Brown Butter Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ok, so not tryna reinvent the classic chocolate chip cookie here, just put my own spin on it with a unique flavor profile and the attributes I enjoy in a cookie. Slightly crisp edges but still ultra chewy, deep caramelized, nutty flavor, tangy and slightly acidic/bitter chocolate to balance out the sweetness, vanilla perfumed, and salt-kissed. I honestly struggled with this recipe a lot. Developing my own chocolate chip cookie has been on my to-do list for almost two years! I think I struggled with it so much because it’s such an iconic dessert and there’s also a million variations out there already so I really wanted to think carefully about my version and make it unique but still approachable. Easier said than done.
But I arrived at a cookie I think is absolutely delicious, easy to make, and special enough to stamp my name on. I’m not going to tell you this is the best cookie ever because the truth is, there’s no such thing. There are so many variables to consider and each of us values different attributes so “best” is an arbitrary title. Rather, here are some things I look for in a cookie and was sure to make sure my version has.
I love a mostly chewy cookie. I’m not looking for crispy, chips-ahoy-type crunch, you know? I want my cookie to almost bend when I break it in half. So this recipe has mostly brown sugar, which helps us achieve said chew. I tested the recipe a few times with all brown sugar and while the flavor was phenomenal, it needed just a touch more snap and crispness, just around the edges. So a touch of granulated sugar will get us just enough crunch that we’re after. And let’s not forget the brown butter. Browning butter is simply melted butter plus time. In other words, it’s a free but completely transformative flavor enhancer so why wouldn’t you do it? But softened butter is not melted butter is not browned butter. As butter browns, water evaporates and there’s a certain amount of moisture lost. So to combat this, we need to add a touch more butter. No complaints? Good. Read on. I also infused the butter with fresh rosemary, which makes these cookies almost other-worldly. I adore adding savory herbs to sweets and rosemary and dark chocolate are a perfect combination. By infusing the rosemary into the butter, the whole cookie will really carry that flavor. And last, but certainly not least, the chocolate. Regular old chips are not going to cut it here. I want rivers of molten chocolate. So I chopped an enormous bar of dark, and I mean dark, like 70% or darker, chocolate into very large chunks. See the photos below if you don’t believe me. The deep, almost bitter chocolate is the perfect counterpoint to the sweet dough. I feel like a lot of ccc’s are sort of one-note and sweet. And while these do have a high amount of sugar, the nutty brown butter, extra dose of vanilla, and the rosemary infused throughout really ensures these cookies have a complexity that will have you addicted. I’m serious, watch out. I’ll leave you with one final thought, in the words of a very wise lady:
“You can be miserable before you eat a chocolate chip cookie and you can be miserable after you eat a chocolate chip cookie, but never while you eat a chocolate chip cookie.”
- Ina Garten
I whole-heartedly agree.
Brown Butter Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 20 large cookies
1 c + 2 T butter (2 sticks + 2 T) unsalted butter, roughly cubed
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 T vanilla bean paste (or extract)
3 c all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t Himalayan pink salt (kosher is fine too)
12 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I’d recommend at least 70% or darker)
flaky salt, for topping (Jacobsen is my go-to)
In a saucepan over medium heat, add in the butter and rosemary sprigs. Allow to melt then continue cooking, swirling often to keep the milk solids from burning. The butter with get foamy and bubbly and then as it starts to subside it will brown quite quickly so keep an eye on it. It may take several minutes to get to this point and in the meantime the rosemary may sputter a bit. That’s ok! It’s just the water evaporating from the leaves. As soon as the butter is a deep golden-brown and is smelling nutty, immediately remove from heat and pour into bowl to stop the cooking, along with the rosemary sprigs. Allow to cool for a few minutes. The butter can be a little warm but it should not be hot. Using a slotted spoon, remove the rosemary. It’s ok if a few stray leaves stay behind. They’ll be broken up with the sugar.
Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add in the sugars and beat on medium for a minute or so, until well mixed. Add in the eggs and beat on medium-high for two minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add in the vanilla paste and scrape down the sides of the bowl then turn it back on to incorporate the vanilla. Add in the flour mixture and stir on low just until barely combined. Add in the chocolate and pulse the mixer just a few times to incorporate the chocolate into the dough. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. There’s just no getting around it. If you want an exceptional cookie, letting the gluten in the flour relax and letting the dough firm up a bit is just gonna get us there every time. It’s annoying but worth it, promise.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Using a 3 oz spring-loaded scoop (or whatever size you want), scoop cookie dough into balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle tops with flaky salt and bake for about 10-12 minutes, until golden and crisp around the edges and still a touch gooey in the middle. If you like the ripple effect, you can use Sarah’s pan-banging technique about halfway through the bake time by opening the oven and rapping the cookie sheet on the oven rack a few times. This is totally optional but kind of fun. Allow the cookies to cool for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. You’ll notice since we used chocolate chunks/shards instead of chips, the chocolate may have oozed out a bit (or a lot). It’s totally cool. Once slightly cool (or not), enjoy!