I don't make cookies very often. These cookies reminded me why. I just can't keep my hands off the dough! I pick a little here and then a little there and I've probably eaten the equivalent of two or three by the time they're baked. These cookies get it right from every side: the perfect balance of sweet and salty with the deep, warm flavor of brown butter, not to mention a little substance from the oats, crunch from the nuts, and, well, chocolate.
Brown butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
Yield: around 2 1/2 - 3 dozen cookies
2 sticks butter (8 oz)
3 cups oats
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Toast the oats and walnuts (or don't. It adds a deeper, toasty flavor that complements the brown butter well. But it won't hurt to skip this step.): Spread oats and nuts over baking sheet and put in oven for 8-10 minutes, or until toasty and fragrant. Take out and let cool completely.
Meanwhile brown butter: put butter in a saucepan over medium heat. First it will melt, then it will bubble and foam, then it will clear up and you'll be able to see the butter solids on the bottom of the pan. Swirl the pan around gently and watch for the solids starting to brown. This can go pretty quickly so just be careful! When the butter takes on a brown/amber color and has a fragrant, nutty smell, remove from heat and pour into a big glass bowl, scraping out the browned bits on the pan. Let cool for a few minutes.
Add sugars to butter and beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat.
Add flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Mix until combined.
Add in walnuts and chocolate chips and stir to distribute evenly.
At this point, I put the dough in the fridge for a bit (or the freezer if I'm short on time) until it's firmer and easier to handle.
Form into 1 inch balls and put on prepared baking pan. (Give them some space in between because they'll spread a little.)
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, switching pans halfway through. If you like a softer, chewier cookie, take it out when it looks set. If you want a little more crunch, bake longer until browned. They'll firm up as they cool.
These keep well for two or three days in an airtight container. If you think you won't finish them in that time, I suggest freezing some (completely cooled) cookies in a ziplock to enjoy another time!
Some ideas for variations: add more chocolate chips; swap out half chocolate chips for raisins; swap raisins for chocolate chips entirely; add coconut; use any different nut you prefer; use cranberries; omit cinnamon and use cranberries and white chocolate chips.