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Small Batch Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Small batch baking recipes have become a specialty of mine over the years; I've even written an entire small batch baking cookbook. So you can trust me when I say I know a thing or two about scaling down recipes yet keeping them big on flavor; like these: the BEST small batch brown butter chocolate chip cookies you will ever eat.
It's no secret that I think brown butter makes everything taste better. From cinnamon rolls to snack cakes, I try to squeeze this magical ingredient in whenever possible. That's why it was a no-brainer to develop this scaled-down recipe. This small batch recipe makes just 8 cookies, which is perfect if you have a small household and not enough people to share a full batch of cookies with! (Or if you're like me and lack self-control!)
Now I'm not one to go around and call my recipes the "best" often because, obviously, it's all subjective. But I'm willing to stand my ground regarding this recipe... these are hands down the best brown butter chocolate chip cookies ever (thanks to a secret ingredient!). Try them and see for yourself! 🙂
Why You'll Love This Recipe:
- Flavor. These cookies have the most intense brown butter flavor you will ever taste, thanks to the addition of dry nonfat milk powder. (More on this below!)
- Texture. I use *mostly* brown sugar, which helps to keep the cookies softer and chewier in the middle, yet still allows for crispy, delicious edges.
- Easy to Make. This is a one-bowl recipe that doesn't require any sort of mixer.
- Yield. This small batch recipe yields exactly 8 perfect cookies.
Ingredients & Substitutions
You probably have most of what you need to make these small batch brown butter chocolate chip cookies already sitting in your kitchen. Here's what you'll need:
- Butter: I prefer using unsalted butter in my baked goods, but salted is just fine too... you'll just want to reduce the salt the recipe calls for to 1/8 teaspoon.
- Nonfat dry milk powder: This is a trick I picked up from Bon Appétit. Nonfat milk powder is essentially pure milk solids. The very same milk solids responsible for brown butter's toasty, nutty taste. This means all you have to do is add a scoop of milk powder to melting butter, and you’ll go from brown butter to the most brownest butter.
- Brown sugar: The color, moisture, and flavor you get from the molasses in brown sugar can't be beaten. You can use either light or dark brown sugar!
- Granulated sugar: It's nice to have a bit of balance as far as sweeteners are concerned.
- Egg: Only 1 large egg is needed here, which helps deliver a chewy final result!
- Vanilla: It enhances all the other flavors. I like to use vanilla bean paste; however, vanilla extract will work fine too!
- Dark chocolate: Opt for your favorite chocolate bar here! I love using dark chocolate Lindt bars, especially in cookies, because they make perfect chocolate puddles.
- Bread flour: Bread flour has a higher protein content which helps add extra chewiness to these cookies. If you don't have any bread flour on hand, you can replace it with an equal amount of all-purpose flour!
- Baking soda: This provides a little leavening action and also helps the cookies to brown nicely while baking.
- Salt: Cookies made without salt taste a little plain, so don’t skip it.
How to Make Small Batch Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Not only are these the best brown butter chocolate chip cookies you will ever have, but they come together SO easily! Here's how you make them.
How to Get Perfectly Round Cookies
Cookies with mix-ins tend to spread a little more and can look a little wonky when they first come out of the oven, but there's an easy trick to get perfectly round cookies: use a cookie cutter! By swirling a large round cookie cutter (or any circular object really; a small bowl also works) around the freshly baked cookie, you can tuck in the uneven bits and reshape it before it cools and sets, creating a picture-perfect round cookie. To take advantage of this trick with this recipe, I recommend baking only 4 cookies at a time, leaving ample space between the cookies and the edges of the cookie sheet (so you have room to swirl).
Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
Why is my milk powder clumpy once I add it to the melted butter?
This is totally normal, don't worry! You can use your spatula or whisk to break up the clumps as much as you can while you're browning the butter. Once you whisk in the sugars and egg though, any remaining clumps will break down and disappear on their own!
Do I have to chill the cookie dough?
Yes, you MUST chill the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes. If you bake the un-chilled dough, the cookies won't hold their shape at all and may even meld together during the baking process. This cookie dough is a bit on the oily side before chilling due to the brown butter, and it becomes less oily as it chills. Trust the process!
How can you tell when the cookies are done baking?
Remove these cookies from the oven while they still look ever so slightly underdone in the center. The residual heat of the pan will continue to finish cooking them to soft perfection and cause them to set. I recommend checking at the 10 minute mark.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it’s the most accurate way to bake and it’s how I develop them; cups are not only inaccurate, but they vary in volume worldwide! In any event, if you look at the recipe card underneath the ingredients list, you can click “US Customary” and it’ll convert to volume measures!
Watch How to Make These Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Small Batch Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 113 g unsalted butter
- 30 g nonfat dry milk powder
- 110 g light brown sugar
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 1 large egg (≈ 50g)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 125 g bread flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 100 g 70% cacao dark chocolate chopped
- flaky sea salt optional
- Cube the butter and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light-colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly.
- Once melted, add the milk powder and stir until evenly incorporated (don't worry if some of the milk powder clumps together). Keep stirring. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning; you’ll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan, and you'll begin to smell a nutty aroma. Once browned, immediately remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl.
- To the brown butter (which should look like dark, wet sand), add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and whisk until evenly combined. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk again until well combined.
- Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined; be sure not to overmix! Fold in most of the chocolate chunks (reserve some for the next step) until incorporated.
- Using a 3-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop, scoop the dough into balls and place dough balls on a lined baking sheet. Top with remaining chocolate chunks, then place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line another baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Bake the cookies, 4 at a time, for 10-12 minutes, or until browned on the sides; the centers will look soft. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the tops with flaky salt. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.