browned butter chocolate chip cookies

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Chocolate chip cookies. Has there ever been a recipe with more variations? I certainly can’t think of any at the moment. Browning half the butter is one of the things that really makes these cookies special.  It adds a faint sweet nuttiness to them that is just wonderful.  That characteristic combined with slightly crispy edges, a soft interior, and lots of melty bittersweet chocolate make these the best.  Now what are you waiting for?  You should totally go make a batch of these cookies.

cookies

 
Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour (I use this almost exclusively now, but feel free to use all-purpose)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts), coarsely chopped
1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli is my favorite!)

 
First, brown the butter so it can be cooling while you get everything else ready.  To do this, place 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. If you have a pan with a light bottom, use it for this.  It will be easier to make sure you don’t burn the butter.  When the butter has melted it will crackle as the water cooks out. Gently swirl the butter occasionally. When the crackling stops, watch the butter closely so it doesn’t burn.  It will start to brown very quickly. When it smells nutty and is a dark amber color, remove the pan from the heat and scrape butter and browned bits into a bowl to cool.

While the browned butter cools, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Set aside.

Next, cream the other stick of butter and the granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium for about 3 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Stir in the vanilla and molasses.  Pour the cooled butter in and cream with the brown sugar, for about 2 minutes.  Add the egg and yolk and beat for 1 minute more.

On low speed, add all of the flour and mix just until incorporated.  Fold the pecans and chocolate in with a spatula.

Chill the dough in a covered bowl for 30 minutes before forming cookie dough balls.  I like to use a stainless-steel ice cream scoop for this task, because it yields perfectly equal-sized cookies.  After your cookies are formed, you can refrigerate for a few days, or freeze for several weeks (but they probably won’t last that long).

If you’re ready to bake now, preheat the oven to 375°F.  Place cookie balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for about 12 minutes until set in the center and slightly golden on the edges.  If you can stand it, allow them to cool for a few minutes before digging in.

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