The Expat Kitchen: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

AKA: The Chewiest Chocolate Chip Cookie You’ll Ever Meet

When you live abroad you know firsthand that you sometimes you crave ooey gooey brownies, soft pretzels and melted cheese (yes, a foodie can still have an occasional craving for Velveeta), or a burger done up in style!

But, even if you aren’t an expat, this series is still for you if you like making things from scratch that most people might buy from the frozen section of their local supermarket. And that is one of my favorite things about cooking abroad. I get to find authentic recipes that remind me of home that don’t have freezer burn or tons of additives and preservatives.

Join me in my expat kitchen for all-American recipes I’ve successfully been able to recreate living thousands of miles from home.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’d like to let you in on a little secret. Most of the world doesn’t seem to mind eating crispy, crunchy cookies.

Walk into a French patisserie yearning for a chewy chocolate chip cookie, and you are sure to be let down a little after you’ve spent way more than you would on a croissant, only to find out that you’ve just chipped your tooth. Ok, I’m prone to exaggeration, but only a little. And here in China, the only cookies I find come out of a box.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

So the day comes, when you find yourself pouring over countless recipes, all claiming to be the chewiest cookie in the world (or at least the US since we’ve just established that most of the world simply isn’t on the same quest) and that’s when you run into another problem.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


It’s in almost half of those chewy cookie recipes, but not at your local corner grocery store. Or the mega mart an hour away from your house.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

And the brown sugar.

Because moisture from the brown sugar also plays its role in the chewiness factor. In France, if you look up the definition of brown sugar in a dictionary, you’ll find ‘sucre cassonade.’ And it is, perhaps, similar in taste, but definitely not in texture. It’s dry! In China, brown sugar is basically dark brown sugar which will alter the recipe in another way.

Enter molasses. (Easily found in France in organic stores and fairly expensive online in China, so perhaps you’d bring your own) To be exact, 1 tablespoon+1 cup=1 cup packed light brown sugar.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, finally in this recipe, I’ve gone with the trend of using brown butter to enhance the whole Maillard reaction thing (I won’t try to explain it to you since I’ve only just begun reading my own book on food science, but basically it equals more flavor!).

And these cookies are good. They are thick and chewy. Soft in the middle and a very slight crisp ring around the center. The slightest pinch of nutmeg wafts through these cookies as they melt on your tongue. Fireworks on the Fourth of July. That’s the satisfaction you’ll get if you make these. That’s how “American” these cookies are.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Without further ado:

5.0 from 1 reviews
The Expat Kitchen: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon+1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup walnuts (those used had a honey candied coating)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Plastic wrap
  1. In one bowl combine the flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and walnuts
  2. Over medium heat add the butter in chunks roughly the same size and brown it. The butter will first start foaming abundantly. Then it will start to die down and get splotchy. At this point start to use a spatula to scrape against the bottom of the pan checking for brown specs. When brown specs start to form, transfer to the bowl for the butter and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, use the other mixing bowl to make homemade light brown sugar by rubbing the molasses into the sugar. You can use a spoon and smash it against the bottom of the bowl, or you can get your hands dirty and do it by hand (it’s easier). Add the eggs and whisk vigorously until its color lightens considerably.
  4. Add the butter and continue to whisk until you have a thick liquid. Add the flour to the wet ingredients. Then incorporate the chocolate chips.
  5. Divide your dough into either 2 (for jumbo cookies) or 4 (for smaller cookies)
  6. Spoon the dough onto plastic wrap and form into a log. Roll it in the plastic wrap. Repeat again or 3 more times.
  7. Place 2 logs into the freezer. Let harden 20’ while you preheat your oven to 350° C
  8. Remove from the freezer and slice into 6 rounds into approximately 1¨ wide. I like to pinch mine in slightly and shape them so they don’t look like they’ve come out of a tube
  9. Test one or two cookies (my oven is never hot enough right away, so my first batch is just slightly undercooked-you can pick them up but it’s not my optimal cookie). For jumbo cookies cook 10-11 minutes, for smaller cookies bake 6-8 minutes, or in both cases until they are golden brown around the edges and the cookies start to brown on the tops (see pictures).
  10. Store for several days in an airtight container.

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    • sircserreb says

      I think I’m going to try some more! I broke my hand mixer so creaming butter and sugar is more difficult now. I like that melted butter takes away force needed to do that! Thanks for stopping by!

    • sircserreb says

      Thanks for stopping by! You’d be surprised what you can make! I once made home made corn dogs. I think that was the most interesting (they were successful, but those were strictly freezer food for me until that point) thing I ever made. I like that your blog name has the word pies in it (drool), can’t wait to visit!

  1. says

    When we lived abroad for a year, I definitely craved some soft cookies, especially since I was pregnant at the time. :) This looks like a great recipe that uses real, easy to find ingredients great for wherever you live!

    • sircserreb says

      Where were you living? Hopefully some place with good healthcare coverage;)
      I think I’m going to brown butter a few more recipes-Mondays are a good day to cook with my little guy.

  2. anne says

    You’re wrong, french people like chewy cookies, you didn’t go to the right pâtisserie !!
    And that’s exactly the way I cook my cookies (yes I’m french and I lack vocabulary ;-))
    I think that the brown sugar you use for your recipe, is the fench “vergeoise”. It’s a brown and wet sugar with a light licorice flavor.
    Anyway, I’d love to taste them !

    • sircserreb says

      Okay, okay-either you are the exception or I’m waving the culinary equivalent to a white flag in surrender (could we go with a crepe covered in chantilly?) Ah, but if only we were ze frieeends when we were living in France…something tells me our taste buds would have gotten along really well:) Motivation to visit The Pink City again one day…and don’t worry about your English…it even looks like English! No franglais here mademoiselle:p Oh, and you should try these cookies-Noah even helped make them (not the hot butter part, the rest).

    • sircserreb says

      I think the first time I ever saw molasses in cookies was on Good Eats (Alton Brown). My French friend below just informed me of a sugar I never tried during my 8 years in France, but since I didn’t know about it, I just started doing this. It adds a real hint of rich caramel flavor and moisture to the cookies…which helps make them ooey gooey and chewy:p

  3. says

    we have been having the cookie debate in this house for ages. For me, soft and chewy is the ONLY way a chocolate chip cookie should be. The rest of the family, disagrees! Ooey, gooey, all the way.

  4. Mom says

    I was once told to add a little molasses to regular chocolate chip cookies for a chewer texture even with brown sugar.

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