The perfect chocolate chip walnut cookie is not only studded with walnuts, but infused with the flavor of toasted walnuts! Every aspect of this recipe has been tested and considered—so dig in! We guarantee you’ll want more than one.
Table of Contents
Why This Recipe Works
We set our sights on creating a chewy chocolate chip cookie that was not only studded with toasted walnuts, but infused with the flavor of walnuts. If that wasn’t a tall enough order, we also wanted it to be made with whole-wheat flour.
Aside from all the science we talk about below—the thing we love most about these cookies is that we infuse the browned butter with the flavor of toasted walnuts. We didn’t think browned butter could get any flavorful, but damn, toasting the walnuts in the browning butter is a game changer. In addition to enhancing the flavor of the nuts, toasting them in the butter infuses the cookie dough itself with nutty goodness.
How to Create Chewy Cookies
Use Dark Brown Sugar and More of It
Many classic chocolate chip cookies use equal parts white sugar to brown sugar. And while our recipe still uses both types of sugar, we opted to increase the brown sugar and decrease the white sugar. This simple change increased the chewiness of the cookie and added depth of flavor.
Additionally, we opted for dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar because it has more flavor and more moisture.
Look at any old-school chocolate chip cookie and they likely use 2 large eggs. And if we’re attributing chewiness to protein (more on that later), you’d expect that extra egg white to be a good thing. However, through testing we found that extra egg white dried out the dough. While egg whites are a good source of protein, they also have a fairly high water content. In order to get that luscious fat and protein from the egg without excess water, we ditched one of the whites and used just the yolk. The combination of one whole egg and one whole egg yolk strikes the perfect balance of structure and texture in the cookie.
Dissolve the Sugar
We found aggressively mixing the sugar, melted butter and eggs together was key to creating a consistently chewy cookie. Our technique, which we learned from America’s Test Kitchen, calls for a process of vigorously whisking then resting the dough, off and on, for about 12 minutes. This technique of whisking then resting allows the sugar to fully dissolve, resulting in a caramel-like mixture.
If the goal is a chewy cookie, then you absolutely need to be using melted butter. The technique of creaming softened butter and sugar together is often used for making cakes. And for good reason! The process of creaming incorporates air into the butter which results in a more airy and cakey cookie.
To take it even further, we also brown the butter which not only adds incredible depth of flavor, but it also decreases the amount of water in the resulting dough. (As the butter browns, excess moisture is evaporated off.) This simple technique means the excess water in butter doesn’t steam and evaporate off during baking. By removing the water ahead of time, we can add moisture to the dough in the form of protein and fat (butter and egg yolk) which contribute to chewiness.
Deflate as They Bake
We use the “pan bagging method” coined by Sarah Keiffer. This technique of letting the cookies rise, then dropping the pan to deflate them creates gorgeous chewy ripples instead of tall-baked cookies.
Protein in Flour Matters
The protein content of the flour you use has a fairly large impact on the resulting baked good. The distinction between cake flour, bread flour and all–purpose flour all lies in the protein percentage of each.
So what’s the difference between say, cake flour and bread flour? Cake flour has a lower protein content than bread flour. This translates to cake flour resulting in a light and tender baked good while bread flour results in a chewy and structured bake.
That’s the “why,” but what’s the “how?” Protein is one of the most important factors when it comes to the amount of gluten development. The higher the protein content of a flour, the more gluten can be developed when hydrated. Plus, a higher protein content means more moisture can be absorbed. Together, a higher protein flour retains more moisture and creates more gluten—aka it’s more elastic and chewy.
|Flour Type||Protein Percentage|
Bread flour can be used in most cookie recipes that call for all-purpose flour (simply swap it in 1:1 by weight). But since we do things healthyish around here, we had to incorporate some whole-wheat flour. For cookies, we prefer to use whole-wheat pastry flour—it’s light, tender and allows us to achieve a lovely crispy edge on the cookies. However, whole-wheat pastry flour is lower in protein than all-purpose flour, so to achieve that perfect balance of protein content and chewiness, we added a half of a cup of bread flour which is high in protein.
If you plan on using whole-wheat pastry flour then, yes, we highly recommend using bread flour. It adds an essential amount of protein which is important to gluten-development and therefore chewiness.
You can make this Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie recipe with only all-purpose flour if you’d like. We recommend weighing the flour instead of measuring by cup. If you plan to use all-purpose flour, use 200 grams.
You can use chocolate chips or chocolate chunks instead of chopped bar chocolate. The biggest difference you’ll notice is that the chocolate chips will not melt as readily as the chopped chocolate so you won’t get those dreamy puddles of chocolate.
Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies
- 1 ¼ cups (134g) whole-wheat pastry flour*
- ½ cup (65g) bread flour*
- ¾ teaspoon (5g) baking soda
- 14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup (80g) raw walnuts, chopped
- ¾ cup (148g) packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons Morton kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 6 ounces (170g) 72% bittersweet chocolate bar, roughly chopped, such Ghirardell
- Line 2 baking sheets (half sheet pans) with parchment paper; stack together, then transfer to refrigerator to chill.
- Whisk flours and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
- Heat 10 tablespoons (145g) butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter just barely starts to turn golden brown, about 1 ½ minutes. Add walnuts and continue cooking, swilling pan, until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 2 ½–3 ½ minutes more.
- Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl with remaining 4 tablespoons butter; using a rubber spatula to scrap butter and solids into bowl. Stir until completely melted.
- Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated.
- Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds.
- Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds.
- Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times (for a total of 4 mixes) until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.
- Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute.
- Stir in chocolate until evenly dispersed.
- Divide dough using a #24 cookie scoop, or 3 tablespoon measure, into 20 portions. Arrange dough portions closely on a small baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350ºF (176ºC) degrees.
- Arrange 6 chilled dough balls 3 inches apart on a chilled parchment-lined baking sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require multiple batches.)
- Transfer sheet to oven and bake until cookies are puffed, 10 minutes. Lift baking sheet up about 4 inches, then drop baking sheet down onto rack. Bake until cookies puff again, 2 minutes, then repeat lifting and dropping pan. Bake cookies another 2 minutes, then repeat lifting and dropping pan. Bake cookies until edges are golden brown and centers are slightly puffed and look under-baked, 1–2 minutes more. (Total bake time should be 14–16 minutes.)
- Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack; allow cookies to cool completely on sheet before transferring to an airtight container.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes to Try
1Healthy Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies
2Chewy Browned Butter Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies