When I was younger, I really wanted to open a bakery.
I thought selling cupcakes, cookies, super fudgy brownies and cakes would be so fun. Whipping up fresh buttercream, adorning each cake with cute sprinkles, packaging up fresh-baked cookies… it all sounded so blissful… until I realized how HARD owning a business is.
First of all, hiring employees. I was always a stellar employee at every job I’ve held, but trying to interview the mass public to find people to entrust with my business? Oh hell to the no. Could not do it.
Second, the hours! I would have zero me-time, and I’m someone who needs adequate me-time. I’d constantly be in the bakery at 2am baking cupcakes and frosting cakes and likely wouldn’t leave until late at night when I’d have to restart the whole process. Nope nope nope. That’s like, two hours of me-time a day and it would take about 4 days before I would commit myself.
And third, the work-related issues… like gaining ALL THE WEIGHT from eating ALL THE COOKIES. Especially cookies like these ones, because I could not stop eating these when I made them. Holy mother of pearl, peeps. These are out of control. And if they would be any indication of my bakery, I would weigh 34587634 pounds and would have no customers… because I would eat every product.
So yeah, owning a bakery is not in the cards. But baking bakery-style cookies? Totally doable. I don’t even need to hire anyone to do my bidding because I’ll gladly eat every last crumb of these bad boys.
The best thing about bakery cookies are their size! Bakery cookies aren’t your standard wimpy cookies – they’re easily double the standard cookie size for maximum cookieage. BTW, ‘cookieage’ is totally a word. Bakery cookies are also jam-packed with flavor and texture, creating a heavenly eating experience that makes you want more. These cookies boast both mega-flavor and uber-texture, thanks to five very important, super crucial components that make these cookies over-the-top, outta-the-field AMAZING. Those components include…
Brown Butter. Brown butter takes these to the next level of awesomeness. My standard cookie recipe features 3/4 cup of butter, but this recipe has 1 full cup of butter – 1/2 of which is browned. Brown butter simply means that you cook the butter down in a saucepan until its a nice, deep amber color with flecks of brown bits on the bottom. Those brown bits impart SO much flavor, it’s crazy. The result is an added richness and nuttiness that’s positively irresistible.
Vanilla Bean Paste. One of my favorite ingredients, vanilla bean paste elevates any dish it touches. Vanilla bean paste is stronger than extract since it’s more concentrated and comes out thick like caramel sauce. It has flecks of vanilla beans in it, lending the cookies a ton of rich vanilla flavor and wonderful flecks of bean throughout the dough.
Chocolate Chunks. Because chocolate chips are for losers. Kidding! But chocolate chunks really set these apart from your standard chocolate chip cookie. The chunks add great texture and cover more surface area of the cookie, giving a melty burst of chocolate in every bite! I love using Nestle’s Chocolate Chunks or Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chunks which are both roughly chopped semi-sweet chocolate. Semi-sweet is recommended in this recipe, but milk could easily be used.
Sea Salt. It adds a great finishing touch on each cookie with those sexy, salty crystals on top. The coarse salt really off-sets the sweetness of the chocolate and vanilla bean.
Last but not least? Espresso Powder. Yes, espresso! These cookies do not taste like coffee, nor do they taste like mocha. If you want that, simply add more espresso powder to the batter. Espresso powder functions as another element to deepen the flavor, adding more richness to the chocolate and heightening that flavor of the brown butter, chocolate chunks and vanilla bean. A little goes a long way which prevents the cookie from A) tasting like coffee; and B) being undetectable but still present in the dough. If you want to omit this, you totally can – but I highly, *highly* recommend adding a little smidge in.
Doesn’t it sound like I should open a bakery? If these cookies were involved, I probably would. They’re kinda-sorta life-changing. Promise.
Now who wants to work for me?
