Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeBrown Butter.

Chocolate Chip.

Cookie Cake.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeTake it from someone who has made three of these cakes since Saturday—this stuff is dangerous.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeBrown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeBrown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeIt’s basically one huge chocolate chip cookie that’s been amped up with brown butter. Oh, and the brown butter is melted rather than chilled and softened, so this is a no-waiting, no-mixer recipe. And there’s tons of deep caramel flavor from dark brown sugar. And chocolate chips.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeIt’s dangerous, I tell you.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeDid I mention the Chocolate Buttercream? It’s pretty important—I consider it one of the two things that makes this dessert a cake instead of just a gigantic cookie (the other is that it’s baked in a cake pan). This frosting is everything. Seriously. It’s sweet, buttery, and intensely chocolaty, but also almost ethereally light and fluffy. And easy. And difficult to stop eating with a spoon once you’ve finished using it for decoration 😬

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeSo basically what I’m saying is that you absolutely should make this Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake, but don’t attempt it alone. You’ll need someone to keep you from eating the whole thing.

Luckily for all of us, it’s always more fun to share dessert.Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes 1 9-inch round cake

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For decoration:
Chocolate Buttercream (recipe below)
rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl.

Whisk dark brown sugar into the brown butter, followed by egg and yolk and vanilla. Stir in flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Fold in chocolate chips. Transfer dough to prepared pan and spread into one even layer. Bake 20-22 minutes, until the top no longer appears shiny.

Let cookie cake cool completely in the pan on a rack. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan before inverting the cake onto the rack. Revert onto a serving plate. Decorate with Chocolate Buttercream and sprinkles as desired.

Decorated cake will keep at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Chocolate Buttercream
makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
6 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
3 tablespoons heavy cream

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy.

Load into a piping bag fitted with a tip (I used a star tip here), or spread with an offset icing knife.

Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

Matcha Chocolate Chip CookiesHave we talked about how much I love grocery shopping? Walking into Trader Joe’s is basically like going to Disneyland for me. Yes, I am a huge nerd. Ostensibly, I’m there to get basics–eggs, milk, a green vegetable so I don’t get scurvy from my insane flour consumption #bakerlife. But then, there’s the fun part: walking the aisles in search of new ingredients. There are so many possibilities in cooking and baking, and finding a new flour or cookie mix-in sparks my creative energy like nothing else.

Matcha Chocolate Chip CookiesMatcha Chocolate Chip CookiesThe problem with this habit is that when I unload my grocery bags and put my stuff away, I often forget about that new favorite ingredient for months. Exhibit A: this tub of matcha, a Japanese green tea that I positively adore. I bought it at the health food store months ago, put it in a cabinet and totally forgot about it. That’s a shame for two reasons:

  1. I love matcha’s earthy, bitter, ever-so-slightly savory green tea flavor. Sign me up for all of the matcha lattes and green tea ice cream.
  2. Matcha is pricey! That little tub was $20. (It’s less expensive online.)

Matcha Chocolate Chip CookiesSo today, let’s put that long-forgotten matcha powder to use and make some cookies! These Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies are crazy good, y’all. If you’ve got a matcha-lover in your life, make them a batch! They’ll adore the soft, green tea-spiked cookie and the hit of chocolate. Mmhmm.

Matcha Chocolate Chip CookiesNow, before I get to the recipe, I want to explain a few things. This dough, while simple to put together, doesn’t follow all the same rules as my usual cookie doughs. For one, it doesn’t require any softened butter, so this is a no-mixer recipe! The butter in these cookies is melted instead, but it’s not quite as easy as just adding sugar and eggs to melted butter. Don’t worry–it’s still simple.

Matcha Chocolate Chip CookiesMatcha Chocolate Chip CookiesThese cookies start with melting butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and matcha powder together on the stove. This technique is called blooming–it allows the flavor of the tea to infuse the butter, making for a richer-tasting cookie. I won’t lie to you, the bloomed matcha butter looks dark, sludgy (ew), and a little unappealing, but the flavor this process brings to the finished cookies is totally amazing.

The rest of the recipe is pretty standard–whisk a couple of eggs and some vanilla into the melted matcha mixture, fold in some dry ingredients and chocolate chips. Chill the dough for a few hours so the butter saturates the flour and the cookies don’t over-spread. Then scoop the dough into balls, bake on parchment-lined pans, and dig in!Matcha Chocolate Chip CookiesMatcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies right here? They’re soft, chewy, chocolaty matcha heaven. Make them a part of your weekend 😊Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 3 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
6 tablespoons matcha powder
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, combine butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and matcha powder. Melt together over low heat, whisking occasionally, until combined. Transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool slightly.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 

Whisk eggs into the melted matcha mixture one at a time, followed by vanilla. Mix dry ingredients into wet in two installments. Carefully fold in chocolate chips–they may melt slightly. Cover dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments (I use a medium cookie scoop) and roll into balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until the tops are no longer shiny. Let cool on the pans for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip CookiesA couple of months ago, my boss went on a weeklong health retreat. When she came back, she was totally crazy about some crisp-chewy gluten-free chocolate chip cookies she had while she was away, going so far as to bring a bag home with her. She insisted I try one before asking if I could replicate them. I agreed to try, but with some major reservations.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip CookiesMaking cookies without gluten meant I had to basically start from square one. You see, gluten-free baking is a lot different from standard baking. In recipe after recipe, I rely on the structural and textural qualities of regular all-purpose flour to keep my cookies soft and chewy. Gluten, a protein found in wheat (and a few other grains), is activated when the flour meets the wet ingredients. It develops as the dough mixes and allows cookies to bake up super chewy. Without it, I was lost.

I looked around online for the recipe from the retreat itself, but came up empty. I also checked a couple of well-regarded gluten-free baking blogs to see if they had anything that might be similar to those cookies, but I had no such luck. I finally went to the source, looking at the list of ingredients on the side of the bag and going from there. With that list and my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, I set out to recreate those cookies, figuring it would take two or three solid tries.

It took two months and ten batches. Oy.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip CookiesGluten-Free Chocolate Chip CookiesBut here they are, my Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. They’re not exact replicas of the cookies my boss brought home (they’re definitely not crisp), but they are damn good. The base of these cookies is a combination of a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, almond meal, a touch of ground chia seed, and a little bit of leavener. Together with the wet ingredients, this combination bakes up into soft, tender cookies.

Since these cookies don’t have any gluten, they are not as chewy or puffy as the others you see on this site. I tried adding different quantities of almond meal and adjusting the leaveners in an attempt to get a chewier texture and a puffy shape, but those attempts resulted in cookies that puffed but didn’t spread, and were so crumbly that they practically disintegrated after one bite! My Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies are a little on the thinner side, but the tender texture and hint of caramel-almond flavor more than make up for it.

I don’t know that I’ll ever fully understand gluten-free baking, but I am really happy with this recipe. My boss and her teenage son both loved these cookies, so I must be doing something right.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 30 cookies

1 3/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
3/4 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons ground chia (or ground flaxseed)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup turbinado sugar (or sucanat)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together gluten-free all-purpose flour, almond meal, ground chia, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add turbinado sugar and maple syrup, and mix to combine. Beat in egg and egg yolk, followed by vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing to combine completely. Mix in chocolate chips. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours, or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments (I use a medium cookie scoop), roll them into balls, and set them at least three inches apart on prepared pans. Use the heel of your hand to flatten them slightly. Bake cookies 8-10 minutes, until golden at the edges. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

 I’ve spent three hours staring at my iPad screen, and I’ve come to a very important realization: there is nothing truly original that I can say about chocolate chip cookies.

They’ve been around since 1938. Everyone’s made them at least once and–with the notable exception of those crazy people who don’t like chocolate–most everyone likes them. I mean, what’s not to like? Sweet caramelly cookies studded with chocolate chips–they’re pretty much perfection in a mouthful.

The great thing about chocolate chip cookies is that there’s no shortage of ways to make them. If you have a preference about texture or flavor, there is a recipe out there for you. Chewy, crispy, crunchy, cakey, thin, thick, more brown sugar, more granulated sugar, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks–whatever you like, there is a recipe out there to suit your needs. <–Thank goodness for the Internet.

I’ve tried a lot of the recipes out there, and while all of them have been delicious (because how couldn’t they be?), none were quite right for me. Over the last two years, I’ve made A LOT of chocolate chip cookies, and I’ve slowly formulated a recipe that I love more than any other. They’re super soft and chewy with tons of brown sugar and chocolate. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Go with softened butter. The air beaten into room temperature butter allows these cookies to be both puffy and chewy. I’ve made many batches with melted butter and while the finished cookies are delicious, they are too thin for my taste, even after a long chill. If thinner cookies are your preference, this recipe will work with 1 cup melted butter. If you go that route, I suggest a three hour chill.

2. Use a ton of dark brown sugar. I like to use an 80/20 ratio of dark brown to granulated sugars. This not only enhances the softness and chew, but gives the finished cookies an amazing caramel flavor. Light brown sugar will work in a pinch, but dark brown really makes these cookies sing. 

3. Vanilla makes it all work. The most significant thing I learned while formulating this recipe is that I have very specific ideas about how much vanilla belongs in chocolate chip cookies. One teaspoon is too little for me, and two teaspoons (which seems to be the standard) is too much. I use 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract, and I think it balances the brown sugar and chocolate flavors perfectly.

4. Go crazy with the chocolate chips, but not too crazy. This recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips. I used to think this wasn’t enough, so I added more and more, up to two whole cups. Let me say this–the extra chocolate is delicious, but it makes the cookies spread like crazy as it melts. If you want more chocolate chips, I suggest using an extra 1/2 cup or so to dot the tops just after the cookies come out of the oven. These were made with Ghirardelli semisweet morsels because I have 9+ pounds of them right now, but I’ve tried them with many other brands and every single one of them has been fantastic. Use whichever brand you like best.

