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Brown butter and sea salt chocolate chip cookies. Living with the cookie monster

Pacman face © Cookaroo

Let me be honest here. I LOVE chocolate chip cookies. I love them so much that I can eat them at any point of making them. I'd happily eat the shaggy dough, or a cookie hot and gooey right out of the oven. Sometimes I even nibble on the frozen dough, pretending it's a delicious Pepperidge Farm cookie. 

Which is mostly why, I don't stock chocolate chips at home. It's the only way I can avoid temptation, it's the only way God can stop me from eating them. I mean making chocolate chip cookie (and baking) takes all of half an hour - so you can imagine how hard it is for me to resist.

But one step worse than me, is my husband. If he knows there's cookie dough in the fridge, he'll start chanting about them from the moment he wakes up. "Cookie bana de, cookie bana de". It's like a never-ending mantra until all the dough is used up. If I ever want to give some cookie away, I am looked at as if I starve the man. I have to convince him that there's more dough so that he can eat them whenever he wants to. Truly, I live with the cookie monster in my house.

Cookie bana de © Cookaroo
And just like my search for the perfect brownies, I am always in search of the perfect chocolate-chip cookie. I love a soft-baked chewy, mildly salted that takes atleast 4 bites to eat up. And if I have a cold glass of milk with it, I'll happily skip dinner and live on them for a few days. 

So, when I read this recipe in the Joy the Baker cookbook, I bookmarked it, knowing well in time I would succumb to the temptation of buying chips. In fact when I bought that box of chips, I lied to myself and pretended I was going to make ganache with it. I did no such thing.

What really caught my eye was the addition of Brown butter, Joy's explanation of the butter - nutty, rich and aromatic - seemed to make me wonder what exactly it could mean. I also remembered reading a burnt butter cupcake recipe in one of Nigella Lawson's cookbooks. She said it was "just like clarified butter, but with a smokey finish". Puzzled by the varied explanations, I set out to make my own Brown/burnt butter.

As the butter started to boil, the began smelling just like my grandmother's  - of fresh home-made ghee - the browner the butter got, the more ghee-smell I started getting. When I took it off the flame and strained it, there were plenty of brown residue (Which Joy says is the best bits, but when I tasted it, seemed too salty). I used only half of the brown bits. 

I really wanted to halve Joy's recipe since it said  it'd make two and a half dozen cookies, but halving the egg yolk seemed really hard, so I ended up doing all of it. I got three whole dozens. Of which I managed to give away almost 2 dozen. I also added sea salt to it, because I like that extra crunch and I think a chocolate chip cookie without sea salt, is like eating chicken chowmein without the chowmein in it. 

I really liked the cookies. But were they the best-ever? I am not too sure. Perhaps because the idea of the brown butter being ghee-like was overwhelming for me. Perhaps I was biased. Nonetheless these were really really good cookies.

Who didn't put the cookie in the cookie jar © Cookaroo

Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Joy the Baker cookbook. Available in India, US and UK

Makes 3 dozen cookies

½ cup plus ½  cup (2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon golden syrup
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt, plus additional for sprinkling
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (6 ounces) of bittersweet chocolate chips


1    1. Brown ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon of butter.  Which is basically you must put the butter in a saucepan and let it bubble and froth until it browns. All this will take a couple of concentrated minutes, so it’s better not to juggle things and instead keep your eye on the prize otherwise the butter might burn. Once the butter is browned, let it cool.

Cream the other ½ cup of butter with sugar until fluffy. About 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and golden syrup and beat until incorporated. 

3. Now add the brown butter and brown sugar.  The brown butter should be a little cooled by now.  Mix on medium speed for another 2 minutes.  Add the egg and egg yolk and mix for another minute.  Make sure to scrap the sides down between each step.

In a medium bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients.  Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low until the flour is just incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

5. Divide the mixture in two. Make logs out of both of them. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight, or up to 48 hours.  If you’re in a hurry refrigerate for at least half an hour before baking the cookies.

Preheat the oven to 170 degree centigrade. Cut the logs into 1/4 inch circles and put it on baking tray with butter paper on it. Sprinkle some sea salt on it. And bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool for a couple minutes and transfer to cooling racks.  Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Cookie monster, that's who! © Cookaroo

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  1. Awesome!looks so perfect and crunchy..very tempting!!

  2. Lovely, I have also seen recipes incorporating brown butter, but never tried it.


  3. good one - joy's recipe looks a winner !