Cookies and I go way back. Anyone remember going to the mall with your friends and getting a bag of Mrs. Field’s mini cookies? I sure do! In fact, I loved those cookies so much I got a Mrs. Field’s Cookie cookbook for Christmas one year- one of two cookbooks I still have from when I was a kid.
I’m not sure if my parents were trying to flatter me or what, but they always said my cookies were the best. It didn’t matter if they were from my new cookbook or the back of the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip bag. They asked my secret and I shared that I always overflowed the teaspoon when measuring out the vanilla and did the same thing with the salt. Because baking is usually an exact science, this is obviously not recommended- I was a kid and I didn’t know any better. After making dozens of chocolate chip recipes in recent years, I am frequently drawn to the ones that call for two teaspoons of vanilla instead of the standard one. Hmm… maybe I was onto something as a kid.
I thought I had found the perfect chocolate cookie recipe about two years ago- it was an Alton Brown recipe which means basically a science experiment until he found the perfect recipe. And that he did. A cookie that was perfectly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Enough vanilla to really taste it and plenty of chocolate chips. It was this recipe that made me realize that using melted butter and egg yolks were the difference between a good cookie and an amazing cookie. These cookies have made many many people quite happy to be on the receiving end and that has made me very happy.
There was only one problem with this recipe- it was perfection on day one, but day two resulted in a flavorful, yet crumbly cookie mess. I’m not entirely sure what happens after these cookies sit overnight, but I always thought it might have something to do with the lack of egg whites. Dries them out perhaps?
I was pretty content with this near perfect recipe, until a beautiful friend brought us a cookie jar full of cookies from a new local cookie shop. They were hands down the best cookies I’ve ever had- that day, the next day and many days later. Antoine’s Cookie Shop in San Mateo is nothing short of amazing and in my mind had perfected the cookie, once and for all. How lucky are we to have them so close?! They offer about 10 different varieties and each one is memorable. However, there is one that I thought about the next day, and the next… the toffee cookie. It has such a wonderful flavor of caramel and buttery toffee chips with the perfect texture. But at $1.60 a cookie, I had to figure out how to make this cookie at home.
Enter browned butter… I had read several recipes lately that had browned butter and then Bon Appetite ran a recipe that combined browned butter with a toffee chocolate bar- brilliant! I figured if I combined the toffee bits and Guittard chocolate chips from Antoine’s Cookie shop, the browned butter from the Bon Appetit recipe, and the genius work of Alton Brown’s egg yolk and muffin method (combining wet to dry ingredients rather than the creaming method of creaming the butter and sugar till fluffy), I might have a pretty good recipe. But, there’s still the issue of the dry crumbly cookie the next day. Perhaps adding a whole egg and an egg yolk would help this issue. The result was a pretty spectacular cookie- my family agreed. The true test for me was to try the cookie the next day- was it going to be a crumbly mess or just as good the next day? Believe it or not, the cookie was actually better the next day, certainly in flavor but in texture as well. I tried half of a cookie with my coffee. Delicious. After my eggs and smoothie and I was no longer so hungry, I tried the other half, still delicious. I tried another half cookie after lunch (I’m lying, I ate a whole cookie) and it was still so good. My mom called about the same time I was having my second cookie of the day and I declared it the perfect cookie to her. She was on her way to the store and I’m certain she made sure to pick up some toffee bits and butter.
These are very easy with only an added step of the browned butter. Worth every minute…
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Browned Butter, Toffee and Sea Salt
Inspired by Antoine’s Cookie Shop and adapted from Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here For More Food and Bon Appetit
1 cup of unsalted butter
2 cups of flour, all-purpose
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
⅓ cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups chocolate chips, I use Guittard semisweet
½ c of toffee bits (found in baking aisle, or chopped up Heath bars from your hidden Halloween candy stash- I combined both in this recipe)
Flaked sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 or 350 if using a convection oven.
Cook butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until it foams, then browns, 5–8 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
Add brown sugar, granulated sugar and browned butter to mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until incorporated. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix. Scrape bowl. Reduce mixer speed to low; add dry ingredients and beat just to combine. Mix in toffee and chocolate chips by hand or with a few turns of the electric mixer.
Using a mini ice cream scoop, place dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 2″ apart. Do not flatten; cookies will spread as they bake. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake cookies until edges are golden brown and firm but centers are still soft, about 9 minutes. They should look slightly underbaked in the center. Let cool on baking sheets for 5-10 minutes until set and slightly cooled then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Makes about 2 dozen. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy