Let’s get straight to the point. This is the best cookie I have ever sank my teeth into, homemade or store bought!
Seriously. This cookie has something for everyone. Perfectly crisp edges, chewy and moist center, with a buttery vanilla taste. I am still in awe I achieved this layers of flavor in these cookies. I suppose the stars were aligned! And I had a few secret ingredients and techniques up my sleeve.
I promise you: this recipe is not your regular chocolate chip cookie recipe. I used a traditional recipe as a foundation, the simple cookie I loved as a kid. I added my special touches to please my adult palate.
I browned the butter, which makes a significant difference in taste. It takes just a few extra minutes, but simmering butter on the stove transforms it into liquid gold; silky and nutty in flavor. Using butter in its melted state insists the cookie stays moist. The butter should be melted at room temperature, but not hot or warm, because you don’t want to cook the eggs (if using) while you’re stirring the cookie dough. Using just coconut oil like I did here, creates a chewy and dense cookie. Eggs have an effect on the texture and taste of cookies. Especially the whites, which tend to make dough too light or airy. With coconut oil and butter, the dough has fat content so the cookies will remain tender.
Also on this recipe list: cornstarch! For some, cornstarch in cookies may be unusual (including the cashier at the grocery store when I told her my master plan), but for this type of cookie, it is a vital ingredient! Cornstarch is a great addition because it is a thickening agent so the soft insides won’t fall flat or crumble. This is important because this recipe can be made eggless. These are super gooey, yet sturdy. I think it's a well-kept secret!
Well, there are more secret ingredients that make these cookies so darn addicting. Another one is vanilla butternut flavoring. I could've used regular vanilla extract, like most chocolate chip recipes call for, but I also could’ve been basic. Years ago, my aunt revealed to me awhile ago that she uses this flavoring to give her baked goods something special. During the holidays, we go crazy over her desserts! Use it sparingly and it'll add a curious hint of sweetness and nuttiness, almost like toffee.
But the ultimate surprise secret ingredient: a simple pack of vanilla instant pudding mix. Yep, that's it. I was in a deep rabbit hole of the Internet and stumbled upon a chocolate chip cookie recipe on this blog that included instant pudding mix as one of the ingredients. The promised result was the softest and most delicious cookies. Needless to say, I was very curious...
They were telling the truth. I now add pudding mix to my cookie recipes. There is no going back. I only added half of a packet because I didn't want fluffy cookies like the blog depicted. The outcome was still divine to me. It's official: this is the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I'll ever need. I told you in the beginning of this post they were the best cookies ever, please take this as a warning! I may or may not have eaten a dozen while editing this.
brown butter chocolate chunk cookies
makes 24 cookies, 1 ½ hr prep + 10-12 min bake time
3 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 or 3 milk chocolate bars, roughly chopped* (I used Hershey's)
2 ½ sticks salted organic butter
1 - 1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or two egg yolks)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla butternut flavoring**
To brown the butter, place it in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. When the butter melts and begins to bubble, stir. Watch carefully as it simmers and changes color, while continuing to stir. When it reaches an amber hue with dark brown flecks collecting at the bottom, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine the sugars and the brown butter. Mix well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg yolks, coconut oil (or egg yolks), and vanilla butternut. Mix with wooden spoon or beat on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. In another bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, pudding mix, and salt. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined and flour is dispersed, about 2 minutes. If the dough feels dry and is still powdered from the flour, add a bit of extra liquid coconut oil.
Add the chocolate chunks, and fold them in gently.
Using a cookie scoop or a large spoon, form heaping mounds of dough and place on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line a baking sheet with parchment, or spray with cooking spray. Remove dough from fridge and place the cookie on greased baking sheet.
Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. The cookies should be slightly golden brown around the edges. Allow cookies to cool on a baking sheet for 3 to 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.