These brown butter toffee chocolate chip cookies are a crowd pleasing dessert, perfect for holiday baking or special occasions. This recipe calls for resting the cookie dough for two days and sprinkling the baked cookies with sea salt, elevating these delicious cookies to something you’d find in a high end bakery!
These Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt sound like a decadent $3 dollar cookie you’d get at a fancy bakery. And, they taste like it too! Thankfully, we can make this recipe at home with ease.
I saw this recipe on a Buzzfeed Tasty video and decided to make them for a dinner party. They were such a hit! Everyone loved them and couldn’t believe they were homemade. They really do taste like a bakery style chocolate chip cookie.
There are a few tricks that make this recipe really unique. The first is browned butter in the place of regular butter, giving the cookies a richer flavor. The second is toffee, which melts into delicious caramelized sugar bits, and the third is resting the dough 36-48 hours. This allows the flavors to meld together and that is what gives it that bakery look and flavor.
If you’re wondering if these are worth it, yes, they totally are! This is a perfect cookie recipe for the holidays or special occasions such as birthdays, office parties, or bake sales. And, while it sounds complicated it’s not actually that hard to get your own bakery style brown butter toffee chocolate chip cookie that will totally wow.
Making Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
Making homemade Toffee
The toffee for these cookies is actually really easy to make! You add the butter and brown sugar and cook/stir over medium heat until it reached 290 degrees. Then, you pour onto a prepared baking sheet lined with parchment and freeze until it hardens. That’s it!
If you don’t want to make your own toffee or your don’t have a candy thermometer you can also buy toffee bits or chop up toffee bars such as Skor (about 6-7 oz), or even substitute the toffee for more chocolate if you want regular brown butter chocolate chip cookies. But, I will say the toffee melts when baked and adds a delicious caramelized sugar flavor that really takes these cookies to the next level so I highly recommend the toffee!
Making Brown Butter for Cookies
This recipe calls for browning the butter rather than using regular softened butter. Brown butter, or beurre noisette, is the process of melting unsalted butter over low to medium heat until the fat in the butter and the milk solids separate and the milk solids start to brown. As the milk solids brown it will start to give off a delicious nutty smell. Brown butter is used in all sorts of dishes, such as cakes and cupcakes, as well as a delicious sauce for pasta, meats, and vegetables.
For this recipe, we are browning 1 cup of unsalted butter. You can use any pan or pot when browning butter, but I find a light colored pan makes it a little easier to watch the milk solids brown. Place the butter in the pan and cook over medium heat until the butter melts and starts to boil.
Stirring the butter, keep cooking it over medium heat until the milk solids separate. While cooking, the mixture will bubble up and look very foamy, this is totally normal. Just keep stirring. Once the milk solids start to separate, the bubbles will subside a little. At this point, turn down the heat to medium low and continue cooking the milk solids until they are a nice brown color. The whole process can take less than 10 minutes, so watch the brown butter very carefully as it is easy to burn. Because this brown butter is going in baked goods, I like to brown it a little more than I would for a brown butter sauce.
Once it’s browned, immediately remove from heat. Again, you want to make sure that you do not burn the milk solids. They should be a brownish amber color, not black. If you think you’ve burnt it, you can taste the brown butter. It should not taste bitter or burnt.
For this recipe, we need to add back some of the water that was cooked away and cool down the butter. We do this by adding 3-4 ice cubes (about 1.5 to 2 oz). Add one ice cube first, as it will cause the mixture to bubble up a lot! Once that initiate ice cube has melted you can add the rest and stir until they’re melted as well.
Making Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Once you have your brown butter cooling down and your toffee in the freezer, it’s time to mix the rest of your ingredients. I like to measure and mix everything first, and then combine. This also helps give a few extra minutes for the brown butter to cool down.
In a large bowl, measure out your granulated sugar, brown sugar, espresso powder, salt and baking soda and mix together and set aside. Then, in a separate bowl mix together two eggs and vanilla. Finally measure out the flour using the spoon and swipe method of spooning the flour into the measure cups and swiping the excess off the top with a knife. This ensures you do not overfill the measuring cups with flour. If you dip the measuring cup directly into the flour, it packs down and you will add too much flour to your recipe.
At this point you can chop your chocolate and toffee. If your toffee is too hard you can always break it into pieces and put it in a zip lock bag and and hit it with a rolling pin to break it into bite sized pieces.
Once all your ingredients are measured out, add the brown butter to the sugar mixture and stir until it is completely mixed together. Then, mix in the egg mixture, and stir until completely combined. Finally, add the flour and continue mixing until it is combined and there is no visible flour.
After you mixed your cookie dough, add the toffee and chopped chocolate and stir until it is combined.
Resting and Baking Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Now, you’ll be forming balls of cookie dough and resting it for 36- 48 hours. Lining a baking sheeting with parchment paper or a silicone mat, you’ll divide the dough into balls and rest it in the fridge. Because we’re only resting the dough at this point, and not baking it, you can place the balls of cookie dough close together on your baking sheet. If your cookie dough is too soft and spreads when you try to divide it, place the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes to cool down. That should help it to form easier not spread.
The original recipe calls for forming these cookies into ½ cup balls. Even when making it I thought this sounded like a lot of cookie dough and it was! When I tried to bake my first batch it spread into one giant cookie. From there I divided the cookies in half so each was ¼ cup dough, which is much more manageable. I recommend using an ice cream scoop to make it easy to scoop into cookie dough balls.
Once they’ve resting for two days, you can place 4-6 cookies on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes in a 300 degrees preheated oven. You can see from below, 1/4 cup dough makes big cookies that do spread a lot and can sometimes spread into each other. Because of this make sure they are at least 2-3 inches away from each other when you bake them.
