Thick, buttery-soft, and generously portioned, these bakery style cookies are infused with a faint hint of warm bourbon. These browned butter and bourbon cookies are a deliciously unique twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie.
Finally, after many days and nights of threatening to do so, the summer storms have begun to break and they’re doing so with a vengeance. The grounds are soggy, the winds borderline blustery and the skies perpetually muddied with dismally-shaded clouds.
I don’t believe I’m alone in thinking that there’s something wickedly beautiful about these storms and their abrupt, dark arrivals, their capacity for uprooting trees and snuffing out electricity. Thunderstorms are intoxicating in a most villainous way — is there anything more entrancing than lightning lash down from the sky with sinister elegance, or the rumbling percussion of thunder roiling in the distance?
To me, these sights and sounds are the perfect soundtrack and inspiration for a baking spree, and as the most recent storms rolled in I sought refuge in the kitchen, tucked away comfortably and cozily between my KitchenAid and the stove. These cookies then came to life out of a desire for a paradoxical treat: a complexity of flavors veiled by a shell of simplicity (and what could appear more simple and domestic than a chocolate chip cookie?).
Despite their appearance, these gigantic cookies are much, much, more than your standard chocolate chip cookie. They are made with perfectly browned butter, an un-apologetically high proportion of brown to white sugars, and a hearty swig of bourbon.
Browning butter is one of the best baking tricks to have up your sleeve, and using it in your cooking can bring your desserts to an entirely new level of decadence. The very act simply must be good for the soul: there is possibly nothing more cozy and wholesome than warming butter over a gas flame and listening to it sizzle and pop, permeating the kitchen with a toasty, nutty aroma while a cacophony of raindrops pelts the windowpanes.
The bourbon, though integral to this recipe, is definitely not an overwhelming feature. While the addition is important and worthwhile, it serves more to accent the flavors of the butter and the cookie as a whole, a subtle contributor to the final product. They do not taste alcoholic (and they’re really not as the alcohol cooks out while baking) but the bourbon is important for a truly exquisite cookie.
Though not very difficult to make, these cookies require patience. The browned butter must cool for at least an hour and a half before you can mix it in with the sugars, and once the dough is made it should chill overnight for the absolutely best flavor. As if the wait isn’t enough, the dough is also challenging: large spoonfuls need to be wrested out of the solidified dough, and I usually resort to carving thick chunks out with a knife and pressing them into an ice cream scoop to form the desired, round shape.
Also, while I usually strongly argue that cookies are best enjoyed immediately out of the oven, gooey and as fresh as possible, that is not the case here. The longer these cookies sit and cool, the better their flavor (I actually prefer eating them the next day rather than the same day that they are made, but then again that requires more patience, which I am in short-supply of).
Browned Butter & Bourbon Cookies
- 3 sticks unsalted sweet cream butter 345 g
- 1 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed, 350 g
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar 100 g
- 3 Tbsp bourbon 45 ml
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 10 ml
- 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 4 cups all-purpose flour 500 g
- 2 tsp cornstarch 8.5 g
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 6 g
- 3/4 tsp salt 3 g
- 2 1/2 cups chocolate chips/chunks 425 g, I used a combination of half mini chips and half chopped premium dark chocolate
Place the butter in a saucepan and melt over low heat. Increase heat to medium (do not leave your butter or it will burn) and swirl occasionally as the butter snaps and crackles.
Let the butter snap and pop (while stirring occasionally) and once this begins to slow, begin to stir and don't stop. The butte will be foamy so it will be difficult to tell once it has begun to brown, but once you begin to smell the unmistakably nutty aroma of browned butter, remove from heat (still stirring continuously) and pour into a heat-proof container (If you accidentally burn the butter, which you will know if you did, it will
burnt, then do not use it or you will have burnt-tasting cookies.).
Allow butter to cool for at least an hour and a half before proceeding.
Once butter has cooled, combine in KitchenAid (or with hand-mixer) with sugars, beating on medium-speed until well combined
Add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, pausing to scrape down the sides and then beating well after each addition.
Add bourbon and vanilla. Stir.
In separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.
Gradually (with mixer on low-medium speed) add flour mixture to butter mixture, pausing periodically to scrape down sides of bowl.
Stir in chocolate chips/chunks, transfer to container with a lid and refrigerate overnight.
Once dough has refrigerated, preheat oven to 350F (177C) and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Scoop dough either into ice cream scoop or into 1/4 sized measuring cup and drop onto prepared cookie sheets (the dough is difficult to work with, I have to scoop out smaller pieces of dough at a time and press them into my ice cream scoop into a cohesive ball and
drop them onto the cookie sheet). Press down gently on balls to flatten slightly.
Bake 10-12 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool completely at least 10 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.