Earlier this year, I spent a long time recipe testing to come up with what I consider to be my perfect chocolate chip cookie. I took a couple of different ‘fomocookie’ recipes, took what I liked from each, then tweaked and tweaked and tweaked until I found something that I considered to be perfect. I have since learnt, that while that one recipe IS perfect (to me, anyway), there are a whole bunch of iterations of chocolate chip cookies that are also perfect. Changing up the fats used (such as subbing olive oil), adding mix-ins, and browning the butter, along with playing around with the egg, sugar, flour and leavening agent ratios, all can give you variations on a perfect cookie. And today, I learnt that browning the butter, and stirring in chunks of salted caramel into a chocolate chunk filled cookie mixture, also yield a very, very perfect cookie.
I have teamed up with Sunspire and The Feedfeed to bring you this take on a classic chocolate chip cookie. I wanted something elevated, and a little fancy, but not something that required crazy ingredients that would leave you with a nearly full bag of something weird in your cupboard for the next year - the kind of fancy you could achieve with pantry staples. Like when you wear jeans around the house instead of yoga pants kind of fancy. You’ve made a little effort, but didn’t have to go out of your way to achieve it. Just me? Thought so.
I achieved this little bit of fancy by taking ingredients that are already in cookies, and elevating them slightly. I browned the butter, which adds a beautiful toasty note to the cookies, and complimented it with muscovado sugar in the dough. I then made a quick hard caramel, let it set, then bashed it up into chunks. The caramel chunks were stirred through the mixture, along with some Sunspire 44% Chocolate Chunks - the chocolate is beautiful and smooth, and one bag is the perfect size for a batch of cookies! The caramel is the ultimate bestie for the chocolate chunks - it is chewy and crunchy, adding texture alongside the smooth taste of the chocolate.
These cookies really don’t take a huge amount of extra work, but the few extra steps really do make a huge difference. I also did a bunch of tests and found that the dough can be baked off without a resting period, which means cookies in an instant. The best.
A few wee tips:
I have posted the recipe here in grams because that is how I tested it - lots of people don’t realise, but as little as 50g of flour makes a huge amount of difference when it comes to the texture of your cookie, so weighing your ingredients removes the margin of error that comes with measuring by volume. That, and there are far less dishes to do! I would rather you spend $10 on a scale than on ingredients for a cookie that didn’t work out because you didn’t measure your ingredients properly.
Don’t be intimidated by the extra steps of browning the butter and making the caramel. They don’t add a huge amount more time, and you can make the caramel while the brown butter cools!
I like to chop my chocolate so that you have both shards and chunks. You can also use a baking bar here and chop it roughly using a sharp knife (Sunspire also does a great one).
This recipe does make quite a few cookies (never a bad thing), but if you would like to bake some later, you can roll the dough into balls, place on a lined sheet tray, then freeze until solid before transferring to an airtight bag in the freezer. Add a minute or two onto the bake time to account for the frozen dough.
Brown Butter Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Makes about 30 cookies -
225g unsalted butter, straight from the fridge
200g granulated sugar (for the caramel)
150g muscovado sugar
60g dark brown sugar
100g granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
330g all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
255g (One Bag) Sunspire 44% chocolate chunks
Flaky Sea Salt for Finishing
- PROCESS -
Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Line 3-4 baking trays with parchment paper.
Place the butter in a medium saucepan, and place over medium heat. Cook until the butter has melted, and then continue to cook, swirling the pan often, until the butter foams and turns golden brown and nutty - this should take 3-4 minutes. Transfer the brown butter to the bowl of a stand mixer to cool slightly.
While the butter is cooling, make the caramel - place the 200g granulated sugar into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Place a silicone mat on a heat resistant surface (I use my counter) or onto a baking tray, and have nearby.
Place the sugar in a medium saucepan, and place over medium heat. Heat the sugar, stirring occasionally with a whisk, until all of the sugar has melted (the sugar will clump as you heat, but continue to stir - it will soon smooth out). Continue to cook the caramel until it is amber in colour and just beginning to smoke slightly. Immediately pour onto the prepared silicone mat, and leave to cool while you prepare the cookie dough.
Place the bowl of the stand mixer with the brown butter onto the mixer, and fit with the paddle attachment. Mix the brown butter, muscovado sugar, dark brown sugar, and second measure of granulated sugar on medium speed until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla, then increase the mixer speed to high and beat for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture has lightened in colour and thickened.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer off, add to the mixing bowl, then mix on low until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish the incorporation of the dry ingredients by hand if needed - scrape down the bowl and ensure that all the mixture at the bottom of the bowl is fully incorporated.
Roughly chop half of the Sunspire chocolate chunks using a sharp knife to give some variation in chocolate size, and add to the mixing bowl along with the unchopped half. Carefully peel the caramel sheet off the silicone mat, and place onto the chopping board. Using a sharp knife, cut into chunks ½” to ¾” or smaller in size - there will be some small shards, and larger pieces. Use caution as the shards will be sharp. Add the caramel shards to the bowl along with the chocolate, and mix briefly to combine.
Using a two tablespoon scoop, place level scoop fulls of dough onto the prepared baking trays - 8 per tray works well for me, but I like to start with 6 just to make sure there will be enough space. Roll each into a ball and arrange on the trays, leaving ample room for spreading.
Bake the trays one at a time for 11-12 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed up and set around the edges. Remember that they will continue to cook a little once you remove them from the oven. If the cookies have lost their round shape a little in the oven due to the caramel, you can use a round cookie cutter slightly larger than the cookie to nudge it back into a circular shape. Sprinkle each cookie with coarse sea salt, then cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Repeat the baking process with the remaining cookies. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.