We spent years perfecting this recipe for a perfectly soft and chewy texture with a hint of crispiness. Tahitian vanilla infused into browned butter is the secret to these cookies. Guittard chocolate and organic walnuts complete the decadence. We guarantee that these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever.
Chocolate Chip Cookies and Walnuts
The best chocolate chip cookies are fresh baked straight out of the oven still hot and gooey.
I’ve wanted to increase my cookie baking repertoire for years. But, I have a house full of cookie monsters that demand chocolate chip. “Oatmeal raisin? No! Peanut butter cookies? No! Shortbread cookies? I’m allergic to gluten. ‘Chocolate chip cookies have flour‘. That’s different, chocolate chip cookies are the best!” (I’ve made versions with gluten-free flour. They are good, but not the same.)
What is Tahitian Vanilla?
We are all familiar with vanilla extract. Pure vanilla extract is very expensive, but recipes never require more than a teaspoon at the very most. Vanilla extract come from vanilla beans, the same aroma and flavor in real vanilla ice cream. For such a small and unassuming plant, it has a very powerful ability to impart flavor. I love the aroma of pure vanilla in the pod with its’ almost creamy anise and floral notes. It is amazing that these tiny dark cured pods can carry a price tag that competes with Japanese wagyu or Bluefin tuna.
The majority of vanilla bean production comes from Madagascar and the Indian Ocean region. There is also significant production in the South Pacific. Madagascar beans represent that very strong, clear vanilla note. This is typically what is used for making pure extract. Tahitian vanilla beans come from the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia. I favor these beans the most because I worked with them in dessert applications since I started cooking professionally. For me, they are slightly more complex in flavor due to the soil and climate in the Pacific Ocean region. I like the vanilla intermingled with a fruitiness reminiscent of cherries and apricots.
How to Prepare Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Start by splitting open a vanilla bean pod with a sharp knife. Use the tip of the knife to cut down the center of the pod lengthwise. You only need to cut halfway through the pod. Using the edge of the knife, scrape the vanilla bean out of the pod and set aside. The empty pod can be used for compost.
Next we are going to prepare the vanilla browned butter. We recommend using Clover unsalted butter from small family farms in Sonoma County.
Using a small sauce pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir the vanilla bean into the butter. The butter will start to foam up.
Cook the butter till it is a deep brown amber color, then turn off the heat. Be very careful because the hot butter may splatter.
Remove from heat and set aside. Cool to room temperature before adding to the batter mixture.
Set up a stand mixer with a wire whisk attachment.
Add the eggs and beat on a high setting till frothy.
Reduce the speed to medium, then add the brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon.
Switch to a paddle attachment. Use a medium setting and slowly combine the vanilla browned butter with the egg. to a paddle attachment on a medium setting.
The flour, salt and baking soda can be combined together. We are not going to add the flour mixture all at once. The ingredients will be added in 3 stages. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix till completely incorporated. Repeat this process 2 more times.
Lower the speed to a medium low setting. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts.
Mix till well combined. We used Guittard chocolate for this recipe. Normally, I would use dark chocolate or semi-sweet, but my kids were begging for milk chocolate.
Preheat oven to 350F. I chill the dough for 20 minutes before baking to reduce crispiness. Form a log and wrap in plastic wrap before placing in the refrigerator.
*Cooking Tips: I prefer fresh baked cookies. If that is your preference as well, split the cookie dough in half. Form logs out of each half of dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. I recommend you try both methods to see which you prefer. You can immediately form the cookies for baking or chill the dough before forming. Shelf life for refrigerated dough is 2 weeks.
**Cooking Tips: Refrigerated dough will be rock hard when it first comes out of the refrigerator. Let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before forming cookies for baking.
Lightly grease a half sized baking tray or you can use a Silpat. Form round portions of cookie dough. Each portion size is a little more than 2 tablespoons. If you are using a scoop, use a #24 which is 1.33 ounces or 37.7 grams. Each tray will fit 12 balls of cookie dough 4 across and 3 down.
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Bake for 12 minutes. Remove and cool.
*Tasting Notes: There were a few times, I accidentally forgot to set a timer. If you like crispy cookies, bake for 3-4 more minutes. As long as they don’t burn, they are still delicious.
Enjoy your fresh baked chocolate chip cookies!
If you loved these try my Frosty Snowball cookies.