Chewy, gooey brownie cookies studded with chunks of homemade caramelized white chocolate and sprinkled with flakey sea salt.
Brownie Cookies with Caramelized White Chocolate
The perfect chocolate pairing is one that is dark, sharp and slightly bitter along with another that is light and sweet. A double chocolate cookie often lacks complexity because most recipes use natural cocoa and semi-sweet chips – both fall around the same point in the chocolate spectrum. This recipe yields a cookie that has the dark richness of dutch process cocoa, and rather than pairing with an obvious milk or white chocolate, uses caramelized white; a complex, less cloyingly sweet chocolate which you can make at home!
How to caramelize and temper white chocolate
If you’ve worked with chocolate before you might be afraid of its, shall we say, temperamental nature. If you are melting it or making ganache you know that slow and gentle is the way to do it. Similarly, when we caramelize white chocolate, we do it on low heat and for about 40-50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes as it caramelizes on the bottom. This process removes some of the cloying sweetness, and adds notes of butterscotch to the taste.
It’s honestly one of the easiest and most delicious things you can make with just an oven, a spatula and a baking tray! I like to do mine on a silpat mat if I’m caramelizing a small quantity because it makes scraping and stirring easier without the chocolate sticking to the pan. If it’s a larger batch, I use a 13 x 9″ baking pan that hasn’t been too tarnished (no parchment paper or anything) and a rubber spatula to turn it.
But I also take this process one step further because once you’ve completed the caramelization, processed it and let set, your chocolate can be powdery and might not have the same snap to it. To get it closer to it’s original texture, I re-melt it and temper it by seeding: adding a bit more un-caramelized white chocolate and stirring until smooth. This gives it more snap and reduces the hardened powdery bits.
I’m unabashedly obsessed with this stuff; partially because it is so easy to make but mostly because it’s absolutely delicious. Every fall I make a huge batch (or two, or three…) and store it in the pantry for all kinds of uses. Here is a basic cwc buttercream recipe, a swiss meringue version and these fudgesicles are the absolute greatest thing to happen in a popsicle mold. Also, you can use it as you would chocolate chips in a good ol’ chocolate chip cookie recipe like I did here.
Brownie Cookies or Gooey Chocolate Cookies
If you’ve made these small batch double chocolate chip cookies, you’ll recognize this dough. It’s based on egg white and dutch cocoa focused; the ingredients which produce a soft, chewy and ultra chocolatey interior, like a brownie (see those bite pics?!). I originally paired the dough with milk chocolate and figured white would be good too but caramelized white takes it to another level.
This cocoa-based dough comes together pretty quick but it does need to rest in the fridge. If you bake it right away the cookies will spread like mad. I let it firm up for at least a few hours, but usually overnight; scoop them onto the cookie sheet and then flash freeze them (5 minutes) so that they go into the oven very cold. The goal is to get them soft inside and minimize too much spreading. The result is, dare I say, better than a brownie!
Brownie Cookies with Caramelized White Chocolate with Rye Flour
The beauty of a good cocoa-based cookie is that you can get away with a number of alternative flours. I’ve tried it with buckwheat, oat flour, and rye and have had great results. The latter two were probably my favorites. I have a huge bag of KAF rye flour in my pantry which was supposed to become sourdough but IDK if that’s ever going to happen when my cookies are this good. I have swapped out half of the AP flour in my regular egg yolk cookies and tbh couldn’t even tell the difference so I was prepared to go full rye with these and was very happy with the results.
Ingredients and Substitutions for Brownie Cookies with Caramelized White Chocolate
White Chocolate: Use a good quality chocolate, not chocolate chips. Most white chocolate chips are made with sugar and oils and don’t have much cocoa butter (so why are they called chocolate? Beats me.) But in bar form, especially eating bar form (from the candy section at the grocery store, not the baking section) white chocolate comes in much better quality. I always use Lindt White which I buy in bulk or whenever it’s on sale at the store. If you want something super high quality, buy Valrhona’s white chocolate feves. ALSO, I didn’t want to tell you this because it negates a bit part of the recipe, lol, but if you are really not into the idea of caramelizing and can spend the extra $ then Valrhona – who invented the caramelizing technique, makes their own cwc feves which they call Dulcey!
Rye Flour: There are a variety of rye flours, some light and some dark. I used KAF’s blend which is a medium mill. Light rye would work great too but I’d avoid pumpernickel. You may use oat flour (store-bought; not homemade as it won’t be as finely ground) or even all-purpose if you like.
Dutch Processed Cocoa: I have not tried natural cocoa in these, I know it would make the cookies lighter in color and less intense in flavor; but more importantly, it could affect the spread so I wouldn’t recommend it. Guittard makes a great cocoa, as does Rodelle, and Saco Pantry makes a blend of natural and dutch which gives you the best of both worlds.
Butter: American style butter with 80% butterfat.
Sugar: Fine granulated white. Don’t substitute with brown as it will make the cookies too soft. If your sugar comes in large granules, use a food processor to grind it further.
Egg whites: Large eggs. You might ask if you could use egg whites from the carton and I’d say maybe? You’ll need about 60grams.
What can I do with leftover egg yolks? Here’s some recipes that are yolk focused: small batch monster cookies, small batch birthday cookies (which also uses white chocolate!), egg yolk cookies and brown butter chocolate chip cookies.
Brownie Cookies with Caramelized White Chocolate
- 1 stick butter 113g
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup dutch process cocoa 50g
- ¾ cup rye flour plus 2 tablespoons 115g
- 200 g white chocolate
- To caramelize the white chocolate: Preheat oven to 250 and lay a silpat on a cookie sheet. Chop up about 300g of white chocolate and spread it in the center of the silpat. Cook it for about 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes with a flat spatula until it’s caramel colored. When it’s done, either add it to a food processor to smooth it (on high for about 5 minutes) out or use an offset spatula to stir and smooth it by pressing down to remove the bumps. Do this for about 20 minutes until the chocolate is very smooth without bits. Pour it onto a parchment lined pan and let set overnight.
- To temper the caramelized white chocolate: Melt ⅔ of the now set chocolate in 15 second increments in the microwave. Once it’s hot and almost fully melted remove and stir in the other ⅓ of the chocolate. Add 50g of fresh white chocolate (that has not been caramelized) and stir all the chocolate has melted. Pour into a parchment lined pan and let set, it should be just a few hours this time. Chop up into cubes and store in an airtight container.
- To make the cookie dough: Beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites and beat until smooth, about a minute. Beat in the cocoa, flour and baking soda. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Set the dough in an airtight container in the fridge overnight or at least for 4 hours.
- To make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350. Scoop cookie dough balls in about 1.5 tablespoons onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. Stick the pan in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes then put it straight into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes and repeat with remaining dough. Allow cookies to fully set before moving.