Tested and Bested: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans

After testing 5 kinds of chocolate chips, we’ve cracked the code for the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe you’ll ever need.

Why this recipe works:

  • I blind tested five kinds of chocolate chips- see the recipe for the winning chip.
  • two trusted men tasted cookie after cookie to crown a winner
  • Browning the butter brings out incredible nuttiness and flavor
  • Brewed coffee is my secret ingredient- it makes the chocolate more intense
  • Vanilla bean paste gives complex deep flavor
  • I tested and tested this recipe over a dozen times to perfect it
Our own little test kitchen

When did cookies become so complicated?

What is the deal with cookies lately? How many times have you read a recipe or seen a cooking show where the chef talks about “smoky toffee notes” or ” butterscotch caramel undertones.” Why did we complicate the simple chocolate chip cookie? Where did we go wrong?

So I looked at my trusty Toll House cookie recipe and decided I need to get with the times. I enlisted Hunky Hubbie and my nephew, Charlie, to be my chocolate chip cookie testers. Who knows more about how a proper chocolate chip cookie should taste that a teenage boy and a devout chocolate loving dad? No one!

I took the blind chocolate tasting very seriously

First we tested which type of chocolate would be best for the cookie. We blind tasted Hersey’s Special Dark, 365 Dark Chocolate baking chunks, Guittard Extra Dark chocolate, Ghirardelli semi sweet chips and the noble go to standard Nestle Toll House semi sweet morsels.

Our winner: Hersey’s Special Dark- not too sweet, very creamy, melted perfectly

Our winner was Hersey’s Special dark chips. They were not too sweet and melted perfectly in the cookie. Chunks just did not melt well. I have been testing recipes trying to find a cookie that is not only chewy, not too sweet but with a depth of nuttiness. I think I have developed the perfect recipe for you. An oven temperature gauge is very important for this recipe. Make sure your oven is exactly 350 degrees prior to baking. I prefer a Silpat baking liner over parchment paper as well. (* Note- My Silpat does not photograph well- do as I say, not as I photograph) You can use it over and over again. Try using insulated cookie sheets to prevent scorching. Nordic ware makes my favorite. There are few unusual ingredients- molasses & coffee – trust me. It works. Molasses adds moisture to the cookie keeping them chewy and coffee always deepens chocolate flavor. I only add a tiny amount of coffee- use what is leftover in your coffee pot- nothing special, but that little bit really makes a difference. I use coffee in my Chocolate Cake recipe and my family will tell you, that cake is insanely good. More on the cake in a few weeks….

Molasses and brewed coffee deepen the flavor of the standard chocolate chip and add chewiness

The next trick was browning the butter, but not all of the butter. I have seen several TV chefs adding browned butter to their recipes, so I gave it a try. Use a very heavy skillet to brown the butter. Slowly swirl the pan- no spoon, no anything- just gently swirl over low heat until the butter deepens in color.

The key to this recipe- Browning one stick of the butter
Swirl the butter gently in the pan until brown bits are visible- it is worth this extra step

These few extra steps will have you baking like a cookie sommelier – now you can brag about those caramel and toffee notes. A tall frosted glass of grass fed ultra filter organic milk will pair perfectly with these next generation cookies. 😉

Cool the browned butter
This is the color you are looking for- deep caramel- now you are a cookie pro!


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp

  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed

  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp molasses

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

  • 1 TBSP brewed coffee

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips- we tested five brands and prefer Hersey’s Special Dark

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

A plateful of chocolate chip cookies
Cream remaining stick of butter and sugar


  • In a large heavy pan, melt one stick of butter over medium heat until it browns and smells nutty. The butter will foam, sizzle and look angry. Swirl the pan constantly until butter is brown. This takes about 5 minutes. Small bits of brown butter granules will appear on the bottom of your skillet. Do not burn. Set aside into a bowl to prevent further cooking. Let cool for up to 30 minutes.
  • Add second stick of butter and brown sugar to a large bowl. I prefer to use a stand mixer. Beat at medium speed until sugar has dissolved into the butter. About 5 minutes. Mixture will be smooth. Reduce speed of your mixer and add in vanilla, molasses, coffee and beat until well blended. Add cooled browned butter and remaining white sugar. Scrape down the bowl of the mixer.
  • Reduce speed to low and add eggs. Beat until combined. Add in flour, salt and baking powder slowly. Fold in chips and pecans.
  • Cover cookie dough and chill in fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line an insulated cookie sheet with a Silpat liner or parchment paper.
  • Scoop dough with a small ice cream scoop (about 2 tablespoons per cookie) and set on baking sheets. Leave about 2-3 inches between cookies. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove and let cool on baking sheet for 1-2 minutes then set cookies onto a wire rack to cook completely. Recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Once dry ingredients are incorporated, add in the good stuff
We found letting the dough chill overnight intensified the flavors
Little globs of buttery happiness
Ahhh, the love.

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  1. Where’s the actual recipe with measurements, etc? Seriously, this isn’t cool.

    1. Hi Kris- that is bizarre. The internet ate my recipe! I am trying to restore the post. Please look for it in a day or two. So sorry! Thanks for letting me know.

    2. Kris- the recipe is now reposted. Thank you SO much for bringing it to my attention. Tt’s one of my most tested and most popular recipes. A website update kicked out the recipe blocks.