeal spelt flour
10g milk powder or malted milk powder (optional but recommended)
2/3 flat tsp baking soda
1/3 flat tsp baking powder
1 tsp coarse sea salt
100g dark chocolate (70% Cocoa), coarsely chopped
100g milk chocolate (>30% Cocoa), coarsely chopped
Brown butter: In a small pot (with bright bottom) brown butter - melt butter on medium heat and continue to cook until browned. This will take 6-8 minutes. Butter will be noisy at first and then will go silent (sign that solids have started to cook). Watch closely not to burn - it will take about 1-2 minutes from ‘silent’ moment to browned butter. Butter will be light brown in colour, have small light brown speckles at the bottom (that’s your flavour) and lovely nutty aroma. Scrape the bottom of the pot to use all browned bits. Pour browned butter to your main mixing bowl, add olive oil and mix. Cool down and refrigerate until solidified.
Mix the dough: When the butter is ready (room temperature but not oily), add sugars and golden syrup and beat (paddle attachment or handheld mixer) for 2-3 minutes. Add an egg, vanilla bean paste and beat until fully incorporated. In a separate bowl whisk in flours, milk powder, baking soda, baking powder and coarse sea salt. Add all to creamy butter and mix briefly (few swift moves), then add coarsely chopped chocolate or chocolate chips and mix swiftly (don’t over-mix). Roughly shape the dough, wrap in cling film and refrigerate.
Chill the dough for 48hrs.
Shape: When ready, shape the dough into round cookie balls. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper and refrigerate.
Chill shaped cookies for anything between 1-4hrs. When ready, preheat oven to 180C (160C fan forced). Line large baking tray with parchment paper, place 6 cookies per tray.
Bake for 13-14 minutes until edges look golden brown and middle is still slightly pale. Let your cookies cool for 20-25 minutes before serving (texture will set and cookies will form enjoyable crisp skin on the outside).