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I love the flavour of browned butter, and I've tried baking sable cookies with roasted flour (delicious). Is there a good reason why, in a bog-standard chocolate chip cookie recipe which calls for melted butter, I could not use browned butter? Will the fats react differently in the baking process?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

You can absolutely do this. I do it in brown-butter cornbread, for example. A good trick to boost the flavor even farther is to add non-fat milk powder to the butter as it browns, to supply even more protein for the Maillard reactions.

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OOH! Love the milk powder suggestion! I'll try that soon. – Jolenealaska Oct 17 '13 at 7:13
OMG! I did that in my go-to Pain de Mie recipe. I added milk powder to butter, browned it and sauteed diced onions and rosemary in the butter as it browned. I used about 60 grams of the mixture instead of the 28 grams of regular butter called for in the recipe. It was hands down the best bread I've ever made, perhaps the best I've ever had. Thanks for the tip! – Jolenealaska Oct 30 '13 at 19:34

If your recipe calls for softened but not melted butter, make sure to cool the butter until it is softened again so that the air bubble network from the creaming method can re-form. The creaming method doesn't work with melted butter, browned or otherwise.

Using a tip from America's Test Kitchen I've also done cookies calling for softened butter with melted browned butter and two extra egg yolks, where this makes the cookies chewier and less cakey.

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We tend to use Alton's recipe, which calls for melted. I like my choc chip cookies gooey! – daniel Dec 26 '10 at 21:01

Brown butter is great in cookies. I have not found from experience that it changes the way the fat reacts during baking. The browning just adds that very lovely and distinct nutty flavor profile to the cookies. The Ambitious Kitchen food blogger uses brown butter in many of her cookie recipes that call for melted butter so you could compare her ratios of fats to carbs and moisture levels to recipes that you currently use and play with it from there if you want to get really technical.

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