You can also bake a more standard size cookie of about 2 tbsp dough and lessen the baking time by a few minutes. And, if you want extra large cookies you can always do ½ cup cookie dough and bake 2 at a time and add a few minutes baking time.
Does Resting Cookie Dough Matter?
This recipe calls for resting the cookie dough 36-48 hours. For me, this actually did make a big difference! I made one batch that I rested overnight and the other I did for the full 48 hours. The one I rested the full48 hours was much darker and tasted much more like a bakery/professional cookie. The other cookies were also very good, but they had more of that traditional home baked chocolate chip cookie taste.
Tips for two day brown butter chocolate chip cookies:
- Use good quality chocolate, it makes a big difference in the recipe
- You can use light or dark brown sugar in this recipe, but I prefer dark brown sugar.
- Wait for toffee to cool for a few minutes before putting it into the freezer so you’re not placing a super hot pan directly to your freezer.
- Don’t want to make toffee? Buy it! You can use store bought toffee in place of making it. You’ll want 6-7 ounces toffee in place of the homemade recipe. You can also omit the toffee altogether and replace with more chocolate.
- When making brown butter, keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
- When adding ice to the brown butter, add 1 cube first as it will bubble up a lot and you don’t want it to overflow if you add all the ice cubes at the same time.
- If after you make the cookie dough, it is still too warm and spreads out when you try to form cookie dough balls, place the bowl of cookie dough back in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes to firm up and try forming the cookie dough balls again.
- For these cookies, I used ¼ cup of cookie dough per cookie which makes a big cookie. Using an ice cream scoop makes it really easy to measure out.
- Resting the dough makes the difference between a standard cookie and something you’d find at a bakery.
- Let the cookies cool completely before you remove them from the pans.
- These will keep for 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge or at room temperature.
Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup brown sugar light or dark, lightly packed
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Water as needed
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3-4 ice cubes 1.5-2 oz
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar light or dark, packed
- 2 tsp espresso powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 6 oz high quality chocolate chopped
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat
In a medium saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, and salt over medium heat. Stir until the butter has fully incorporated into the sugar.
Stirring constantly, continue cooking the toffee mixture until it reaches 280-290 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If the mixture starts to separate and get oily, add a few teaspoons of water and remix very fast until it comes back together. It should take about 10-15 minutes to reach 290 degrees.
Once the toffee reaches the desired temperature, immediately remove from heat and pour onto the prepared baking sheet.
Let cool for about 10 minutes at room temperature so you’re not placing boiling hot pan in your freezer. Once it’s cooled down slightly, place the entire baking sheet in the freezer while you prepare the cookie dough. You can make the toffee up to an hour or two in advance.
Cut the 2 sticks of butter into 1 inch pieces. In a medium saucepan or pot melt the butter over medium to medium high heat.
The butter will bubble up at first. But, keep slowly stirring and after about 5 minutes the bubbles will lessen and you will start to see the milk solids at the bottom of the pan start to brown. At this point, I normally turn down the heat to medium or medium low. Continue cooking until the butter has a nutty smell and the majority milk solids are a dark amber brown color. Watch carefully, and be careful not to burn the brown butter. You do not want it black.
Once the butter has browned, remove from heat. Add one ice cube. The mixture will bubble up a lot, so slowing stir it in and let the ice cube melt.
Add the remaining ice cubes and stir until melted.
Continue to let the brown butter cool while you mix up the remaining ingredients.
If you haven’t done so already, chop the chocolate bars and set aside.
Mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, espresso powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.
Measure our 2 ½ cups flour (spooned and leveled) and set aside.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs and 2 tsp vanilla extracts, and set aside.
Pour the melted brown butter into the granulated sugar mixture and mix with a whisk or spatula until completely combined.
Add the 2/ ½ cups flour the butter and sugar mixture. Using a spatula, mix until there is no visible flour in the mixture, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate everything.
Then, stir in the egg/vanilla mixture and continue mixing until combined.
At this point, you can take out the toffee from the freezer. If the toffee is too frozen to chop like you did the chocolate, you can break it into a few smaller pieces and add to a gallon ziplock bag. Seal the bag (you can also double bag the toffee as the toffee can break through the bag ). Hit the bagged toffee with a rolling pin until bite sized chunks form.
Add the toffee and the chopped chocolate to the cookie dough and thoroughly mix using a spatula or your hands.
Place a piece or parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Once it’s mixed you can use a ¼ measuring cup or an ice cream scoop to measure out balls of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. At this point, since we’re only resting the cookie dough, you can place them close together on the pan.
If the dough is still warm and spreads out when you try to form balls of dough, you can put the whole bowl in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes to cool it down. This should help make it easier to form the cookies.
Cover the tray with plastic wrap, leaving a small corner uncovered to allow the cookies to dry out a bit.
Place the cookie tray in the fridge for 36-48 hours.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Line multiple baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Place 4 to 6 cookies on the cookie sheet at least 2-3 inches apart from each other. These are big cookies that spread a lot!
Bake 18-20 minutes
Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with sea salt (optional).
Let cool completely before trying to remove from the baking tray.
I prefer to use a light colored pan when making brown butter. You can make it in any saucepan or pot, but I think it’s easier to see the brown butter and ensure it doesn't burn it if the pan is lighter.
Don’t want to make toffee? You can sub 6 to 7 oz candy toffee such as Skor or use more chocolate for a regular brown butter chocolate chip cookie.
These will keep for 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Let come to room temperature before serving.
This recipe is adapted from this Buzzfeed Tasty video (in the video he uses 4 eggs, but I believe he’s doubling the recipe).
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