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My original goal for August was to do a Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake Off 2.0 in celebration of 5 years of bake offs! (See the first ever bake off in 2017 here.) But as I started scraping recipes (and you all started sending recipes), a number of brown butter recipes started to look really intriguing. And I think we all know that regular butter really can’t compete with brown butter when it comes to cookies.
Looking back at the initial bake off (when I was less strict about confounding factors), the top two winners were actually made with brown butter! So I decided to re-test the original winner against a new batch of contenders. Will the 2017 champ reign supreme?? Read on to find out!
METHODOLOGY // RESULTS // FACTORS // ANALYSIS // RECOMMENDATIONS
- 33 total tasters
- All 9 recipes were baked the day of tasting (certain doughs were rested overnight per the recipe)
- All cookies were baked on parchment-lined cookie sheet
- Tasters ranked each cookie on a scale from 0-10 for overall flavor, texture, and as a whole
- Ingredients were measured by weight according to the King Arthur website
- Gold Medal bleached all-purpose flour
- King Arthur cake flour
- King Arthur bread flour
- Trader Joe’s unsalted butter
- Bob’s Red Mill baking powder and soda
- Diamond kosher salt
- Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips
- Guittard white, milk and dark chocolate chips
- Trader Joe’s dark and milk chocolate pound plus bars
- Imperial granulated and powdered sugar
PARTNER NOTE: I’m delighted to be partnering with Imperial Sugar on this bake off as I’ve consistently used their consistent, high-quality pure cane sugar products throughout my bake offs. Imperial Sugar is non-GMO verified, allergen free and gluten-free!
For more sweet inspiration, you can visit Imperial Sugar to find more than 4,000 expert-tested recipes, free downloadable vintage cookbooks, sugar scrubs and bath products at the Sugar Spa, and lots of helpful guides on their blog. You can also check out their Pinterest, You Tube, Instagram for even more recipe inspiration!
While the nerd in me loves to collect the data rankings each bake off, as always I urge you to take these rankings with a huge grain of salt. As I note below, there are a lot of factors (including my own baking skills, level of salt I sprinkled on, etc.) that could have affected each of these recipe’s overall score, through no fault of its own. I encourage you to read through all the recipe descriptions and try whichever sounds the best to you! As another note, the spread for these recipes is VERY small. This means tasters enjoyed all recipes a similar amount and there wasn’t really drastic opinions–another reason to explore the characteristics of each and find your personal favorite!
You’ll notice that one recipe is missing from the chart. After filming the YouTube video and nearly finishing this post, I jolted up in bed one night and realized that I’m 50% sure I might have halved the amount of egg yolks in the Buttermilk by Sam recipe instead of 150% them. I then re-tested her recipe (partially why this post is so delayed) but couldn’t recall the difference from the cookies I made in the bake off. So, I decided to remove her recipe from the rankings because there is a good chance I messed up the recipe–but I still review it as made below!
- Chocolate type – flavor: In this bake off, I used three brands of chocolate: Trader Joe’s 72% dark chocolate and milk chocolate pound plus bars, Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet chips and Guittard milk, white and dark chocolate chips. Chocolate is (obviously) an extremely important consideration when it comes to chocolate chip cookies. I am a dark chocolate lover and yet I found some of the cookies that called for all chopped dark chocolate a bit too intense and bitter with the 72% TJ’s bar. Meanwhile, I found the Guittard chips a bit lacking in flavor. I was pleasantly surprised that Ghiradelli brought a delightful balance of dark (but not too dark) flavor and a larger-than-average sized chip that melted more than the Guittard chips. While I tend to resist milk chocolate, I actually really liked the cookies that mixed chopped dark chocolate with the sweeter milk chocolate (or just the Ghiradelli bittersweet chips). And this would be my general recommendation for both flavor and aesthetics (discussed below).
- Chocolate type – chopped vs. chips: Besides the flavor difference of chopped chocolate vs. chocolate chips, these two options have an important impact on texture. Chopped chocolate melts more and encourages more spread in the cookie dough. Per Cook’s Illustrated, chocolate chips contain “a lower percentage of cocoa butter (i.e., fat) than bar chocolate does, which helps the chips hold their shape during baking,” which also means less spread for the cookies. I don’t think either of these factors are strong enough to significantly change the nature of a very chunky or spread-y dough, but chopped chocolate will always provide pools of melty chocolate that look more gourmet than a cookie made with chips.
