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Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These chocolate chunk cookies are made using brown butter and chunks of milk chocolate. Browning the butter is an extra step, but so worth it for these decadent chocolate chunk cookies!

Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Elise Bauer

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.

But we did find 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?

Why Chocolate Chunk Cookies Taste So Good

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 cooling rack
Elise Bauer

Milk vs. Dark Chocolate

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.

Why Brown the Butter

We also brown the butter in the first step of the recipe. Brown butter adds a wonderful nutty aroma to the dough. It's an added step, but one well worth doing.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Elise Bauer

How to Store and Freeze These Cookies

Cool your cookies and store them in an airtight container. They'll keep for about five days before starting to dry out and become crumbly. (At which point, they're still delicious, just more crumbly.)

You can freeze either the unbaked cookie dough or the baked cookies:

  • To freeze cookie dough: Scoop the cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silicon baking mat. Transfer to the freezer and let freeze until the cookie dough balls are solid. Then transfer the frozen cookie dough balls to a freezer container and freeze for up to one month. Frozen cookie dough balls can be baked directly from the freezer; just add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
  • To freeze baked cookies: Cool completely, then transfer to a sheet of aluminum foil. You can stake the cookies two or three high. Wrap the foil tightly around the cookies, then transfer to a plastic freezer bag. Freeze for up to three months and thaw on the counter before eating.

Can't Get Enough Chocolate Chips? Try these

Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 36 servings
We brown the butter first in this recipe because brown 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 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 9 ounces 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

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. 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.

    Browning butter for chocolate chunk cookies
    Elise Bauer
    whisking browned butter for chocolate chunk cookies
    Elise Bauer

    Continue to cook while the butter goes through various stages of bubbling up and releasing its moisture. Whisk frequently over several minutes.

    How to brown butter for chocolate chunk cookies
    Elise Bauer
    Browned butter for Chocolate Chunk Cookies
    Elise Bauer

    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.

    Browned butter method for chocolate chunk cookies
    Elise Bauer
    how to make chocolate chunk cookies with browned butter
    Elise Bauer
  3. Whisk together dry ingredients:

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

    whisking together ingredients for chocolate chunk cookies
    Elise Bauer
  4. Beat brown butter and sugars, then add eggs and vanilla:

    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.

    mixing chocolate chunk cookie dough
    Elise Bauer
    mixing dough for chocolate chunk cookies
    Elise Bauer
  5. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients, then stir in chocolate chunks:

    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.

    how to make chocolate chunk cookies
    Elise Bauer
    perfect dough for chocolate chunk cookies
    Elise Bauer
  6. Spoon out cookie dough to lined baking sheet:

    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.

    How to make chocolate chunk cookies with chopped chocolate bar
    Elise Bauer
    chocolate chunk cookies on baking sheet
    Elise Bauer
  7. Bake 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.

    perfectly baked chocolate chunk cookies
    Elise Bauer
    chocolate chunk cookies on cooling rack
    Elise Bauer

Links:

Salted Brown Butter Cookies from This Week for Dinner

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chunk Cookies from How Sweet Eats