These brown butter white chocolate chip cookies are soft and chewy with a rich toffee flavor that just melts in your mouth. Make the basic recipe or toss in some macadamia nuts or dried cranberries for white chocolate macadamia cookies or white chocolate cranberry cookies.
"First...I have never been a white chocolate fan, but...my mother-in-law loves it!! So, I thought I would prepare the cookies for her. Of course she loved them and I have to admit, I loved them, too! So good!!! The GHIRARDELLI Classic White Premium Baking Chips is THE WAY TO GO!!! The chips are delish!!! Thank you for the recipe." - Mechele
When I began testing this recipe, I had visions of white chocolate chip cookies were soft, chewy, and buttery. I love a good crispy cookie, like the satisfying snap of these coffee and cream cookies or dunkable cranberry orange chocolate biscotti.
But for these cookies, I wanted soft and meltingly tender, similar to these white chocolate raspberry cookies, but with more buttery chew.
The secret was a combination of brown butter, cornstarch, and an extra egg yolk for extra richness. A touch of nutmeg and plenty of vanilla gave these cookies a deliciously warm flavor that really brought out the toffee flavor of the brown butter.
Bake these cookies as is or toss in some macadamia nuts or dried cranberries, or anything else that strikes your fancy. You'll see plenty of suggestions for other mix-ins below.
The basic recipe for these cookies only requires a handful of ingredients. From there, you can add whatever you like including macadamia nuts or dried cranberries.
- White chocolate chips. Or, a chopped white chocolate bar.
- Pure vanilla extract.
- Salt, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and nutmeg. All the usual suspects, plus a couple of characters you might not expect. Just a teaspoon of cornstarch prevents these buttery cookies from spreading too much while they bake. Cornstarch also helps create a chewy texture. Nutmeg works with the brown butter and white chocolate to make them taste all warm and cozy. And salt is sugar's best friend so there's some in the dough and some flaky sea salt sprinkled on top of each cookie.
- Butter. This is an all-butter cookie recipe but instead of just mixing the butter straight into the dough, this recipe calls for browning it first. Brown butter gives these cookies a complex, slightly smoky, toffee flavor and there is just nothing not to love about that.
- One whole egg + one egg yolk. I tested this recipe with one whole egg, two whole eggs, and one whole egg plus an extra yolk. The egg + extra yolk situation created the chewy, super tender cookies with the richest flavor.
- All-purpose flour. I really wanted to bake soft, tender, melt-in-your-mouth kind of cookies so I played around with using cake flour. But, the low protein content of cake flour made the cookies a bit too soft while all-purpose flour added enough structure to hold them together.
- Brown sugar and white sugar. Brown sugar helps create a chewy consistency in these cookies and brings out even more of the rich toffee brown butter flavor. The acid in brown sugar also reacts with the baking soda to keep the cookies nice and soft while the properties of white sugar trap enough air to keep them tender. Soft, tender, chewy, warm, and buttery. That's what these cookies are.
Additions and substitutions
- To make white chocolate macadamia nut cookies: stir in about a cup (more if you like) of roasted and salted macadamia nuts. I like to stir them into the dough whole, but if you want smaller pieces that are more evenly distributed throughout the dough, chop them up a bit before tossing them in.
- White chocolate and macadamia nuts are a favorite combination, but you could substitute any other kind of nuts you like, chopped or whole. I almost always prefer to use roasted and salted nuts in cookies because they have more flavor. But, raw, unsalted nuts also work well.
- To make white chocolate cranberry cookies: Add about a cup of dried cranberries along with the white chocolate chips.
- White chocolate and cranberry are a classic combo, but you could use in any kind of dried fruit in with delicious results. Try chopped dry apricots, dried cherries, or even chopped dried mango.
- For white and dark chocolate chip cookies, swap out half of the white chocolate chips for semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips or some combination of all three.
Step-by-step photos and instructions
Step #1 is to brown the butter. Here's how:
Cut the butter into chunks and place it in a medium size light-colored saucepan. Using a light colored pan is important because dark pans make it difficult to see when the butter is browned.
Cook the butter over medium heat until it's melted and begins to boil. Continue to cook, stirring constantly.
As the butter cooks, it will foam up a bit which can make it difficult to see when it is beginning to brown. So, as you stir, pay attention to the color of the butter on the bottom of the pan.
*Salted butter creates more foam than unsalted butter.
When the butter is golden brown with dark brown specks on the bottom of the pan, pour it into a bowl. Use a spatula to scrape all the brown flecks from the bottom of the pan into the bowl - those brown bits contain a lot of flavor!
It will smell nutty and look a bit like a dark, foamy beer. The whole process only takes about 6-8 minutes. Let the brown butter cool to room temperature before using it to make cookie dough.
Add the cooled brown butter, both sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and vanilla to a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it's lighter in color and appears aerated and fluffy.
Beat in the egg and egg yolk. The mixture will curdle a bit at first but keep beating...
After another minute or so of beating, the batter will be smooth and fluffy again.
Add the flour and most of the white chocolate chips to the cookie dough and mix on the lowest speed just until everything is incorporated. If you're adding anything else like macadamia nuts or cranberries, add them with the chocolate chips.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces and form each piece into a ball. Place them on a cookie sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Top each cookie dough ball with a few more white chocolate chips and a sprinkle of sea salt, and put them in the oven to bake.
It's important to remove the cookies from the oven when they are slightly under-baked. The tops of the cookies will appear set and they will have lost most of their sheen, but they will look very soft and a bit doughy.
As the cookies cool, they will set and you'll end up with soft, chewy cookies that melt in your mouth.
If you love brown butter
If you love brown butter as much as I do... what a silly thing to say. Of course, you do. Check out these three brown butter cookie recipes:
Roasting fruit in brown butter and maple syrup creates an incredibly rich and delicious dessert sauce that's perfect for drizzling over ice cream, cake, pancakes, or waffles.
And, because some of you might want a meal before dessert, brown butter sauce pasta with parmesan cheese and crispy bread crumbs the kind of thing you allow yourself to really truly need on those days when pasta and butter sauce might actually be the answer. We're talking pure comfort in the form of a plate of pasta.
- 10 tablespoons (141 grams) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (107 grams) brown sugar
- ⅓ cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
- 1 ⅓ cups (160 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (170 grams/ 6 ounces) white chocolate chips
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- Brown the butter: Cut the butter into chunks and put it in a light-colored saucepan. (Dark pans make it difficult to tell when the butter is browned.) Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted and begins to boil. As you stir, pay attention to the color of the butter underneath the foam. When it's done, the butter beneath the foam will be golden brown with dark brown specks on the bottom of the pan and will smell nutty. Once browned, pour the butter into a small bowl. Be sure to scrape all the brown flecks from the bottom of the pan into the bowl - those brown specks contain a lot of flavor. Let the butter cool to room temperature.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Add the brown butter, both sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, nutmeg, and vanilla to a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes. Beat in the egg and egg yolk. When you first add the eggs the batter will curdle a bit but keep beating until it's cohesive, light, and fluffy again.
- Add the flour and ¾ cup of the chocolate chips and stir just until combined. If you're adding anything else like macadamia nuts or cranberries, add them along with the chocolate chips.
- Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place them on the cookie sheet spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Press the remaining chocolate chips into the tops of the balls of cookie dough and sprinkle each with a pinch of flaky sea salt.
- Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, until the tops of the cookies look set and have lost most of their sheen but still look a bit doughy.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and let them rest on the baking sheet until cool enough to move without breaking.
- The pinch of sea salt on the tops of these cookies really brings out their flavor and balances the sweetness of the white chocolate.
- To make white chocolate macadamia cookies stir in about 1 cup of roasted and salted macadamia nuts along with the white chocolate chips.
- To make white chocolate cranberry cookies, stir in about 1 cup of dried cranberries along with the white chocolate chips.
- See the "additions and substitutions" section above for other suggested mix-ins.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 282Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 196mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 0gSugar: 21gProtein: 4g