My Dad is a simple meat and potatoes man. He doesn’t like his food served with fuss or pompousness. So, for his birthday I knew I needed to bake him something simple but substantial. There is no cookie more homegrown all ‘Merican than a basic chocolate chip cookie. And it just seemed fitting for him. I usually make an oatmeal version; sometimes with nuts or coconut, but I decided to keep it simple and play with a classic.
Most people have strong opinions on who makes the best chocolate chip cookies, usually stemming from memories of their Grandmother’s cookie jar. Since Ruth Wakefield accidentally invented the original Toll House version in the 1930’s there have been many imitators claiming to be the best ever. Her classic recipe will always be an American gem, loved and shared amongst friends and family for the better party of a century. I would never claim to have improved this recipe, but I will say this brown butter chocolate chip with sea salt version is something very special. It has become a game changer in my baking repertoire.
I didn’t want to stray too far from the basic Toll House classic recipe (much respect for the cookie OG, Mrs. Wakefield) but I did want to add a modern twist to the historic treasure. The browned butter adds a nutty, rich depth and complexity to the basic cookie dough. I think it also helps to keep the cookies soft and velvety for many days after baking. The slight dusting of sea salt balances the richness of the brown butter creating a new layer of flavor without overpowering the cookie. After making 3 batches in 3 days, (people went crazy for these things) I came to the conclusion that everyone loves a good chocolate chip cookie whether it is the standard or something with a few simple modifications. Just don’t add nuts. People are very passionate about this. Give it a try and let me know where you stand on the great chocolate chip cookie debate.
Based on this text from my Dad, they were a hit with him (yahoo!). It just goes to show you, the classics are timeless and popular for a reason; they are GD tasty!
- unsalted butter, softened - 1 cup (2 sticks)
- light brown sugar, lightly packed - 1 cup
- granulated sugar - 1/2 cup
- pure vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons
- large egg - 1
- large egg yolk - 1
- all-purpose flour - 2 1/4 cups
- salt - 1 teaspoon
- baking soda - 1 teaspoon
- baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- dark chocolate chips - 1 cup
- milk chocolate chips - 1 cup
- coarse sea salt for sprinkling - 1 tablespoon
- Brown 1 stick of butter in a medium sized pan over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt completely Just before it starts to brown it will begin to foam up.
- Slowly whisk or swirl the butter until it begins to turn a warm chestnut color, tiny brown flecks start to form on the bottom of the pan. This is a delicate process, so stay vigilant, You want the butter browned but not burnt. Once you’ve browned the butter pour it into a bowl and allow to cool, I generally stick it in the fridge to hurry this process along (just don't leave it in too long; you still want it in liquid form).
- In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the other stick of butter with the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Mix on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.
- Slowly add the brown butter, you don't want the brown butter too warm or it will melt the sugars prematurely and make for thin cookies. Mix on medium speed for another 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Carefully add the egg and egg yolk and mix for another minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl thoroughly.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low until the flour is just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula or wooden spoon.
- Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You must not skip this step, if the dough is too warm the cookies will spread like thin crepes. Once the cookies have chilled, preheat the oven to 350°.
- Line cookie sheets with Silpat mats or parchment paper and scoop cookies with a small scoop or larger scoop for big boy cookies. Place 2 inches apart and sprinkle each ball with with sea salt.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of dough balls. Rotate the trays halfway through.
- Let cool for a couple minutes and transfer to cooling racks. If you like extra salt, add a little now while the chocolate is warm and melty.
- *Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also refrigerate the dough for up to 5 days and bake more as needed.