It’s hard to beat a plate of Grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookies, a tried-and-true classic passed down from generation to generation. However, sometimes breaking tradition isn’t so bad either. Especially when it involves brown butter.
Upgrade your favorite chocolate chip cookie (yes, it can be made even more irresistible) with six simple, secret ingredients that you probably already have on hand.
Cornstarch is the ultimate trick for thick, fluffy, soft-baked cookies. Add a spoonful or two to your next batch—1 teaspoon for every dozen cookies should do the trick—for unbelievable lift and pillow-soft texture. The cornstarch keeps spreading in check, making for taller, puffier cookies, and lends extra tenderness to each bite.
For cookies that fall closer to the dense and chewy end of the cookie spectrum, try swapping out a portion of all-purpose for oat flour or finely ground rolled oats. The ground oats add a chewy texture and satisfying bite without being noticeable enough to warrant a name change to “oatmeal chocolate chip.” Plus, putting oatmeal in cookies basically makes them acceptable to eat for breakfast, right?
3. Brown butter
Say goodbye to plain old butter and hello to its grown-up cousin. Browning your butter beforehand gives it a nutty, toasty complexity and subtle notes of toffee and caramel that make for some seriously delicious cookies. You can directly substitute brown butter in recipes that call for melted butter, or chill it first for recipes that use softened butter instead.
If you’ve never made brown butter before, don’t be intimidated—all you need is a pot, a stove and a careful eye. (Oh, and a step-by-step guide wouldn’t hurt either.)
Next, bring out that buttery goodness with a healthy pinch of nutmeg, a mild baking spice known for its butter-enhancing qualities. Since you shouldn’t be able to actually taste the nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon per two dozen will suffice—just enough to give your cookies that mysterious, extra oomph you can’t quite put your finger on.
Amp up your chocolate chip game by using a mix of different brands (Nestlé, Ghirardelli and Scharffen Berger if you’re feelin’ fancy), shapes (chips, chunks, discs and chopped bars) and cocoa percentages (milk, dark and anything in between). The variety keeps each bite new and exciting, completely twisting the principles behind the three-bite rule of dieting. (It’s for a good cause.)
6. Sea salt
Finish off your cookies with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt for a salty-sweet experience that’ll make your taste buds dance. The salt brings out the cookies’ rich caramel undertones and actually slows down the evaporation of aroma molecules, resulting in cookies with better, longer-lasting flavor. Science-backed and taster-proven.
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Now, go get your bake on: