Extracts, like vanilla and almond, are designed to infuse a baked good with flavor and are highly concentrated so that you don’t need to use very much to taste their impact. I love vanilla and use a lot of it in my baking, but I still like to mix things up. While many cookies call for bourbon vanilla, I used real bourbon in these cookies. Compared to vanilla extract, bourbon isn’t as intensely flavored (though the bite of the alcohol may make it seem that way), so you need to use more of it to taste its impact. Like vanilla extract, the alcohol in the bourbon will bake off in the oven, leaving you with some uniquely flavored cookies, not boozy ones.
If you bake a lot of cookies, you’ll probably notice that I was a little more generous with salt in this recipe than I am with the salt in may others. This is because bourbons typically have smokey, spicy character to them that comes from the process of barrel-aging the spirits. Adding a little extra salt makes the cookies less sweet and helps some of that bourbon spiciness to come through. I will also note that I used kosher salt, not table salt, and recommend that you go for that if at all possible.
The cookies are chewy in the center and crisp on the edges. They are exceptionally addicting. Remember, you’re not going to get drunk from eating these cookies. If you want to, pair them with a favorite cocktail or some bourbon-spiked whipped cream. There simply isn’t enough alcohol in the cookies alone for that. The bourbon makes the cookie dough taste AMAZING and lends a complex spiciness to the baked cookies that you won’t get from vanilla. It ties in very well with the brown sugar. In fairness, the cookies would taste a lot more like bourbon after baking if they didn’t use so many chocolate chunks (I used semisweet, but a blend of milk and semisweet would be excellent, too), but I love a good chocolate chip cookie and this one is one worth making on a regular basis.
Brown Sugar Bourbon Chocolate Chunk Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt (pref. kosher salt)
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup bourbon
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together. Blend in egg and bourbon. By hand, or with the mixer on low speed, stir in flour mixture, then fold in the chocolate chunks
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies to allow for spread.
Bake for 11-13 minutes at 350F, until cookies are lightly browned around the outer edge.
Let cookies rest on sheet for at least 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Makes about 3 dozen