Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bourbon and Walnuts

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts and Bourbon are the perfect baked treat for the Kentucky Derby… or any occasion! This delicious twist on a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for brown butter AND a shot of bourbon. The resulting cookies are perfect, straddling the line between gooey and crunchy. Makes 34 cookies.

A plate of Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts and Bourbon stacked on top of each other

It’s Freaky Friday! I’m thrilled to be sharing a recipe from Susannah of Feast and West!

Susannah is one of my long-time friends, and I’m so honored to be cooking from her site today. Because, well, I love her and think you’re going to love her, too.

I had a hard time deciding what to make from Susannah’s site because she has SO many tasty recipes. In the end, I landed on these Walnut Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Why? Because the Kentucky Derby is coming up.

Also, these bourbon cookies are a nod to the classic pie! (Fun fact: I have a few twists on that recipe, including Mini Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pies and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Hand Pies.)

Why I love this recipe:

I baked these cookies a few weeks back and shared them with friends. Their reaction could be summed up as, “Oh my.” It was mine, too.

This Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe is something special.

The cookies themselves have a crispy exterior and edge, thanks to demerara sugar. Their inside is still wonderfully gooey. Every bite contains something a little different—from the chocolate chunks to the walnuts to the crunchy demerara sugar.

And the combination of bourbon and browned butter adds some major depth to the cookie dough.

Other cookies to try: Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies | M&M Sugar Cookies | Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies | Lemon Drop Cookies | Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Need Derby Day inspiration? Check out Kentucky Derby Recipe Index for some ideas!

Brown Butter Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies stacked on top of each other on a plate with a julep in the background

Let me tell you about Susannah and Feast + West:

Susannah and I go way back—and we’ve spent a lot of time together, too. We’ve hosted various blogger collaborations throughout the years, including The Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange.

When we first met, Susannah welcomed me to her house with a Cheerwine Bourbon Slushie. And I had the pleasure of attending Susannah’s wedding in 2019.

She’s a dear friend, and I am so excited to introduce you to her!

Feast + West is all about easy entertaining. Susannah focuses on bringing classic cocktails and unique twists on them for any kind of host to serve at home. She loves to share seasonal recipes for various holidays and celebrations, too.

She also offers boozy desserts, as well as easy appetizers and finger foods.

When I was assigned Susannah’s site, I knew I wanted to highlight one of her seasonal recipes.

Did I want to serve a champagne cocktail for Mother’s Day?

Did I want to serve something for Cinco de Mayo, like Margarita Jello Shots or a Mezcal Mule?

I ended up choosing the Kentucky Derby as my “seasonal event” because, well, it’s coming up. However, instead of sharing Susannah’s Mint Julep, I decided to go with a dessert to pair with one!

And y’all—these cookies are just a dream.

So… what is Freaky Friday?

It’s a collaboration between bloggers where everyone involved posts on the same day and links to one another. It’s a fun way to connect with others who do the same work as me. It’s also fun to introduce our readers to new bloggers. 

Michaela from An Affair from the Heart founded this quarterly collaboration. She secretly assigns everyone another blogger, who we will choose and make a recipe from.

We make their recipe and photograph it as if it were our own. Then we write a post about it and publish our posts on the same Friday.

We hope that this collaboration helps you discover some amazing new recipes, as well as find new bloggers to follow!

Some recipes I’ve made for previous collaborations include:

Check out all of our 2022 Freaky Friday Spring Exchange Recipes:

  1. An Affair from the Heart – Blueberry Lemon Pull-Apart Bread
  2. