Oh my cookie.
This is a good one.
It starts with nutty brown butter. Dark brown sugar and bittersweet chocolate add a carmel-like sweetness without tasting sugary. Sea salt tops it off (literally).
Have you ever craved potato chips after eating sweets? That's because your taste buds are calling out to you to balance the sweetness with some salt. That won't happen with these cookies; they won't leave you desiring anything. They might, in fact, be perfect.
I hadn't realized that there were people who devote their entire kitchen time to achieving the perfect chocolate chip cookie. My pondering of this recipe began when I knew I wanted something traditional, but with a twist. I must have heard of the brown butter/chocolate chip combo somewhere before, because it's not something I would have come up with on my own (having never browned butter myself). But it had somehow become catalogued in my mind and I retrieved the idea earlier in the week, then started my online search for a recipe to model. This is where I came upon the chocolate chip cookie fanatics. The interesting thing is that none of them seem to be competing against each other; rather, they are competing against themselves, trying to outdo their most recent "best" recipe.
The recipe below is based on one such best recipe. It's from Sugar Cooking, and apparently was based on a recipe featured in the New York Times, but with brown butter. I made a couple very minor changes (mostly due to ingredients I had on hand). The original recipe called for a combo of cake flour and bread flour - I used all purpose flour, which turned out fine. I substituted dark brown sugar for light brown sugar. For chocolate, I used a combo of a 70% cacao bar, chopped, and 60% cacao big chocolate chips (since that's what I had on hand). The recipe below reflects my changes.
This makes a lot of cookies, but that's a good thing because you're going to want to give some to everyone you know so they can experience the same joy that you do when you bite into one.
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 5 1/2 dozen
3 2/3 c. flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
scant 1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
2 1/2 sticks butter, sliced
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. bittersweet chocolate (chips or chopped)
coarse sea salt
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Combine sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Heat a thick bottomed pan over medium heat (I used my Le Creuset French Oven - the light interior of the pan makes it easier to see the color of the butter to help prevent burning it). Add butter to pan. Once melted, whisk constantly. It will foam and eventually begin to brown (this took about 10 minutes for me, but I imagine this varies widely depending on your pan and heat). Once the butter has reached a deep caramel color and has a nutty aroma, remove it from heat and pour over sugars (do not mix). Transfer sugar-butter bowl to fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove the bowl from fridge and secure to stand mixer. Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat for 30 seconds. Add flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Mix in chocolate. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll 1 1/2 balls of dough and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Top with sea salt. Bake about 12 minutes, until golden. Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
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