Brown Butter & Buckwheat Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies

76 Comments
chocolate_chunk_cookies

Chewy brown butter cookies packed with thick milk chocolate chunks

Brown butter is a baker’s best friend. If I had a pound for every recipe I’d read extolling the virtues of this simple ingredient since I’ve been blogging, I’d be a very rich little loaf. Until fairly recently I’d always thought of it as a savoury thing, the foaming beurre noisette surrounding a piece of white fish or flavoured with sage and poured over pasta; I’m only just starting to understand the joy of stirring it into biscuits, cakes, cookies and muffins to ramp up the flavour and add to their intensity.

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Brown butter & buckwheat flour add a lovely nuttiness to these cookies

Brown butter, or beurre noisette (‘hazelnut butter’) gets its name from the rich toasty smell and nutty brown colour which result when you continue to cook butter beyond its melting point. As the butter heats, the milk solids separate out from the butterfat, sinking to the bottom of your pan and slowly turning a gorgeous golden brown. It’s very easy to burn, so requires careful attention to avoid getting bitter, blackened lumps, but provided you pay attention to your pan, brown butter is a simple, delicious addition to almost any recipe.

In this instance, I’ve added it to cookies. Having read about brown butter cookies in the most recent issue of Made with Butter magazine, I encountered them again in Joy the Baker’s book, then again on this gorgeous blog, as well as on a number of other sites, until it got to the point where I’d spent more time reading about them than it would have taken to rustle up a batch. The time had come to bite the bullet and find out what all the fuss was about.

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These rich, sticky cookies work wonders with a cold glass of milk

When it comes to chocolate chip cookies, everyone has an opinion. A lot of people swear by a single favourite recipe as well, but I’m slightly to fickle for any such rule to apply. I like my cookies large, allowing for a crispy edge leading through a chewy mid section to a soft melting middle; I like chunks rather than chips for added texture and a big chocolate hit; I like lots of brown sugar to increase the chewiness and caramel flavour, but after that I’m open to suggestion. Milk or dark chocolate? I’m happy with either. Brown or white flour? Each works in its own different way. Nuts or not? I’ve tried pecans and walnuts, macadamias and brazil nuts with equally delicious results, as well as leaving the cookies completely nut free.

Or you could use brown butter to add an extra element of nuttiness without any crunch. This dough use two lots of butter, one sizzled in a pan until rich, brown and nutty, the other creamed with sugar until light and fluffy. The former is to the latter what caramel is to sugar: a deeper, darker, altogether more adult ingredient, rich in its intensity and packed with flavour. Combined with three types of sugar, large chunks of the best quality milk chocolate and buckwheat flour for an extra hit of nuttiness (and gluten free!), it makes for a pretty serious cookie.

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Make these cookies big enough to have crispy edges but a soft, chewy middle

If you do one thing today, make brown butter. If you can push it to two, make brown butter and stir it into cookies. Eat some dough (I defy you not to), eat a cookie hot from the oven, then try another later when they’ve cooled to a chewy, chunky, dense nutty slab of chocolaty goodness. Eat another one the next day for breakfast, sneak one into your packed lunch at work, sandwich them around ice cream after dinner and savour each and every last mouthful over the next few days until the whole tin is gone. Then repeat. This is the start of your journey into the world of brown butter. It’s going to be good.

chocolate_chunk_cookies

Just one cookie is never enough . . .

Brown Butter & Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ingredients:

185g unsalted butter, softened
225g buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt
120g golden caster sugar
95g soft light brown sugar
75g dark brown sugar
1 large free range egg + 1 yolk
280g milk chocolate, chopped into chunks

Method:

First of all, make your brown butter. Melt 85g of butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Continue cooking, swirling the pan constantly, until the butter starts to foam and crackle and the milk solids separate out begin to brown. Once the butter is golden with a nutty aroma, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Be careful not to overcook it as you don’t want black butter!

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining 100g butter with all three sugars. Add the egg, egg yolk and cooled brown butter and continue to whisk until just combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until smooth. Add the chocolate chunks and stir until combined. Cover the dough with cling film, pop in the fridge and chill for 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line two trays with non stick baking parchment.

Take your cookie dough out the fridge and roll into balls about the size of a ping pong ball. You can make these larger or smaller depending on how you like your cookies, but do make sure to adjust the baking times. Space the balls a good few inches apart as the cookies will spread, then either:

Bake for approx. 8 – 10 minutes, remove from the oven and cool

OR (and this is what I do because I’m slightly obsessive about my cookies)

Bake for 5 minutes then remove from the oven. Your cookies will have spread significantly, so coax them back into a perfect round shape with a teaspoon, then return to the oven for 3-4 minutes more.

Regardless of method, err on the side of caution – these cookies are best removed from the oven when they look slightly underdone as they will continue to cook once you remove them.

Allow to cool slightly then enjoy. Preferably with ice cream or a tall glass of ice cold milk.

76 RESPONSES TO Brown Butter & Buckwheat Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  1. Oh, yes, like this idea very much. I love brown sugar for cookies for the flavour it adds, don’t know why hadn’t thought of brown butter to add more flavour. Cunning!

  2. These look like the IDEAL chocolate chip cookie! Totally with you on the chunks vs. chips issue…I’ve never tried brown butter in baked goods, I’m curious as to how much it would actually change the flavour. May give it a go sometime. Great over pumpkin ravioli though!

  3. As good as a cookie could ever be. You must have found these impossible to resist and I would have eaten the whole batch in one go! Chunks are the best I agree. Brown butter sounds like it has a future in sweet foods now :-)

  4. They look like the perfect chocolate chip cookies, I am going to have to try brown butter at some point. Off to satisfying a chocolate craving now.

  5. Ooh lovely. I am still looking for the perfect cookie recipe. If I haven’t got Buckwheat flour in, what should I use instead?

  6. Well there’s synchronicity, I was just thinking this morning I’d like to try baking some friands with brown butter and see how they turned out. Your cookies sound delicious and I really like your use of buckwheat flour. I usually add a bit in to my normal wholemeal / white wheat mix, but haven’t used it on it’s own very often. Nor do I have a choc chip cookie recipe I’ve fallen in love with yet, so yours might just be it.

    • Kavey – it’s all about the brown butter! :-)

      Elly – you definitely can taste the brown butter in these, and I’ve made a brown butter sponge before with a really pronounced flavour as well. And agree, it’s just as delicious on savoury dishes!

      Laura – chunks beat chips hands down any day :-)

      Laura – do give them a try!

      Things We Make – absolutely fine to substitute normal plain white flour.

      Choclette – let’s hope so! :-)

  7. I’ve found that once you start making baked goods with brown butter, it’s very hard to go back to regular old butter!

  8. There are so many different ingredients which I love in these cookies – I can see they tasted a real treat :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  9. healthyyou72 -

    Oh they look so moist, and chewy, YUM!!!! I definitely need to make chocolate chip cookies with browned butter, love love browned butter:-) Hugs, Terra
    http://www.cafeterrablog.com

  10. i know! I’ve been seeing brown butter everywhere in your loaf! Sadly, they don’t sell any here. Would really want to make brown butter pancakes! :( These cookies, look chewy and chunky! just the way cookies should be.

  11. Oh my! I need to make myself some of this brown butter – I’ve never used it. These look absolutely incredible, Loaf. so much so that I want to make double chocolate chip cookies tomorrow… Just you wait. :D.

    • Kathryn – I know what you mean!

      Choc Chip Uru – you can’t go wrong with the brown sugar/brown butter/chocolate combination :-)

      Terra – thank you!

      Pencil Kitchen – you don’t buy brown butter, you make it! Have a look at the recipe ;-)

      Frugal Feeding – definitely one to try – in sweet dishes or on savoury ones.

      Nickki – thank you :-)

  12. Mmmm these look beautiful and the colour is perfectly golden!

  13. Anything with buckwheat catches my attention – why have I never considered it for cookies? Brilliant. Thank you.

  14. Amy -

    Oh wow, those cookies look absolutely perfect (or should I say perfect for me?): chewy soft inside and chewy crunchy edges. Love love love the idea of brown butter and pairing it with milk chocolate. Your cookies always look so good!!

  15. These look amazing, I may be tempted to try cooking with brown butter once again (maybe I burned it last time … ?). I am, in fact, always on the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie and I’ve never considered one with buckwheat before! Tough job but someone’s got to do it!

  16. Love it! I have not tried brown butter before but it sounds good and I musty try this. I also like the fact you told us how to make them GF!

  17. These cookies look perfect, and I’m pretty sure the buckwheat flour makes them healthy… right? I love that you always share information about your ingredients in each post, so informative!

  18. These sound SO incredible. I just made some chocolate chip cookies which I thought were a great healthy sustaining treat.. but I was quick to confirm they don’t totally qualify as dessert. These look like a perfect way to bridge that gap! Love love love!

    • Leslie – thank you.

      Marissa – it works really well in these, glad you like the recipe!

      Amy – aw, thank you.

      Leanne – the secret is watching it like a hawk! It burns pretty easily so take off the heat if you’re worried you might overcook it.

      Cake Boule – you should!

      Lauren – absolutely. Buckwheat flour makes it practically one of your five a day… ;-)

      Em – these are definitely not a healthy sustaining treat! But they do taste seriously good… :-)

      Nicole – :-)

  19. I love adding brown sugar to cookies, it adds so much extra depth of flavour and I love the chewiness it adds. Your cookies look absolutely incredible! I’m going to have to try some brown butter cookies now as you have given me cravings :D

  20. Lisa -

    I think this is the first time I’ve ever heard of buckwheat flou, and only buckwheat fllour, at that, in a chocolate chip cookie. They look reallllly good..I’m extremely intrigued. Creative as always, and great post, as always!

  21. These look absolutely delicious. I loe idea of taking the chocolate chip cookie to a whole new, slightly more sophisticated level by adding brown butter and buckwheat flour to give an intense nutty flavour. Thanks for sharing the fantastic recipe

  22. Wow these cookies look just the right amount of crunchy but still soft and chewy – perfection!

  23. These are the kind of cookies that make people fall in love with you. Browned butter is the secret in doing so. yum.

  24. Euan -

    I get the impression you think brown butter’s a good thing… I’m going to try it in the biscuits I am going to make tomorrow. Your cookies look great, and lovely photos as always!

  25. claire -

    Lovely. Just Lovely.
    But… o_O
    umm, these fit the bill for my own ‘stop-merely-planning-brown-butter-cookies’ kick up the posterior; the buckwheat flour shall be a definite feature – hoping it’ll enhance the nuttiness just enough, as I don’t like to put nuts themselves where chocolate can sit. However, maybe I’m being really dense just now but at what point does said brown butter actually get added to the cookies? Sure its role can’t be to look pretty in the pan…can it?
    So glad I’ve pb cookies ready to bake in my freezer right now!

    • Jennifer – you definitely need to try brown butter in cookies, it’s soo good!

      Lisa – thank you. Buckwheat is a lovely flour to work with – lovely and nutty and also gluten free!

      Big Hungry Gnomes – thank you, and my pleasure :-)

      Cara – that’s exactly what I was aiming for :-)

      Lorraine – agreed!

      Lemon Fire Brigade – completely agree, I fell head over heels for these cookies :-)

      Euan – do it! And thank you :-)

      Shirleen – haha, glad you like them :-)

      Claire – you add the brown butter (once cooled) along with the egg and egg yolk. Hopefully all clear in the recipe above?

  26. claire -

    Oops! I’ve just found it. Exxxxcellent… ;-)
    Weirdly, it’s not on yesterday’s print-out. o_O
    Still, no matter eh?
    Brown butter buckwheat, here I come!

  27. claire -

    Just as a note – presumably unsalted butter here, as it browns with less tendency to burn black!

    • Yes, definitely unsalted butter. Thanks for flagging, I’ll update the recipe :-)

  28. Ahhhh I definitely have to try baking with brown butter, it’s going round the internet food blogs like crazy! LOVE IT. These cookies look sooo beautiful…wish I could eat them this week ;) Soon I will though x

  29. Lottie -

    I’ve never tried brown butter, I am going to add it to my list of things to try! These cookies look perfect though and so delicious that you have just put me in the mood for a choc chip cookie!

  30. laythetable -

    I’d never thought to use it for cookies, I’e seen some other sweet things with brown butter but not cookies! Wow, I can imagine they are divine!

  31. omg these look AMAZING!! I’ve tried brown butter in cakes and loaves but never in cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are one my favourites. I love that you can make these gluten free as well – definitely making these!

    • Elaina – brown butter in baking is simply divine :-)

      Mood Your Food – thank you!

      Machisan – thanks!

      Lottie – do give it a go!

      Lay the Table – I’ve seen quite a few recipes for brown butter cookies – it’s definitely a growing trend :-)

      Christina – :-)

      Baking Addct – thank you, and enjoy!

  32. These look *incredible*. I usually make America’s Test Kitchen brown-butter version, but I love the addition of buckwheat flour! These are on my must-make list.

  33. Pia -

    I just made these cookies. Instead of just admiring the yummy pictures I tried the reccipe.
    Well, I made two batches. One with the extra ingredient of instant espresso – the barista in me needs coffee (in everything).
    I was intrigued by the browned butter – usually to me that means fish and potatoes – but it was delicious!
    These cookies are great and I will make them again.

    • Sarah – thank you. And enjoy if you end up making them!

      Pia – so pleased you made and enjoyed them, with your own special twist!

      Nic – thank you, do try buckwheat, it’s lovely and nutty.

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  35. Euan -

    Hi Kate. Do you think you’d lose a lot of the flavour if you only used the oily part of the butter? I was just thinking that in some recipes you might not want the brown flecks

    • Hi Euan – I would think it’s absolutely fine to leave out the brown flecks. You will lose a fair bit of flavour, but the rest of the butter should still have taken on a lovely nuttiness.

  36. fanny -

    those cookies look and sound insanely delicious. I’m new to your blog and it’s such a gem. the recipes you make all look so good.
    I’ll definitely come by again soon. xx

    • They’re totally over the top but the brown butter makes them taste so good! Thanks so much for your lovely comment :-)

  37. ElissaM -

    Hi! Ran across your blog today and I’m enjoying reading it very much. I recently bought a bag of buckwheat flour…I think these cookies will be a good way to it out :)

    • I think they’d be the perfect way to try it out :-) Happy baking!

  38. Cino -

    These look amazing! But I would love to know the calorie content of the cookies along with how many each batch makes. (:

    • Thank you :-) I haven’t given an exact quantity as everyone likes their cookies different sizes, but it should make about 16 fairly large cookies. As for calorie content, I don’t want to know!

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  40. Thara L -

    Thank you for the gorgeous recipe, everyone love ‘em. Oddly enough, the next day, my cookies become crumbly, the first day was really good, it was chewy and crispy all at the right places. can you tell why this happened? oh i left the dough in the refrigerator for extra 2 days (too ill to get up and bake them).

    • So glad you enjoyed the cookies. Did you store them in an airtight container? They do lose a little chewiness if left for a while, but should last a good few days…

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  45. I just want to thank you for this wonderful recipe! I tried it a while ago and just made the dough tonight. I used to dislike buckwheat flour, as I only ever had it in low fat pancakes, but you have introduced me to a new foodie love! Thank you! These are some of my favorite cookies:) Love, Victoria

    • Aw, I’m so glad you liked them! Thanks for the lovely comment :-)

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  47. Leah -

    Wow… what an awesome post. You have me convinced that I have to give this concept of browned butter in my baking a shot. I too always thought browned butter was a savoury flavour but this recipe sounds amazing! By the way, I love your photo’s too… I can almost smell the biscuits baking from here in Australia!

    • Ah, thank you so much. And yes, you HAVE to try browned butter in baking, it’s so incredibly delicious.

  48. These cookies look great! So yummy!

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  50. Hi! I want to try these but have a few ?s…one, did you use a particular brand of buckwheat? I have bob’s red mill, it’s very dark, and I’ve never used it not in combination with all purpose. But I’d like to. Just wondering! And– do you think you can freeze the dough balls to bake off a few at a time as needed? Thanks! Salvegging

    • Kate Doran -

      I use Doves Farm buckwheat flour which is quite light in colour. You could always experiment and try half and half flour to start… As for freezing, absolutely. I almost always have cookie dough in the freezer, perfect for sweet-toothed emergencies :-)

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