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Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some home bakers will tell you that the secret to a good cookie is using brown sugar instead of white. I don’t think that this is actually any kind of secret at all, but I will agree that brown sugar can add a unique flavor to a cookie.

Brown sugar is basically white sugar that has had some molasses added back to it. This gives it a deeper flavor, and consequently produces more flavorful cookies. Molasses also helps to keep the cookies moist, so a cookie made with brown sugar will be slightly chewier than one made with white sugar.

I would not say that these cookies are particularly chewy, though they do remaining soft in the center even after a couple of days in the (airtight) cookie jar. I would describe them as being an excellent example of what homemade cookies should taste like. They are simple, flavorful, slightly crisp on the edges and soft in the center. They are about 1 1/2 – 2 inches across and packed with chocolate chips.

I initially thought that I would put milk chocolate chips in these cookies, but while the cookies are not overly sweet at all, even the batter tasted too sweet with milk chocolate. Try using semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips in them for a good contrast.

These won’t spread out as much as you might expect, so you can fit quite a few on a sheet if you leave about an inch between each cookie.

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract and egg until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in all the flour mixture, stopping when the dough has just come together and no streaks of flour remain.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Place slightly rounded tablespoons of dough on baking sheet.
Bake for 9-11 minutes, until just golden around the edges.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen.

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  • Miss Tenacity
    August 14, 2006

    I’ve always wondered if the same effect could be had by using white sugar and adding a small amount of molasses to the recipe….

    Ever try this?

  • Jennifer
    August 14, 2006

    Nic, these look great. I prefer brown sugar, too. Then again, most any cookie is fine with me!

  • Nic
    August 14, 2006

    Miss Tenacity – I have never had the need to try it, but I have been assured that it does work. There is some specific substitution, I’m sure, but you probably only need a very small amount of molasses to make it work.

  • shuna fish lydon
    August 15, 2006

    Well, bold move indeed. But, is that light or dark brown sugar?

    Adding molasses will make the cookie taste of this predominantly. It is a very strong ingredient all on it’s own.

    And have you ever come across Medium brown sugar? I have a weird story involving this in-betweener…

  • Ellie
    August 15, 2006

    Simply sublime, what a great photo!

  • jenjen
    August 15, 2006

    nothing beats a simple tasty choc chip cookie. These look marvellous!

  • Julie
    August 15, 2006

    Thank you for blogging such a simple perfect recipe. It made me want to ask you about a certain type of chocolate chip cookie that I’ve been obsessed with since a college friend made them many years ago. They were a “secret” recipe (I hate when bakers don’t share!). Anyway, they were cakelike, soft and did not spread much. She used mini chips. I have tried cookies with cream cheese and that is not it. I am started to suspect that the recipe included store bought yellow cake mix. Have you ever heard of a recipe for chocolate chip cookies like this? I can’t resist asking…

  • J
    August 15, 2006

    hi nic, i always think of chocolate chip cookies, un-mucked about with, as the original, classic, ultimate comfort food…yours look like utter perfection, as always! just add milk 😉

  • Nic
    August 15, 2006

    Shuna – I usually use golden brown sugar, which seems to be the middle of the road, neither light nor dark. I have used several kinds of brown sugar, though, and they all work equally well as far as these cookies go.

    And about the molasses, I would think that you would only need a teaspoon or two to tint the white sugar to the appropriate shade of brown. Do you think it would change the flavor that much? Perhaps I’ll have to try it and see.

    Julie – It sounds to me like your friend might have used shortening in her recipe, since shortening-based cookies seem to spread less than butter-based ones. I think that Crisco has recipes on their website, so pick up some trans-fat free shortening (Earth Balance or Crisco) and give them a try.

  • Syga
    August 15, 2006

    It would be healthier to use muscovado, the brown sugar state before crystallization. But this is powder-fine and might affect texture and spread of cookie. It has an interesting flavor though because it’s akin to dried molasses. So, maybe I can use part brown sugar and part muscovado. Hmmm, we’ll see. Thanks for recipe.

  • Kitchen Chick
    August 17, 2006

    I’ve been using a mix of white sugar and muscovado sugar with great success, but while muscovado is much more flavorful it is also much more expensive, so I sometimes I dilute the muscovado with regular brown sugar.

  • Anonymous
    August 18, 2006

    Best cookies I’ve ever made!!! Thank you for the receipe- 🙂 Your awesome!!!!!!

  • keiko
    August 23, 2006

    Hi Nic – those are such beautiful cookies, I love the idea of adding brown sugar.

  • Diary of Kay El
    January 7, 2007

    Basic yet works well! EVERYBODY loves them! Thanks for sharing this recipe. I have put up a post on my experience baking these – and I have made MANY MANY batches since…

  • Pin from Thailand
    December 23, 2007

    I made it yesterday and everyone in the family loved it THANK YOU!

  • Karen
    August 14, 2008

    Hi, I tried this out last night and they turned out great!! Do you mind if I link up your blog in my post?? Thanks for sharing and what a wonderful blog you have here!!

  • maris
    November 2, 2008

    thanks for the idea im gonna trie it out for science fair

  • Becca
    January 16, 2009

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ve made them several times already and everyone *LOVES* them!

  • Florence
    July 2, 2009

    I made this recipe as a gift for my boyfriend’s parents, and they loved it! I wrote about it in my blog, with a link to this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing it, it was extremely delicious!

  • Pawadee
    February 18, 2010

    My all time favourite recipe! Thank you

  • Paula B.
    April 1, 2011

    Great cookie, I love brown sugar and am always on the hunt for a new c.c.cookie. So easy to put together, I used m and m’s instead of chips and halved the recipe – I just needed a small amount to treat the neighbor kids. You are right: soft center, a little crispy outside. I placed really small amounts of dough on parchment lined sheets, baked for eight to nine minutes, depending on the pan used, and perfect! Thanks for a new twist on an old standby.

  • Beth R
    November 4, 2011

    I have been on a quest to find my idea of a perfect choc chip cookie for the past couple years !
    I have read all the advice from all the fancy people including Martha, about using different sugars, more brown less white, room temp eggs vs. right outta the fridge, dark pan vs. shiny, shortening vs. butter, chilled dough vs. just mix it and bake it dough….the list goes on.
    When I saw the photo of this cookie and your description I said “Holy catfish , thats my perfect cc cookie !” Well I really didnt but I thought it …so today I will continue my quest and bake yet another cc cookie. I will let you know if I can rest and finally say that I have found my idea of the perfect choc chip cookie.
    Then I can work on the perfect BROWNIE !
    Hugs 🙂

  • Mar
    September 26, 2012

    These looked absolutely wonderful! I ran out of sugar one night before school and I needed a chocolate chip recipe without granulated sugar and these were perfect! Crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside <3 My family loved them and they were really easy to make! Thank you for posting this; so helpful!

  • Melanie.W
    February 24, 2013

    These are what I consider the Perfect Chocolate chip biscuits I have ever baked. And I won’t use any other recipe.
    My daughter loves them and so do all my friends.
    Thank you 🙂

  • Julia Marie
    September 17, 2014

    My family enjoyed these cookies! Great recipe!

  • Lunia
    November 8, 2014

    Would anything bad happen if I accidentally added 1 cup of milk in it then place it in the freezer so it can be tough enough to roll into cookie shapes?

  • Nicole
    November 10, 2014

    Lunia – Yes, the cookies will most likely spread out a lot if you have added 1 cup of milk to the dough. Thicker cookie doughs are the best for rolling out cookies and cutting them into shapes. I would recommend putting your dough/batter into a baking dish and trying it as a bar cookie/cake, if you want to try to salvage it.

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