I had no idea that chocolate chip cookies were missing anything. But they were. Two things. Are you ready? This could change your outlook on life, so prepare.
1. Browned butter. And if you want to know what heaven probably smells like, just go brown some butter. Real talk.
2. Toasted coconut. I love the texture of coconut. Many people do not; I understand this. My aunt refers to it simply as “worms.” Once I made a coconut cake for Thanksgiving and brought it to her house. I vowed never to do it again when she looked at it with a grimace and said, “You brought a worm cake? To my house?” Never again. But, as long as she’s not around, the coconut in these cookies put them over the edge.
It’s a depth of flavor thing. The browned butter tastes sort of caramelized, and the toasted coconut is chewy and crispy and nutty and wonderful. The extra time it takes to pre-brown the butter and pre-toast the coconut is absolutely worth it. I have decided that I only want to eat browned butter from now on. On toast, on sweet potatoes, on my fingers. On everything.
The perfect scratch-made chocolate chip cookie is a lifelong struggle, I’ve decided. To be honest, this is the closest I’ve come. I have learned two things. First, chill the dough. The longer the better. Second, don’t overwork the dough. When you put the dry ingredients into the wet, only mix long enough to incorporate. I’m not sure why this matters, but it does. I’m sure there is some science-y explanation. But just trust. These tricks give you soft, thick cookies rather than thin and crispy ones.
I have been eating little pieces of these cookies since they came out of the oven. I will have one for breakfast tomorrow. With my coffee. And then I’ll take the rest to work, where I’ll be a little sad (in spite of myself) every time someone else eats one. Just because I’m not eating it instead. But I’m glad to share. At least I can pretend to be.
Brown Butter & Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 2 dozen medium-sized cookies
1 cup butter (after browning, it will be less)
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 tsp salt (or a little more if you like some bite… I do!)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup toasted coconut (unsweetened)
1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
Preheat the oven to 350 F
Start by browning your butter. Eliminate all distractions. You need to smell this with all your attention. Now, just put the butter in a pan and stir until it begins to turn a caramel brown color. Get it out of the pan before it starts to burn.
Now, toast your coconut. But watch it, it’ll burn if you get lost in a brown butter/toasted coconut aroma reverie. Take it from someone who’s been there.
In a large bowl, combine your browned butter and both the white and brown sugar. Beat until incorporated, then add the whole egg and the egg yolk, the milk, and the vanilla. Mix again. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.
Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet. Only mix until it is smoothly incorporated.
Fold the chocolate chips and the coconut into the dough.
Important step: Chill the dough for at least 1/2 hours if you like thicker cookies. If not, bake right away. I recommend chilling.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Make palm-sized dough balls and place them about 2 inches apart. I pressed mine down into flat circles because this dough does not spread much at all. I made mine a uniform thickness. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Place cookies on a cooling rack. I don’t suggest eating one so soon that the melty chocolate chips burn the roof of your mouth. But if you must…