- Salt: Oh, salt. I think this was a factor that unfairly affected the rankings of several cookies, so as always, take the rankings with a BIG GRAIN OF SALT! Salt is such a subjective topic–some really like a heavy-handed sprinkle of flaky salt on top while others find it hugely off-putting. I tend to like more salt, so I think several tasters found these cookies excessively salty. Just keep in mind that salt helps accentuate the chocolate, and while you should always ensure that your cookie dough is well-seasoned, you can always skip additional salt on top.
- Leavener: Most cookies use baking soda only. But in this round up, both Buttermilk Pantry and Cloudy Kitchen used baking powder alongside baking soda. Serious Eats explains that adding baking powder helps add carbon dioxide that encourages the cookie dough to spread up and out. This means a puffier cookie as well as a potentially more cracked appearance on top. While I think baking powder is a helpful ingredient in puffy-style Levain cookies, I don’t think it’s as important in these types of cookies and could potentially detract from a fudgier center.
- Eggs: While an extra egg yolk generally means more richness + moisture and potential chewiness, there are many other factors at play (butter, flour and sugar ratios, to name a few). The four recipes that used additional egg yolks (Miro, CI, Buttermilk by Sam, Ambitious Kitchen) didn’t prove consistently more moist or chewy than their whole egg-using counterparts. My takeaway here is that while extra egg yolks can help with chewiness, it’s only a small part of the larger picture.
- Butter: I used Trader Joe’s unsalted butter in all recipes except for Miro Uskokovic’s recipe, which calls for European-style butter (I used Kerrygold). There were so many other confounding factors that it was difficult to tell if the type of butter made a difference, particularly since the Kerrygold was used in conjunction with the gluten-free flour. While I love European-style butters for items like shortbread (ugh, the flavor), the luxurious flavor definitely gets buried in chocolate chip cookies. Generally, American butter is absolutely fine for baking your standard cookie and European-style butter can actually have adverse effects if the recipe was not designed for it.
- Vanilla: Cloudy Kitchen was the only recipe to call for a vanilla bean vs. vanilla extract. Like butter, chocolate chip cookies is an application where I don’t think this is really necessary because so much of the dough flavor is overpowered by the chocolate. Plus, you don’t really get the delightful visual aspect of the seeds within the cookie dough. But I do think you should still use good-quality vanilla extract!
- Flour type: Butternut Bakery was the only recipe to use bread + cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. The logic is to get a precise amount of gluten to achieve a texture in between chewy and soft that you can’t achieve with all-purpose flour. To be honest, although this recipe did very well, I’m not sure if we can attribute its success to the flour choice. I’d be curious to try this made with AP flour side by side with the bread + cake flour version.
Video Tasting Review
If you like longform (ish) videos, here’s me reviewing all 9 cookies in my New York apartment. You can get even more up close and personal with each cookie!
If you’d like to see all the recipes I collected in order to boil down this bake off to just 9 recipes, you can see them here.
Analysis of the Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
[Removed from rankings due to Baker’s error: I am somewhat positive I halved the number of egg yolks in this cookie rather than the 1.5x I meant to do. But here is the review of a barely-there version of Sam’s recipe!]
Buttermilk by Sam: an airy, crisp-edged cookie with a tender center and a good balance of milk and dark chocolate
Sam has a number of wildly delicious looking chocolate chip cookie recipes on her site. I selected this specific recipe for its unique use of all egg yolks. Similar to Ambitious Kitchen, Sam adds a tablespoon of yogurt to her recipe (likely to add moisture to replace the water that evaporates off the brown butter), a mix of dark and milk or white chocolate, and nearly 3x the amount of brown sugar to white. Most notably, this was the only recipe that called for browning the butter, adding salt, then firming the butter up in the fridge. This allows you to cream the butter with the sugars in a more traditional cookie method (and eliminates the need to chill the dough).
Accordingly, this cookie had quite a different texture compared to all the rest! It felt distinctly airier which makes sense as creaming incorporates more air into cookie dough than whisking melted butter with sugar. It had a delightfully crispy edge and a tender middle. There was so much chocolate that it was hard to detect the flavor of the dough itself. I was mystified why this dough was so much lighter than the rest of the cookies (perhaps my use of light brown sugar?). While this was an absolutely delicious cookie, it felt less brown butter-forward than others and had a distinctly airier rather than gooier consistency. But I’ll leave you with this: I made another batch to bring to a friend’s house and a fellow baker friend requested the recipe–the sign of an excellent cookie! I urge you to give this one a try.
- The cookie was the perfect texture – combination of crispy and chewy. I did find it a tad too salty
- Great flavors, love the saltiness. It’s a little crumbly would want more chew.
- I enjoyed the combination of crunchy and chewy and liked the saltiness at the end.
- Very buttery – similar to a shortbread cookie. The “cookie” flavor is pretty muted.
- Very tender cookie with more of a shortbread texture. It’s very buttery but doesn’t necessarily have a strong brown butter flavor. It’s smaller and paler than many of the other ones.
- Grainy texture and a bit too sweet for me but I liked the amount of chocolate. In between chewy and crispy–overall just an okay cookie for me.
- This one is a little grainy but still somehow chewy at the same time. A little too salty with the milk chocolate for my taste, but wanted to like it! Flavor without the texture considerations was okay, but overall not my favorite.
Miro Uskokovic: a thick, slightly sandy gluten-free cookie packed with three types of chocolate
This was the recipe that convinced me to do a brown butter-focused bake off. Chef Miro says this recipe is the “single biggest reason” for creating his website. For good reason! This is the famous chocolate chip cookie from the now-shuttered Untitled cafe at the Whitney Museum. I was most intrigued by this recipe because Chef Miro originally planned to have a gluten-free option. But after testing the gluten-free version, everyone actually preferred it over the all-purpose version! (Though you need to use the right GF flour mix to achieve the same results.) Chef Miro also notes that using chocolate chunks is best for this recipe (he uses Guittard or Valrhona). Unfortunately, while I did locate Guittard chocolate, I simply could not find chocolate chunks. So I used chips, but I highly recommend trying these with chopped chocolate. Lastly, this was the only recipe to use a fancier, higher butterfat butter (Kerrygold).
It’s an understatement to say this cookie had a number of challenges. I left sourcing the cup4cup flour until the last day and spent 3 hours running around the city trying to find it. I also used the wrong chocolate as noted above, and this really affected the results. After re-trying this recipe with chopped chocolate, I can confirm they spread much more than what’s seen in the photos and they just generally look more appealing with pools of chocolate. While I personally like the slight graininess of gluten-free flour mixes, I think it was a tough contrast against the other more conventional cookies. Not much brown butter came through in the dough, and the flavor profile was on the milder side thanks to the white and milk chocolate. Definitely some baker’s error played into this cookie’s low ranking (see: chocolate chips). But this is also further evidence and reason why I try not to mix vegan/gf candidates in with conventional recipes–it’s very tough for a gf recipe to win against a conventional recipe! However, I’ve made these again post-bake off and both gf and non-gf people alike enjoyed them. It’s still a delightful cookie that would be very good if eaten standalone!
- This one doesn’t really fit into what I would consider a brown butter chocolate chip cookie. It’s the thickest and heaviest cookie in the box and has more of a sugar cookie flavor with some chocolate chips added. I found it to be too sweet but if you like doughy cookies this one is great.
- Texture was different than it looks (in a good way). Not a strong classic cookie flavor coming through, but had a good balance of crispy and chewy.
- Loved the combo of the different chocolate chips, though didn’t have a very memorable texture (crunch or chew)
- This cookie was too sweet with the additional white chocolate and I couldn’t taste the brown butter, it was a little too thick and dry so the texture wasn’t quite as satisfying.
- Wanted to love this because it looks kind of like the levain style cookies, but overall I think there were too many chocolate chips. I didn’t get many bites of cookies dough. Slightly grainy/sandy texture.
Cloudy Kitchen: a picture-perfect cookie bursting with chocolate
Erin’s recipe is actually quite similar to Bravetart’s brown butter variation on her chocolate chip cookie recipe. Aside from minor differences in butter/flour/sugar, Bravetart adds a bit of nutmeg to her recipe. Since I’ve had issues adding just the right pinch of spices to Bravetart recipes in the past (and I find nutmeg a divisive spice), I decided to go with Erin’s recipe instead. This recipe calls for a vanilla bean, both baking powder and soda, all chopped dark chocolate, and doesn’t require chilling or a mixer!
As non-fussy as this is, this recipe turns out an excellent cookie. The edges are crisp in contrast with a tender, fudgy center, and it’s packed with chocolate. Tasting this cookie next to cookies mixed with milk chocolate actually made this dark chocolate-packed cookie taste a little too intense at first–but I quickly adapted. Most tasters noted that they loved the aesthetics of this cookie but generally found the chocolate too dark, which is an easy fix (you can easily adapt the chocolate to taste). The salt on top also seemed divisive, which you can obviously omit to adjust to taste. I think the baking powder did lend this cookie a slight airiness (i.e. lightened the density), though it was hard to tell through the massive chocolate puddles. Overall, I’d happily make this low-effort cookie again if I didn’t have time to let dough chill. I would likely use vanilla extract (I couldn’t taste the difference with the vanilla bean), cut down on the chocolate by 15-20%, and go lighter on the salt on top.
- Chunky cookie with a nice crispy texture around the edges and a soft and gooey center without feeling too undercooked. Sweetness is well balanced with the saltiness
- I like the flavor and thickness of this cookie but I found the texture to be a little crumbly. The addition of the salt on top is really nice and I love the pools of dark chocolate. Ideal flavor but maybe not ideal texture for me.
- Interesting texture–crumbly/airy on the inside with a crispier exterior. I liked the dark chocolate and that the cookie wasn’t too sweet.
- I think in this one I probably would have picked either one of the salt or dark chocolate but not both together. The salt combined with the more bitter chocolate was overwhelming. It was also a little crispier than I like my cookies.
- Was most excited for this one based on looks; I love a nice thick cookie. Loved the gooey-ness of the chocolate chips. But the cookie dough wasn’t as buttery as I wanted and the chocolate chips were a touch too dark for me.
Buttermilk Pantry: a lacy-edged, perfectly shaped cookie with a thick middle and packed with chocolate
I’ve been so curious to try one of Sara’s exhaustively tested and precisely written recipes, and I was thrilled to start with this one! Sara adds milk powder when toasting the brown butter to gain extra toasty milk solids. She also replaces salt with white miso paste and, like Cloudy Kitchen, uses both baking powder and baking soda. This recipe does call for a chill (just 30 minutes) and also utilizes a bit of Sarah Kieffer’s pan-banging method.
I’m not sure if my cookies turned out as beautifully as Sara’s, but they were certainly among the most petite-ly picturesque with a very even thickness that was tender almost all the way through. I wondered if the miso might make these stand out with a unique flavor profile but ultimately, I couldn’t detect a difference in these versus those made with salt. The additional brown butter milk solids also didn’t seem to make a huge difference. Overall, tasters seemed to love the butterscotch-y flavor of the dough but to be honest, I had a hard time getting the dough flavor through all the chocolate. Made as is, these would be perfect for a chocolate lover–but I would probably cut down on the chocolate again by 15-20%. I’d be curious to try these again to see if I can taste more nuances in the dough without chocolate overwhelming the flavor.
- Literally the perfect chocolate chip cookie. The vanilla came on a bit strong but grew on me! Chewier, denser and satisfying cookie. Not too sweet, good balance of flavors.
- I love this one, it has a strong brown butter and brown sugar flavor, a good ratio of chocolate to dough, and I like the pools of dark chocolate and the flaky salt on top. It leans more towards a chewy cookie without being too chewy.
- Great flavor. I appreciated the amount of salt and this one has the most butterscotch-y toffee flavor which was great and made it stand out in the crowd.
- This one was hurting with chocolate! If you are someone who loves a ton of chocolate in your chocolate chip cookies, this one is definitely what you want to make. It had a good flavor in the dough even without the chocolate and the texture was pretty chewy, which I liked.
- The cookie feels gluey the more you chew it – and the distribution of chunks was not ideal – maybe needed smaller chunks and distributed more evenly
I Am a Food Blog: a delightfully craggy, salty cookie that is more chocolate than dough
Stephanie’s recipe caught my eye for its slightly higher ratio of flour to butter compared to the rest of the recipes. Although this was not a Levain cookie test, I’m a sucker for a thick and gooey cookie, so I wanted to test this to see if it would yield a thicker cookie per my preference. This recipe uses a 3:1 ratio of brown to white sugar, 1.5 cups of flour per 1 stick of butter, chopped semi sweet chocolate, and also uses Sarah Kieffer’s pan-banging method to achieve craggy rings. It also calls for just a 15-30 minute chill, or however long it takes for your oven to heat up.
While I wasn’t sure if the pan-banging was doing much as I was baking, these did turn out a bit craggier than the rest! They were extremely gooey in the center, though they weren’t significantly thicker than the rest of the cookies. Similarly to Cloudy Kitchen and Buttermilk Pantry, it was hard to taste the flavor of the dough since the generous amount of chocolate was a bit overwhelming. Without baking powder, this cookie was perfectly dense and fudgy in the center. Between making this cookie and Cloudy Kitchen, it would be a tough toss up for me–both are excellent and quite similar!
- VERY chocolatey; really liked the layers of chocolate throughout. Dense and thick texture. Good amount of sea salt so was perfect balance of salty and sweet. Think the chocolate probably overpowered the brown butter flavor though
- This one looks incredible. The salt on top was a little much in my opinion. But it’s the perfect cookie after a long day, to sit and just indulge in. 🥰
- Loved the richness of the chocolate and salt – would want like 15% less chocolate
- Visually, this one looks so delicious. I love the pools of chocolate on top. It has a great balance of sweet and salty, although it’s a bit too much chocolate in the chocolate to dough ratio for my taste. It’s a soft, but not too soft, cookie with crispy edges.
- Overall, this cookie had too much chocolate for me and created an imbalance I wasn’t able to overcome. It made the cooke too rich and too sweet for me taste. In terms of texture, it was both chewy and crunchy at the same time – I wish the textures were more distinct with each bite.
Ambitious Kitchen: a nostalgic, soft-centered cookie bursting with vanilla flavor
Monique’s cookie is very similar to my personal favorite from the last bake off, Joy the Baker. While they both use an additional egg yolk, Monique uses a higher ratio of brown sugar, slightly less flour, and a mix of milk and semisweet chocolate. And most notably, Monique adds a tablespoon of Greek yogurt to keep the cookies moist and activate the baking soda to get crinkly tops. Did they stand up to Joy the Baker?
YES! I recall wishing Joy the Baker’s cookies were a little thicker, and AK delivers on that heartier texture while still remaining soft and gooey-centered. (But perhaps there was an element of baker’s error when I made JTB’s cookies in the last bake off because her current photos look decently thick. Must re-test!) While I usually don’t pay much attention to the amount of vanilla in recipes (aren’t we all measuring vanilla according to our hearts?), the vanilla flavor really stood out in this recipe. Monique uses a full tablespoon while most recipes use 1-2 teaspoons for a similar amount of butter/flour/etc. When tasting this cookie side by side with others, the flavor truly stood out in a good way. Just an excellent balance of salt, vanilla and caramelized flavor! Even though I generally prefer cookies with chopped chocolate over chips, I think the mix of chips really worked here–it was actually a nice contrast to the cookies packed with the deep dark chocolate. I can see why everyone raves about this cookie; it’s totally worth the hype!
- Absolutely bomb. Gooey and perfectly soft tops. Just enough chocolate for a rush of chocolate and salty goodness. Held its shape because of a semi crisp bottom. This feels like a very traditional, well executed option.
- I think that the texture of this cookie was really great because I appreciate a soft cookie. Reminds me of a nestle tollhouse cookie, kind of like the one classic childhood cookie
- Cookie texture is A+, salt level is good. Because this has more cookie than chocolate it comes across as a little too sweet. It’s a classic cookie.
- The chocolate chips on this one were a little more milky. Really crisp exterior with a nice, softer center. Generally a bit of a flatter cookie. Good butter flavor here.
- This one had a nice initial brown butter flavor right off the bat, but was a little too sweet in my opinion. The cookie had a a nice balance between chewy and crispy but I don’t know that I could eat more than half of one at a time.
- This one bakes up quite pale and flat compared to some of the others and has a very chewy quality to it. Even with the salt on top, I found this one to be too sweet and I wasn’t a big fan of the chocolate chips in it. It reminds me more of a toffee cookie.
Butternut Bakery: thin, perfectly even, fudgy-centered chocolate-y cookies
I was drawn to Jenna’s recipe because it shares a key similarity with the famous NYT/Jacques Torres cookie: a mixture of bread and cake flour. This is supposed to achieve the perfect level of gluten that AP flour can’t replicate. Jenna uses a 2:1 ratio of dark brown sugar to white sugar, and a mixture of semisweet chocolate chips and chopped chocolate. She calls for espresso powder to enhance the chocolate flavor and a tiny bit of lemon juice to break down the gluten to get a chewy yet tender cookie. Most interesting to me, she calls for chilling the dough overnight UNCOVERED! Many thanks to Jenna who responded to my DM and explained that this technique helps the butter-heavy dough dry out a bit and encourages the spread to be more even!
My anecdotal conclusion on this technique: it totally works! These were the most even, consistently shaped cookies with perfect pools of chocolate. While I typically love thicker cookies, the thin texture of these lent it an almost “juicy” texture and I found the tender bite absolutely addicting. I really enjoyed the buttery flavor of these along with the combination of just a few chips with mostly chopped chocolate. While I definitely couldn’t taste the lemon and only picked up on a hint of the espresso, some tasters found the coffee flavor overwhelming. So, if you’re sensitive to coffee, I might reduce or omit it. Some also felt it was too salty, which is easy to adjust by reducing the salt sprinkled on top. This was one cookie I kept returning to; they are a masterpiece.
- Near perfection. It has the strongest brown butter flavor out of all the cookies and isn’t too sweet. It’s more of a soft and chewy cookie and I love the pools of dark chocolate.
- This one probably has the most intense brown butter flavor of all the cookies. You really get that caramel flavor and texture in the first bite. Not overly sweet and had the right amount of salt to balance it out. It was a little soft and fell apart but overall enjoyed this one a lot.
- Upon tasting, this one had almost like a coffee flavor to it but maybe that’s the brown butter finally coming through. Honestly feel like the others all tasted like a regular butter CCC but this one had a noticeably different flavor. Because of the thinness of the cookie, it was crunchy all over with a chewy interior. Definitely a top contender.
- Felt like I could really taste the brown butter in this cookie. Good for people who like thinner cookies, although the texture was more chewy than crispy. Wish I could have this flavor in a chewier cookie.
- Does this have espresso powder? Or some other coffee additive? It’s a very good addition that rounds out the flavor.
- I had high hopes for this one – it looks like a fancy cookie. The texture is good – both crispy and chewy, but I’m getting too much salt and I’m weirdly getting some kind of coffee impression? Could be making that up but I don’t like coffee so it isn’t helping for me.
Claire Saffitz: deeply salty, caramel-flavored cookies with delightful chocolate pools
Claire’s recipe is a pretty classic formula that is very similar to a number of other recipes. With a 1:1 ratio of brown to white sugar and a mixture of chopped milk and dark chocolate, this recipe stood out most for its use of heavy whipping cream. Claire says the heavy cream helps add back moisture and fat after the moisture evaporates off the brown butter.
I was honestly gobsmacked by the flavor profile of these cookies. They were so salty, deeply toasty and I couldn’t stop coming back to them. There was a good amount of chocolate, but not so much that I couldn’t taste the cookie dough. While I preferred the texture of the CI cookies, these were still delightful with crisp edges but a gooey, soft center and the chewiest bite out of all the cookies! I still can’t pinpoint if this just had the deepest brown butter flavor or the perfect ratio of brown sugar or the right amount of salt or just hit upon the right buttons to hit my nostalgic bull’s eye, but this flavor was A++ to me. This was a close tie for my favorite cookie–and clearly as well for everyone else in terms of favorite overall cookie!
- I think that this is the perfect cookie! The edges were perfectly lacy and crisp while the center was still gooey and soft. There was a great sweet, chocolate, salt balance!
- Really liked the flavor, texture, and look of this cookie! Mostly chewy with crispy edges. Not too sweet, and could taste a hint of salt which was a nice contrast. Buttery and delicious!
- I like this cookie! When it’s crispy it’s very crispy and when it’s chewy it’s very chewy. Unlike other cookies, I felt like it was clear what each bite brought instead of being both at once. It wasn’t too sweet – it had a bitterness which elevated the cookie.
- This cookie manages to be both very chewy and crispy at the same time with good depth of flavor. The heavy mouthfeel is weirdly satisfying. I find it to be very sweet
- This one has a chewy snap to it. Crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I really liked the ratio of chocolate to dough in this one and it had a caramel quality that I enjoyed.
- Crispy on the edges. Could really taste the butter in this one. Was a little too chewy for me, but ok.
- I loved the texture of the cookie and the flavor of the dough, but it was a little too oily/sweet and I wanted more chocolate.
Cook’s Illustrated: chewy, crackly, buttery cookies with a satisfying bite
I allllmost went with some recipes that were similar to Cook’s Illustrated minus their fussy “whisk and wait” step (see: Broma Bakery). In the end, Skyler convinced me that I had to include the former winning recipe as a control. This recipe calls for an additional egg yolk, a slightly higher ratio of brown to white sugar, and an unusual 14 tablespoons of butter (most recipes use a round 8 oz). It also calls for semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli per CI’s chocolate chip tasting recommendation). The “whisk and wait” refers to whisking the batter for 30 seconds, then letting it sit for 3 minutes–you do this 3 times to help the sugars dissolve. Because the dough doesn’t require refrigeration, it looked so wet when I went to bake it that I was a bit concerned.
My concern was for naught–they turned out beautifully! And despite spreading quite a bit, they were still much thicker than I was expecting given the wetness of the dough. They had a distinctly crackly, glossy top that I’m convinced is due to the whisking and waiting! Though I said it above–I actually think the Ghiradelli semisweet chocolate chips were superior to the Guittard chocolate chips. Perfectly dark but not too bitter and also big enough to create substantial pockets of chocolate, I think the chips contributed to CI’s win. This was probably one of my favorite cookies texturally, but I think that Claire and AK both had a flavor edge for me. Still, a triumph. *and the crowd goes wild*
- Damn. This is a dream. Wish I had heated it up. The crispy bottom gives way to a layer of brown butter chocolate goodness on top that is DENSE but baked thin enough that it’s not overwhelming. Flavor is simple but well executed. Also these things are so big (wide) omg.
- This one is definitely my favorite so far. Really good ratio of dough to chocolate and overall great flavor. Not too sweet, not too salty–everything is very balanced. Texture is also great and has a crispier edge with a chewy center.
- Felt more like an equal ratio of cookie to chocolate which I liked (not overpowered by chocolate). Nice chewy texture and not too sweet! Overall enjoyed this cookie
- Favorite so far. This cookie was a great balance of chewy and thin. The dough has a great buttery flavor, texture is perfect, just wish there was a little more chocolate and a little more salt.
- Great crispy edge and it was chewy, but almost a little too chewy, as in it seemed to require a lot of chewing. The butterscotch flavor was really good on this one though.
- Good balanced flavor – not too sweet and not too bland and the chocolate didn’t overwhelm the cookie. While I liked the chewiness of the cookie, the sameness of the texture could feel boring over time.
Erika’s picks: Claire Saffitz, Butternut Bakery, Ambitious Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated
The crowd favorite: Cook’s Illustrated
Best for gooey chocolate lovers: I Am a Food Blog, Cloudy Kitchen, Buttermilk Pantry
Best for thicker cookie lovers (or gf peeps): Miro Uskokovic
Best for thin cookie lovers: Butternut Bakery, Buttermilk by Sam
Best for chewy cookie lovers: Cook’s Illustrated, Claire Saffitz, Ambitious Kitchen
would love to try the Cook’s Illustrated recipe but I really can’t be arsed to pay subscription just to see 1 recipe.
my current go to is Honeysuckle (she’s a YouTuber) cookie recipe.
I have to 2nd the Cook’s Illustrated recipe. It’s the one that’s requested the most among family & friends. The flavor depth is out of this world. And I love not having to soften the butter.
Serious eats has a delish one
You need to try Joanne Chang’s recipe. It’s delicious.