Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I made a serendipitous discovery the other day, a discovery that countless bakers have made throughout time eternal. On a quest to make chocolate chip cookies it was discovered by my young charges that no chocolate chips remained in the cupboard. Instead, we found a bag of Hershey bars. So, we chopped them up into large chip-sized pieces and used them instead. You know what happens when you use chunks of chocolate bars instead of chocolate chips in cookies? First, they’re bigger, so you get these pockets of chocolate explosions when you eat the cookies. Second, the edges melt into the cookie dough, permeating more of the cookie with chocolatey-ness. Chocolate chips are formulated to hold their shape while baking (less cocoa butter); chocolate bars are made to melt the moment they enter your mouth.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies on Simply Recipes

We used milk chocolate bars for this recipe because that’s what we had. While milk chocolate was a favorite when I was a kid, it is less so now. I usually prefer the darkest chocolate available. However, in this recipe, the milk chocolate chunks work great. They give a warm creaminess to the cookie that wouldn’t be there if you used semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. That said, use whatever chocolate you like. We also brown the butter in the first step of the recipe. Browned butter adds a wonderful nutty aroma to the dough. It’s an added step, but one well worth doing.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

We brown the butter first in this recipe because browned butter adds wonderful flavor to the dough. If you are short on time or don't want to bother, you can skip browning the butter, just start with room temperature butter.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces, 225 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 9 ounces of milk chocolate (or semi-sweet or dark if you prefer) bars, roughly chopped into chunks, about 2 cups
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Method

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1 First brown the butter. Melt the butter in a medium sized, thick-bottomed, stainless steel saucepan (use stainless steel so you can tell when the butter has browned) on medium heat. Continue to cook while the butter goes through various stages of bubbling up and releasing its moisture.  Whisk frequently over several minutes. When you start to smell the nutty aroma of the butter browning, and you can whisk aside some of the foam to see small browned bits at the bottom of the pan, remove from heat and pour off into a bowl. Do not dawdle at this point as it is easy for the butter to go from browned to burnt.

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2 Place the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a bowl and vigorously whisk together.

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3 Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour browned butter into the bowl of a stand-up mixer (if you don't have a mixer, you can just beat by hand). Add the sugars and beat until smooth.  Add the eggs, beating after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract and beat for 3 more minutes.

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4 Stir the flour mixture into the butter sugar mixture a third at a time. Stir in the chocolate chunks and the nuts (if using). Up to this point you can make ahead a day or two and store the cookie dough in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

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5 Line cookie sheets with Silpat or parchment paper (or just lightly butter  rimmed cookie sheets. Spoon out heaping tablespoon hunks of batter onto the cookie sheets, separated by at least 2 inches, allowing room for the cookies to spread as they cook.  You may need to work in batches.

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6 Cook at 350°F for about 12 minutes, the edges of the cookies should be just a little browned. Remove from the oven, let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Then remove the cookies to cool completely on a rack.

 

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Chocolate Chunk Cookies on Simply Recipes

38 Comments

  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Gotta love a classic cookie like this!!

  2. Belinda @themoonblushbaker

    I always use real chocolate bars in my cookies. I only use chips if I want to sprinkle them on the top.got to love the melting goodness

  3. Eric

    Who doesn’t love a good chocolate chip cookie?! These look fantastic :)

  4. Donna Schilling

    For the chocolate chunk cookies, I was wondering if the chocolate bar’s are the ‘thicker’ version of the bar, or the original ‘thin’ version? I understand the required 2 cups, but does the “thickness” of the chocolate matter? Is thicker better?
    Thanks Much, Can’t wait to make them.

    • Elise

      I used regular thin bars. I would estimate 9 ounces, whether thick or thin, and go from there. They usually give the weights on the chocolate bar packages.

  5. Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

    Oh yum!!! Glad you had the chocolate bars on hand – I’m sure they were delish!!! xoxo

  6. Rose

    Ooh, Elise. These look fantastic. Whenever I’m looking for something to make, you always seem to post the exact recipe I need… :D

  7. Alison

    Dee-licious! ;)

  8. yoko

    this reminds me of a similar cookie i baked a while ago, except with white chocolate chunks & dried cranberries..a splash of bourbon to make it more “interesting” :)

  9. Lucy

    These look so good, definitely going to be baking cookies this weekend!

  10. Willow

    I always throw in a dash of cayenne in my chocolate chunk cookies. Don’t ask me why, but cayenne tends to draw out the taste of the chocolate even more!

    • Morizou

      The answer can be found in Barb Stuckey’s Taste What You’re Missing: The Passionate Eater’s Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good. (It has something to do with taste receptors in our mouths and the way different flavors are perceived–a similar principle exists behind why adding just a touch of salt can bring out the sweetness of things instead of making them taste salty. Actually, there’s a hypothesis from Jennifer Stamps [University of Florida] about cayenne in particular: “adding the tactile burn of capsaicin [an irritating alkaloid present in the capsicum pepper] at a level below which it is detectable may increase mouth-smelling and, therefore, overall flavor perception and ultimately the enjoyment of food. The cayenne stimulates the touch nerve”–so the sensation of cayenne pepper is one of feeling, not just tasting. You’re making the taste experience more nuanced when you add just a dash of cayenne.)

      • Karen

        Interesting! Thank you for that (something new I learned today).

  11. Candy C.

    Oh YUM!! Don’t you love it when you “accidentally” come up with a winner? :)

  12. Lauren @ Rustic Honey

    These look delectable! With the summer months approaching, I find myself thinking about my grandmother’s warm, melty chocolate chunk cookies! Your recipe above just put me over the edge! Thank you for sharing!

  13. Sandy S

    These sound so tempting, Elise! Looking forward to trying them with some gluten free flour and chocolate bars. (Dare I try GF truffles!?!) Love all the comments! This site is such an oasis for me.

  14. Jennifer

    Just made these for a quick birthday treat. They are delicious with their almost caramel-y notes!! We used the Pound Plus Dark Chocolate from Trader Joe’s which is quite thick and chunked them up into quarters, so the chocolate chunks are large, but it was a great contrast with some pecans.

    Threw in some white whole wheat flour (1 cup), as I was running low on all-purpose, and you couldn’t detect it at all.

    Thanks for the great recipe! We will be making this one again and again.

  15. Pete McNesbitt

    Yes these look great,but in my extended family Monster Cookies, win hands down. Of course since I make them and bring a half dozen with me whenever visiting family it might part of the reason.

  16. Kim Beaulieu

    If you need a recipe tester I’d be happy to chomp as many as necessary for you. These look seriously yummy. I haven’t made cookies in so long. I may need to whip some up now. I mean it’s only midnight, totally reasonable.

  17. Tammy

    Made these tonight to cheer up my 9 year old daughter who has a broken ankle and is miserable in this hot Sacramento sun. These did the trick – absolutely delicious! We followed the directions exactly. She loved them so much she wants to make them for her class birthday party later this month. I fell in love with your website about a year ago and now my whole family calls this “mom’s favorite website.” Thank you for teaching me how to cook!

    • Elise

      Thank you for your kind words! And I’m so glad your daughter liked the cookies. Hope her ankle heals quickly!

  18. Angie

    Made these tonight and hubby said that it was the best cookie he had ever eaten!! The whole family loved. This recipe is a keeper and I thank you for sharing on your wonderful website!!

  19. Mollie

    I wasn’t sure about browning the butter, but it was simple and added a wonderful taste. Thank you very much for the clear and easy to follow instructions. Now I know how for future recipes! I added extra chocolate chips, semi-sweet, for some extra chunk. These are slightly crispy and the cinnamon adds a little extra taste. Thanks!!

  20. Veena

    thank you for this wonderful chocolate chunk cookie recipe..I prepared it yesterday for my mum and her guests..everyone absolutely loved it…gonna prepare it again :)

  21. Faith

    These came out great!, I rounded them off when measuring which made them smooth and not the rugged edge cookie, so I remember to do that next time. But the flavor is straight on! Generally when I bake cookies using melted butter the batter is always dry and crumbly, but this was a success! Plus brown butter is always a win, I added a tablespoon of high quality vanilla and it was just beyond! Thank you!!

  22. LYNN RU

    I can’t wait to taste them. But when I added the chocolate chunks in the mixture, they sorta melted because the butter in mixture was still warm, Maybe I should’ve cut up the chocolate thicker. I will let ya know how they taste in a bit. They’re in the oven now! :-)

  23. Carl

    I followed the recipe closely, but the dough I ended up with was sort of a crumbly play-do consistency. I baked them at 350 for 12 minutes, but the insides aren’t done. They’re still quite tasty, but I’m curious as to why my dough doesn’t look as sticky as yours. Any guesses?

    • Elise

      It’s always hard to get the recipe exactly right when one is using volume (cups) for measurements instead of grams or ounces. Even then, the humidity can throw things off. If the dough feels a little dry, add a tablespoon of water to it.

  24. flynn

    These cookies are to die for… I used mini dark chocolate chips AND mini butterscotch chips. I also lightly toasted the nuts before chopping them up. And I couldn’t resist going the browned butter route. I may have finished about a dozen cookies in one sitting. Maybe more. No one was around to stop me. I think I need to buy new elastic pants.

  25. deepali

    I’ve made a lot of recipes here, but have never commented. I wanted to share my experience with these cookies though. I’ve never browned butter and I think my butter did get a bit dark on the bottom, but I think I could have left it a bit longer.
    I was actually looking for a cookie recipe that included beets (had extra to use), and I found one elsewhere, but I’ve always had the best luck with proportions on this site, so I went with a mixed-up version of both. Essentially, I followed this recipe closely, but subbed out one egg for about 6 fl oz of pureed beets.
    I also panicked that I didn’t have enough chocolate (180g vs 250), so I also dumped in some cocoa powder.
    The result was a super wet batter because I didn’t account for the extra moisture of the puree (had to add water to make the puree), so I ended up adding more flour (and a tad more salt) to dry it up a bit. Currently, the batter/dough is in the fridge hardening up a bit before I bake. I did, however, do a test bake with a bit of the unrefrigerated batter and it did in fact form a delightfully tasty cookie, if a bit cake-like. Not sure if that cakiness can be fixed, but assume chilling will only improve the texture.
    Next time, I’ll drain the beets, (measure) and add more cocoa powder, and make sure I have more chocolate on hand!
    Thanks for the fool-proof recipe!

  26. raquel cardenas

    They were very delicious, but the chocolate dissolved when I mixed in it, I think the butter was too hot. Should I wait for the butter to cool off? How long do you wait?

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Elise

      I would let the butter cool down to at least the point that it isn’t melting the chocolate, or let the batter sit for a minute after you add the melted butter and before you add the chocolate.

  27. Kelly

    Just made these with my urchins (aged 2 and 5) and they’re a hit. We found ourselves short flour by the last 1/2 cup, and decided to bung in the last bit of some almond flour. Combined with the nutty browned butter, it’s a really nice flavour, and as a bonus, adds some protein to the final cookies.

  28. Ashley

    My house smells so yummy right now! Had a ball making these with my 4 year old. Thank you for sharing :)

  29. harbor

    good explaining!

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