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Nutty Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chewy in the middle and crispy on the edges
Nutty Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies must be close to absolute cookie perfection. They’re soft in the middle, chewy on the edges and have tons of flavor from the browned butter, toasted walnuts and pockets of semisweet chocolate.
Can you taste browned butter in cookies?
Yes, you really can taste the browned butter in these cookies. Browned butter has a nutty, buttery flavor almost like toffee. It adds richness to baked goods giving them a deeper, nutty flavor. It tastes a lot like it smells while cooking: nutty and buttery.
You may be wondering if it’s worth the extra 5 minutes it takes to make the brown butter. Absolutely! In addition to adding flavor, using melted butter in this recipe helps make the cookies a little more chewy. Flavor and chewiness, double bonus!
- unsalted butter browned and cooled slightly
- toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
- all-purpose flour
- cornstarch which helps keep the cookies a little softer
- baking soda
- table salt or sea salt
- dark or light brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- large eggs and one egg yolk
- vanilla extract
- semisweet chocolate chips
How to make Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1. Make the browned butter
Melt the butter in a small light colored skillet over medium-low heat. Once the butter separates and the solids remain on the bottom of the pan, stir constantly until the solids start to brown. Immediately remove from the heat when the butter starts to smell a little nutty.
TIPS: Use a light color skillet so you will be able to see when the butter is browned. This happens quickly so don’t walk away from the stove-top. The butter doesn’t need to be super dark; light to medium brown is fine.
Pour the melted browned butter and brown bits into a large mixing bowl and cool while preparing the walnuts and cookie dough ingredients.
2. How to toast walnuts
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the walnut halves on the pan in a single layer.
Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the walnuts are lightly toasted and smell nutty. Remove to a bowl and cool while preparing the cookie dough.
3. Make the cookie dough
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar to the brown butter in the large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer beat on medium speed until lightened in color. Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time blending well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix until blended.
Add the dry ingredients in three additions mixing just until incorporated. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and fold together with a wooden spoon.
Cover and chill the dough for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
4. Bake the cookies
When ready to bake remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator to soften for at least 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Use a large cookie scoop or small ice cream scoop to portion out 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of dough. Roll into a tall-ball (don’t flatten the ball of dough) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the sides are light golden brown and the middle is just set.
Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before storing.
How to make brown butter for chocolate chip cookies
The single most important thing to do when making brown butter is to use a light color skillet so you can see the color of the solids on the bottom.
The browning happens quickly. You have to be able to tell if it’s browned enough before removing from the heat before it burns.
- Add the butter to a small stainless skillet set over medium-low heat. After the butter melts and foams it will separate with little flecks of solids settling on the bottom of the pan.
- Once this happens the solids will brown quickly so don’t walk away from the stove-top. Stir gently until the solids darken to golden brown.
- Take care that the solids don’t over-brown or burn. You can reduce the heat if needed. Immediately remove the browned butter to a bowl and cool. If you leave it in the pan it may continue to darken or burn.
Options and cookie variations
You can use pecans or walnuts in this recipe or feel free to leave out the nuts if needed. The cookie yield will be closer to 28 or 30 cookies instead of 32 if not using walnuts.
Dark chocolate, chocolate chunks or bittersweet chips are a great substitute for the semisweet chocolate chips. Another option is to use half milk chocolate chips with half semisweet for a sweeter cookie.
Substitute dark brown sugar for the light brown sugar but watch the baking time carefully. It’s hard to tell when the edges are browned as the cookie dough is darker to begin with. The toffee flavor of dark brown sugar is pretty great, however.
Freezing and storing Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cookie dough balls can be flash frozen on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer the dough balls to a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months.
Bake the frozen dough balls for an extra 2 minutes or so.
Fully baked cookies can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Store the fully cooled, baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Add a half slice of sandwich bread to the container if needed for a softer cookie.
TIPS for the BEST Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Never allow the cookie dough balls to sit on a hot pan. Alternate cookie sheets if needed to ensure you’re using a cool pan with each batch. I use a rimless cookie sheet so the parchment can slide on and off the pan as needed.
- Do not over-bake the cookies. Start by testing out a few cookies to pinpoint the best time for your oven. The centers should be just barely set, but not raw.
- Don’t flatten the cookie dough balls when placing on the baking sheet. Leave the dough mound as tall as you can as this will make for a thicker cookie that doesn’t spread. Thicker is typically chewier.
- Allow the chilled cookie dough to rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before trying to scoop into balls.
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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter browned and cooled (226g or 8oz)
- 1 cup walnuts lightly toasted and coarsely chopped (4oz or 114g)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (378g)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups light brown sugar packed (282g)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (110g)
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12oz)
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
For the brown butter:
- Melt the butter in a small, light colored skillet over medium-low heat. Once the butter separates and the solids remain on the bottom of the pan stir constantly until the solids start to brown. Remove from the heat when the butter starts to smell a little nutty. Pour the melted butter into a large mixing bowl and cool slightly.
To toast the walnuts:
- Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the walnuts are lightly toasted. Cool while preparing the cookie dough.
For the cookie dough:
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Add the sugars to the browned butter in the large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer beat on medium speed until well blended and lightened in color. Add the eggs and egg yolk blending just until the yolks disappear. Add the vanilla and mix until blended. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula. Blend again until combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the batter in three additions mixing just until incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with the spatula. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and fold together with a wooden spoon until combined.
- Cover and refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
- When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Set the cookie dough out at room temperature for 20 minutes to soften.
- Using a cookie scoop portion out 2 and ½ tablespoons of dough. Roll into a tall-ball and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the sides are light brown and the middle is just set. The cookies will look slightly under-baked. Don’t over-bake the cookies.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- This recipe makes 32 large three-inch cookies.
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- Once cookie dough balls are formed they can be frozen for up to 3 months. Store well sealed in an airtight container. Add a minute or two to the total baking time when baking frozen cookie dough.
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies make everything better
I know there’s a million cookie recipes out there in the world. It’s really hard to know which one to make and which ones fall short of expectations. I get it.
But if you’ve made our recipes before, you know we test all recipes to perfection. This recipe has been on the blog for almost 10 years and is still one of my favorites. Grab a class of cold milk; we’ve got cookies in the house!
For more delicious chocolate chip cookie recipes check out our Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and these really great Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with chocolate chips.
And finally don’t miss this recipe for a Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet. They’re all great recipes I know you’ll love.
Originally published January 2013, updated September 2022
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