It's a bold statement - "the best" - and it's a true one for these cookies. Warm, nutty brown butter weaves itself through a chocolate-chip-studded, perfectly chewy healthier classic cookie.
Stop what you’re doing. Put your phone down (unless you’re reading this on your phone, in which case you are excused). Turn off the TV. Hold still. Take your mind off whatever you’ve got baking in the oven for dinner for just a sec and hear me when I say that these are the best brown butter chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies. Do not doubt me. Do not roll your eyes, even though I know how many times you’ve heard and read “the best” before a cup of coffee or a cheeseburger or a donut or some other classic for which “the best” version of will probably always be up for debate. I’m just sayin’.
These really are the best though. I’m as serious about that as I am about my morning coffee and exercise routine (do. not. dare. interrupt.).
Amidst a period of stress-inducing, nail-bitingly low recipe inspiration and free-time in my schedule for the blog in the last month, I scrolled through older existing recipes that I thought could maybe use a little, I don’t know, makeover or something. A little touch-up. Some tooshie tightening, if you will. My computer froze on the page that displayed my now previous recipe for brown butter chocolate chip cookies and I thought I should see that as a flashing neon light sent from the heavens that reads “FIX ME”. Plus, chocolate chip cookies sounded like quite a delightful treat at the time, and even though I didn’t have any to bite into in the moment, just the mere thought of one and knowing I’d sink my teeth into a ~perfect~ one soon satisfied the craving.
I turned to the trusty Bon Appétit’s BA’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe to compare it to the one I’d been using and had posted here. I even watched Chris Morocco make the cookies from start to finish on YouTube, and much to my surprise, those thirteen minutes came in handy because I learned that the way I’d been browning butter was eliminating another key element in cookie-making. As you’ll see in the recipe directions, I’m telling you to brown 2/3 of the butter, not all of it. The remaining un-browned 1/3 will be chopped into cubes and added to the brown butter just to melt it.
Butter contains a small amount of water, and the flour in a cookie recipe needs that small amount of water to form gluten to help hold the cookie together. When butter is heated to the point of browning, all the water evaporates, concentrating the flavor of the butter into the pure delicious, warm nuttiness by which we know and love it. By browning just 2/3 of the butter and letting the other 1/3 simply melt, we’re allowing gluten to form and brown butter to come through at the same time.
So that’s just one reason these are the best. Because you’re already here and because I could talk about these for days, I’ll give you a few more.
Whole-wheat flour and rolled oats actually enhance not only the nutritional value of the cookies (not that you should be focusing on that, but it’s a perk) with fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals, but also the flavor and texture. Known for it’s nutty flavor, whole-wheat flour compliments the rich and also nutty brown butter. Rolled oats add a hearty texture to each bite, absorbing just a bit of moisture while still keeping the cookie both chewy and soft.
They’re healthy, but they don’t scream it at you. If they were humans, they’d be the nice, genuine men who don’t feel the need to tell you upfront that they are nice and genuine.
It’s not too often you stumble upon a cookie recipe like this. Grab this opportunity by its horns and make! some! (of the best ever) brown butter cookies!
Makes about 18-20 cookies
2 large pasture-raised eggs
3/4 cup turbinado sugar (raw cane sugar)
1 1/2 sticks grass-fed butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus a pinch more for sprinkling on top
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips, plus more for garnish
Brown the butter. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 1 stick of butter. Once the butter has melted completely, continue stirring every minute or so and watch it turn from a light yellow to golden to a deeper amber color. While the butter browns, chop the other half stick into small cubes. When the butter reaches the deep amber color, turn off the heat and add the cubed butter. Stir and let this melt completely. Finally, transfer the browned butter to a ceramic bowl to let it cool.
Mix the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cooled browned butter, turbinado sugar, and vanilla extract and beat on high until smooth. You’ll see it turn from a dark caramel color to a light maple-y color. Granules of turbinado sugar will remain, but they should be sparse. Set aside.
Stir together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl until well-incorporated. You shouldn’t see any lumps of flour or baking soda. In small batches, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined after each addition. Add the chocolate chips and stir again. Cover and refrigerate for 45-60 minutes. Do not skip this step! Without refrigeration, the cookies will flatten when they bake and you’ll miss out on a delicious textural element here.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a medium-size cookie scooper to transfer the dough to the baking sheets and top each portion with a sprinkle of sea salt and 4-5 additional chocolate chips. Bake for 8-9 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. I placed both my sheets on the same shelf by sliding them into the oven lengthwise. Halfway through, I rotated the baking sheets 180 degrees because the back of the oven is hotter than the front, so each cookie should experience the same amount of heat.
Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets. This step is essential to allow the cookies to finish the baking process and firm up. Give them at least 10-12 minutes of cooling time on the baking sheets.
Finally, serve and enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.