I genuinely cannot believe that it’s already past the middle of March! Where did all that time go? To be fair, the last month has been a bit of a whirlwind: I was mostly heads down, rushing to meet another deadline for #weeknightbakingbook (you guys, writing a book is such a monster of a journey and I have so many feelings about it and I promise I will eventually tell you all about it once I’ve recovered), all the while fighting off the worst throat infection I’ve ever gotten (complete with pretty nasty eye infection, because fun fact: did you know that a viral infection in the throat can turn into conjunctivitis?! It happened to me, and I’m here to tell you all about it, except maybe not on my food blog because that’s unappetizing and gross). But no matter — things are finally starting to chill out some, and I’m here with this recipe for chocolate chipless cookies:
Chocolate chipless cookies are exactly what they sound like — chocolate chip cookies, but without any chocolate chips, chunks, or those expensive chocolate discs I’m always going on about, feves. This isn’t a trick! They have absolutely no chocolate whatsoever. Now, why would I do something like that? You guys know that I’m an absolute chocolate fiend. And I tend to pack literally at least a pound of chocolate in every one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes (here’s to you, 24 Hour 24 Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies). But a few weeks ago, when I asked y’all to describe your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe on Instagram, I saw a handful of folks talking about how many recipes have too much chocolate in them. Some of you said you actually reduced the amount of chocolate in most recipes because you were mostly there for the cookie, please and thank you.
I’m not going to lie — as a chocolate lover, I was initially appalled by the notion of “reducing chocolate” in a chocolate chip cookie recipe. But the more I thought about it, the more the idea of going extreme and leaving out chocolate COMPLETELY actually appealed to me. I’m always going on about how the best chocolate chip cookies are made with the best chocolate. But honestly, that’s not true because the best chocolate chip cookies have a pretty damn good cookie base too! One that tastes great on its own, even without chocolate in the equation. It made me think that every chocolate chip cookie recipe needs to pass The Chocolate Chipless Test (™) — that is, if your chocolate chip cookie tastes great without chocolate, you have a freaking winner. Accept nothing else.
I decided to test my theory with the chocolate chip cookie recipe in #weeknightbakingbook, and I’m happy to report that my recipe passed with flying colors! Each cookie has perfectly crisp edges, and seriously the most perfect chewy, fudgy center uninterrupted by any solid chunks of chocolate. Phew. There is a caveat though — because there’s no chocolate in the recipe, I made a few modifications to make sure that literally all the other flavors in the recipe would really shine. That meant browning the butter to give the cookies that deep, rich, nutty flavor. It also meant upping the vanilla to a whopping 1 tablespoon (see baker’s notes to learn more, because this is important!). The result is a cookie that tastes like everything that makes a chocolate chip cookie so damn good (well, except the chocolate of course): butter, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, love.
Some baker’s notes:
- I mentioned this briefly in the blog post, but because this recipe uses such few ingredients and doesn’t have chocolate to distract from the other flavors, it means using the Very Best Quality ingredients you can find. That means splurging for European-style butter (European-style butter has a higher butterfat content than American butter, making it taste creamier) and high-quality vanilla extract (none of the fake stuff) like Nielsen-Massey or Watkins Double-Strength Vanilla. It’s worth it for these cookies, I promise.
- The original chocolate chip cookue recipe in #weeknightbakingbook makes about 16 cookies; without chocolate, that number drops down to 13, lol. If you’re baking for a crowd, this recipe doubles wonderfully and makes a total of 25 cookies— simply double the quantities of the ingredients below and proceed with the recipe as instructed.
- Because I was impatient and wanted these cookies IMMEDIATELY, I skipped the 24 hour chilling period that I usually do for chocolate chip cookies (read more about the science of why in this Serious Eats article — TL/DR is that cookies that have been chilled for at least 24 hours before baking are more flavorful and delicious, since the flour in the recipe has time to really absorb and meld flavors from the oil). But if you have more discipline than me, CHILL THE DOUGH OVERNIGHT FOR EVEN MORE AMAZING AND DELICIOUS COOKIES. Scoop and portion the cookies as instructed in the recipe and place them in a parchment lined 9 x 13-inch tray; cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour. After an hour, transfer to a Ziploc bag. The cookie dough will last for up to 3 months in the freezer. To bake the cookies, place them on parchment lined sheet pans as instructed by the recipe and thaw them at room temperature for at least 10 minutes while your oven preheats. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the edges have set but the cookies are still gooey in the center.
Chocolate Chipless Cookies
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, sliced into 1-inch cubes
- 1 2/3 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup tightly packed (5.65 ounces) dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (1.75) ounces granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place butter in a light-colored, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt butter, swirling the pan occasionally, until it starts to foam. Use a heatproof rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan occasionally to prevent the milk solids in the butter from burning. Cook for 5 minutes, or until butter is amber with dark flecks at the bottom of the pan and smells nutty. Remove the saucepan from heat and immediately pour browned butter into a liquid measuring cup. Cool on a wire rack while you work with the other ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine "tightly packed" 3/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar.
- Pour the slightly cooled brown butter over the sugars and beat on low. Add 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, continuing to beat on low until just combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and gradually add dry ingredients, continuing to beat on low until just combined.
- Use a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop to portion out cookie dough balls and place them on the prepared sheet pans at least 3 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges have set but the centers are still gooey. The cookies will look puffed when you pull them out of the oven, but will fall and crack as they cool. Cool cookies on their sheet pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, or until the edges and bottom of the cookies have set and feel firm to the touch. Serve the cookies warm, or at room temperature. The cookies can be kept at room temperature, in an airtight container or Ziploc bag, for up to 3 days.