Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans: Joy in the kitchen

What happens when you type “best chocolate chip cookie recipe” into your Google search box?

Well, for one, you get “about 10,800,000 results (0.75 seconds),” as Google is proud to let you know.

And proud they should be – remember looking for recipes pre-Internet?

photo 1The bookshelves… (These are only two of the eight-and-a-half shelves I have dedicated to my cookbooks.)

photo 2The recipe boxes… (And yes, I did knock one of the boxes on the floor while reaching for another, and its contents splayed out on the carpet like a deck of cards. Some things just can’t be staged.)

photoAnd, of course, the manila folders stuffed with printouts and tear-outs and hand-scribbled notes on newspaper clippings. If you’re over a certain age (like, maybe, 40?), I guarantee you have at least one overstuffed manila folder holding recipes you thought you’d make… someday.

These days, though, when you’re looking for “the best chocolate chip cookie recipe,” all the options are right at your fingertips.

UntitledAll 10,800,000 of them (about).

So, where did I find the newest addition to my ever-growing collection of “the best chocolate chip cookie” recipes?

From a friend, of course.

Oh sure, the Internet was still involved. After all, how do friends exchange a new favorite recipe these days? By writing it out, slipping it into an envelope, applying a stamp, and driving to the nearest mailbox to send it on its way?

As my son might say, “Mom, that is SO OLD.”

No – we simply email one another.

Subject line: You HAVE to make these!

I recently got such an email from a work colleague. Aime was blown away by some chocolate chip cookies she’d just baked.

“BEST EVER,” she wrote.

Well, who can resist the siren song of “BEST EVER” anything, right? I emailed right back for details.

Turns out the recipe came from Joy Wilson – she of “Joy the Baker,” a “BEST EVER” food blog.

Joy is a former West Coast professional baker and author, recently self-transplanted to New Orleans, where she continues to blog from her new (and very exciting, food-wise) surroundings. We’ve had the pleasure of hosting her at our King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center in Vermont, where she taught an awesome pie class. And she’ll be back for another visit this fall.

But in the meantime, she’s given us permission to share this cookie recipe from her first book. Joy’s Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans are, indeed, some of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted, in any genre.

Are they the BEST EVER chocolate chip cookies?

Well… my lips are sealed. (So that I don’t devour yet another of these flavorful cookies, aromatic from brown butter, crunchy on the edges, soft/bendable in the center, a good 3″ in diameter, and absolutely heaven-scent. Er, sent.)

You tell me: are these chocolate chip cookies the BEST EVER? Give ’em a try, and share your opinion at the bottom of this post.

joy1Let’s start by making the brown butter.

Place 8 tablespoons butter (1/2 cup) in a medium skillet. Melt the butter over medium heat, swirling it in the pan occasionally. It’ll foam and froth as it cooks, and start to crackle and pop.

Once the crackling stops, keep a close eye on the melted butter, continuing to swirl the pan at intervals. The butter will become fragrant, and brown bits will form in the bottom.

Once the bits are amber brown (about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or so after the sizzling stops), remove the butter from the burner and pour it into a small bowl, bits and all.

IMG_5474Allow the brown butter to cool for 20 minutes.

joy2Beat 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) room-temperature butter with 1 cup light brown sugar for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Top picture at left: not smooth. Top picture at right: smooth.

Beat in 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon molasses.

Pour the cooled brown butter into the bowl, along with 1/2 cup granulated sugar (which I added after the picture was taken, if you’re following along visually). Beat for 2 minutes, until smooth. The batter will lighten in color and become fluffy.

joy3See how much lighter the batter is (upper left)?

Add 1 large egg, and 1 large egg yolk, beating for 1 minute.

Add 2 1/4 cups (9 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon baking soda, beating on low speed just until everything is incorporated.

Use a spatula to fold in 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and incorporate any sticky stuff into the dough.

joy4Scoop the dough onto a piece of parchment paper, waxed paper, or plastic wrap. Flatten it slightly into a thick disk, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

About 15 minutes before you’re ready to begin baking, preheat your oven to 350°F, with the racks in the center/upper third.

