Thursday, November 15, 2012

Browned Butter & Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

To me, there are three categories of chocolate chip cookies: Those that come from a mix or some sort of tube, the simple, puffy chocolate chip cookies you enjoy with a glass of milk after school, and the fancy, foodie versions that call for things like browned butter and sea salt that add little twists on a classic. Each are delicious in their own right (okay.. except for that weird canned dough.. I mean come on, I can't really advocate for that on a homemade baking blog can I?!) and I'm sure we all enjoy a good chocolate chip cookie every now and then. This is one of those chocolate chip recipes that has a few added extras which really make them something special. You may not quite be able to put your finger on the little hints of this and that, but trust me when I say that the result is one delicious cookie! Using browned butter instead of just regular butter adds a rich, nutty caramel flavour, and the addition of a pinch of nutmeg enhances the buttery flavour even further. In general, adding a little bit of nutmeg brings out the buttery flavour in dishes, which is why it's often also used in Alfredo sauce, mashed potatoes, and other creamy sauces. A sprinkle of sea salt on top of each cookie creates the irresistible salty-sweet combination with the chocolate chips. I brought a batch of these to a meeting and was handed back an empty container in less than fifteen minutes!


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter (directions on how to brown butter follow)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups milk or semisweet chocolate chunks or chips, divided use
Medium-grain sea salt


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper, or grease with butter.
How to Brown Butter: Browned butter is just simply butter that has been cooked a little past its melting point, so that the milk solids brown and a delicious nutty aroma and flavour develops. It really creates a delicious flavour and you can use browned butter in many other recipes. To brown butter, just place the 3/4 cup called for in this recipe in a medium skillet over medium heat. Slice the butter into smaller chunks before adding it to the skillet to ensure even melting. Melt the butter, whisking frequently. Once melted, a light foam should form on top of the butter. Continue whisking and watching the butter carefully until it begins to turn a light-medium brown. You will definitely tell the difference in colour from the initial melted butter and will be able to detect a nutty aroma when you smell the butter. Once the butter has browned, quickly remove it from the heat and transfer to a bowl or liquid measuring cup to stop the heating process. Set aside. Note: It is easy for browned butter to go from perfect to burnt, so if you notice any black specks then I suggest throwing it away and starting over otherwise the flavour will not be pleasant. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. In a separate, large bowl, whisk together the browned butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until well blended. Add in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. 

Mix in the dry ingredients by hand with a large spoon, until just blended. Stir in 1 and 1/2 cups of the chocolate chips until evenly distributed throughout the batter and set aside the remaining 1/2 cup of chips.

Drop 1-2 Tbsp. of cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them at least 1-2 inches apart. Press the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips onto the tops of the cookies and lightly sprinkle the top of each cookie with sea salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges of the cookies begin to lightly brown. Cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Even though these cookies are a little fancier you can still enjoy them with a big glass of milk!

*Recipe by Brooke McMillan

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