So here it is, the recipe for my favorite chocolate chip cookies. Make them this weekend (Sunday, May 15th, is National Chocolate Chip Day), and share them with people you love. I hope this recipe will be your favorite, too. 

 Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about four dozen cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until light and fluffy. Beat in dark brown sugar and granulated sugar, followed by egg, yolk, and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients in three installments, combining completely after each addition. Fold in chocolate chips.

Cover dough with plastic wrap. Chill for at least two hours, or up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop chilled dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls. Set dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking pans. Bake 8-10 minutes, until puffy and starting to turn golden at the edges. Let cool ten minutes on the baking pans before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Repeat scooping, rolling, and baking wth any remaining dough.

Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

 As I’ve mentioned previously, I have a cookie commitment every Wednesday night. Usually I bring two different kinds of cookies or bars, but yesterday, I went all-in on Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip. You see, I had made one batch from Molly Wizenberg’s recipe and had big plans to make some Heath Bar blondies. All would have gone according to plan, except that I had more cookies than I needed. So naturally, I had a little snack…let’s call it quality control 😉 These cookies were (and are!) good: sweet and chocolaty with the nutty, slightly savory qualities of whole wheat. But there was one little problem: they were crunchy where I would have liked them to be soft. While this may not have fazed another baker, it got me thinking: how could I adjust these to be soft and chewy? A few things ran through my mind: cutting or increasing the flour, adding cornstarch, adjusting the leaveners, reducing the sugar. I did a little mental baking chemistry and got to work making a second batch that would hopefully be on the softer side. The resulting cookies had all the qualities I liked from the original recipe with the added benefit of soft, chewy middles. I 💗 cookie science (and rare kitchen experiments that work on the first try).

But now I had a little problem: nine dozen cookies that were all basically the same flavor. What was a baker to do? Answer: have a Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie taste-off. I labeled Molly’s recipe as Batch A and mine as Batch B, and determined that I’d post whichever recipe won. As people started to trickle in, I explained my mission. Thank goodness these are friends, or they’d all just think I’m nuts. Well, they probably do think I’m nuts and are my friends regardless. It probably doesn’t hurt that I literally always have cookies 😊 Anyway…there were people on both sides of the argument. My friends who like thinner, crunchier cookies were firmly for Batch A, but the vast majority must be soft and chewy cookie fans because Batch B won by a landslide. So, here we are. 

  These cookies start with whisking together whole wheat flour, cornstarch, baking powder and soda, and salt. As I wrote earlier this week, whole wheat flour can produce heavy, dry baked goods if not treated properly. Here, we add cornstarch, which lightens the flour a bit and gives the cookies a little softness. Also, we use both baking soda and baking powder. The vast majority of my drop cookies (with the exception of sugar cookies) only require baking soda, but since whole wheat flour is heavier than all-purpose, these need a little bit more help to puff up properly. We add a teaspoon of baking powder to the mix–it contains both an acid (cream of tartar) and a base (baking soda), and will keep the cookies from being too hard.

The wet ingredients are standard cookie fodder. Two sticks of softened butter are beaten until light and fluffy. Then come light brown sugar and granulated sugar, followed by two room temperature eggs and some vanilla. Then, add the dry ingredients in two installments, making sure that everything is fully incorporated. Fold in some semisweet chocolate chips and then chill the dough for 45 minutes. Where most of my cookie recipes require a chill of at least 90 minutes to prevent spreading, the heaviness (and quantity) of the whole wheat flour means these can be in the cookie jar sooner rather than later. Roll the chilled dough by the tablespoon and bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool a bit and enjoy! 

One quick word about nutrition. No, I am not a nutritionist or health expert of any variety. One thing I can tell you, though, is that the presence of whole wheat flour in these cookies does not make them healthy. Sure, the protein and fiber in whole wheat makes this recipe a bit more nutritious than most chocolate chip cookies, but there is still plenty of butter and sugar (and chocolate!) present. These are simply really good, chewy chocolate chip cookies that happen to be made with whole wheat flour. Nothing more, nothing less.

Whew! That was a little too serious for a baking blog.

If you’re looking for a treat to make this weekend, these are the way to go. The combination of whole wheat and chocolate will pleasantly surprise anyone with whom you choose to share! These cookies are definitely winners. 
 Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies by Molly Wizenberg
makes about 4.5 dozen cookies

3 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour*
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together white whole wheat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in dark brown sugar and granulated sugar, followed by eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating until completely combined. Beat in chocolate chips, kneading the dough a bit if necessary. Cover dough and chill for 45 minutes, or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls, setting them two inches apart on the prepared pans. Bake 8-10 minutes until they look just a touch underdone. Let cool on the sheet pans for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Note:

Regular whole wheat flour may be substituted for white whole wheat flour.