IMG_5507Scoop the dough in 2 tablespoon-sized balls onto the prepared baking sheets. A tablespoon cookie scoop, slightly heaped, is your tool of choice here. If you have a scale, each cookie will weigh about 1 ounce (28g).

Leave about 2″ between the cookies; they’ll spread as they bake.

IMG_5505Sprinkle the cookies with coarse sea salt, to taste — as much or as little as you like.

joy5Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown. The longer you bake them, the crunchier they’ll be.

For the cookies to attain your own personal idea of textural perfection, bake a couple of cookies first, remove them from the oven, and let them cool. If they’re the exact texture you like, bake the others the same way.

Yeah, it seems like a waste of time and oven heat. But how much better to end up with 2 dozen perfectly baked cookies, compared to 2 dozen cookies that are over- or under-baked, right?

IMG_5564Remove the cookies from the oven. Go ahead, enjoy one warm.

IMG_5557Just for fun, I made Joy’s cookies side by side with one of the other recipes that came up on the first page of my “best chocolate chip cookie recipe” Google search.

That’s Joy’s cookie on the left. NO comparison – texture, flavor, appearance, or any other measure of goodness. Joy’s cookie is the winner.

IMG_5562Talk about standing out in the crowd (of 10,800,000 – about).

Read, bake, and review Joy’s recipe for Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Mary Smith

    I tried these cookies to send to my grandson at college. I followed directions and measurements but by dough was very stiff before I folded in the chocolate. After chilling the dough, it was very dry and crumbly. Definitely didn’t look like your pictures.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      While we’re glad to hear you were eager to bake and share, Mary, we’re sorry that you had some trouble with your dough. It sounds like there might have been too much flour added to the dough. To ensure you’re using the right amount, we recommend checking out the “Measuring Standards,” link next to the ingredients header above. You’ll see that either measuring your flour by weight using a scale, or fluffing and sprinkling the flour into your measuring cup like this are the best ways to ensure your recipe turns out perfectly. We hope this makes your next batch of Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans turn out perfectly. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  2. Brooke

    Best Cookies Ever! I made these as a treat for my son after he got home from school. OMG I honestly wanted to eat every one of them. They are amazing!!! I will definitely be making more of these. This is by far the best Chocolate Chip Recipe I have ever come across.

    Reply
  3. Kelly Kirk

    Very good cookies. I didnt know anything about “brown butter” or how to make it before I found this recipe. Now i feel like i know a secret formula of yumminess. And I didnt think butter could get any more delicious. Thank you.

    Reply
  4. lisa g.

    I’ve seen this recipe at Joy’s site. It does look yummy. Im curious about the small amount of flour to large amount of butter ratio. In my ChocChipCookie baking and experimenting of recipes I have found this ratio lends to greasy overly buttered cookies. So, my ideal ratio is 2 sticks butter with 3 or 3 & 1/4 cup of flour. However, I’d like your opinion on this. I made Alton Brown’s cookie that called for melted butter & bread flour and it turned out greasy, tough and tasteless cookies. So his CCC recipes are not favored by me. Still, can you let me know your opinion please on Joy’s ratio and my own ratio? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I do not think there is a more talked about and disputed recipe than the chocolate chip cookie! I have taken a look at 7 CC cookie recipes on our site and almost half of them are using 8 ounces of butter with 2 cups of flour. Joy’s uses slightly more flour (2 1/4 cups). The recipe called, Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies is not one of these. It calls for only 6 ounce of butter and 3 cups of flour which is closer in line with the ratio you prefer. The ratio of butter to flour comes down to personal preference. There is not right or wrong here. Elisabeth@KAF

  5. Shelley Lewis

    “Now these are the best chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever made,” was the pronouncement from my husband just now. Really worth the extra trouble to make brown butter. I used toasted pecans, chopped, along with semi-sweet chocolate chunks. This recipe is a winner.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Shelley, that’s some praise – especially when it comes from someone you love. Glad we could help bring some chocolate chip cookie happiness into your life! PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Margot, it just adds another layer of flavor, doesn’t it? Glad you’ve discovered this “secret.” PJH

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