XXL Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter divided (make sure you're using REAL butter, not butter spread or margarine)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp espresso powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chocolate chunks
- Sea salt for garnish/sprinkling
- First, make your brown butter. In a small saucepan, melt ONE (1) stick of butter over medium-low heat. The butter will eventually melt, then start to bubble, pop and foam up, turning frothy. This is normal. Cook low and slow for about 5-7 minutes, swirling the butter around the pan occasionally, until the butter is amber in color and fragrant, almost nutty. Do NOT burn the butter! Once butter has browned and is amber and fragrant, remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl to cool, about 20 minutes.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar with the paddle attachment for approx. 2 minutes, until creamy and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla bean paste to combine. Add in the salt, espresso powder, baking soda and cornstarch, and beat to combine. Add in HALF of the flour, beating to combine. Stream in HALF of the browned butter. Add the remaining flour, beating to combine, then stream in the remaining browned butter, adding in all the bits at the bottom. Once dough comes together, stir in the chocolate chunks.
- Refrigerate the dough for AT LEAST 2 hours, but I recommend refrigerating for 4 hours to overnight. This step is MANDATORY as the dough will spread significantly if it does not sufficiently chill. The dough needs to be super duper cold before baking, so I really stress chilling for at least four hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment sprayed with cooking spray. Drop 1/4-cup rounded mounds of cookie dough onto the baking sheets, keeping about 2-3" apart. Sprinkle the tops with sea salt as desired.
- Bake for approx. 10-13 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even cooking. Cookies may appear slightly under-done; this is normal and they will continue to firm up as they cool. If desired, add a couple more chocolate chunks on top of the freshly baked cookies for a prettier appearance. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets before serving. Store leftovers airtight at room temperature for up to a week.
These cookies *do* require a chilling time of a recommended 4 hours. I know, I know – major suckage. BUT I promise you that the results are MORE than worth it. Seriously – these may be one of the best cookies I’ve ever eaten. Swearsies. They are SO soft, chewy and moist, bursting with rich chocolate, sprinkles of sea salt, and are packed with amazing flavor from the nutty browned butter and sweet vanilla bean. They are positively INCREDIBLE and I know you’ll love them!
Sophia @ NY Foodgasm says
OMG these look AMAZEBALLS! I want to eat them now!
Shawn @ I Wash You Dry says
Oh my heavens YES!! Yes to these cookies, not to trying open a bakery, yeah, too much work involved. I just want the cookies. 😉
That’s okay, I’ll still give ya some cookies 🙂
Oh lordie, pardon me while I wipe up my puddle of DROOL in front of my laptop. HOLY MOLY do these look delectable!
Eek, thanks SaraLily! They’re easily one of my favorites!
Julianne @ Beyond Frosting says
I have had those exact same thoughts! I certainly learned my lesson when I worked in a bakery in high school. #tooearlyforme
Right?! I already don’t have a social life. It would be like, totally dead if I had a bakery. Not an option, haha!
Kelly - Life Made Sweeter says
I would totally work for you if I could get paid in cookies 🙂 These look perfect! Soft, chewy cookies are my favorite!
Kelly, you’re hired! Thanks for the sweet comment, girl! xo.
Medha @ Whisk & Shout says
If I work for you, do I get free cookies?! Because if so then um YES! Love the espresso powder touch and love that these are XXL. Yum 🙂
Medha, you’re welcome to be my taste-tester anytime, girl! Come on over and eat these XXL cookies with me!
Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction says
Love everything about these! They are the perfect cookie!
Jocelyn @BruCrew Life says
Those are all the same reasons why I never want to own a bakery. At one point in my life I thought it would be cool…until I realized how much more work it would be. No thanks, I’ll stick to my one batch and share it on the web! These cookies look amazing Hayley!!! They are packed with so much good stuff. And sea salt always gets my vote!!!
Sea salt is the real winner here – I’m glad you can agree! 🙂 And you’re so right – that one batch split among family (or, if we’re being honest, eaten solo!) is the best. No need to make any more (my thighs couldn’t handle it anyway!) 😀
Can I use vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean paste??
Yes you can – I’d use almost a Tbsp of vanilla extract to really get that vanilla flavor.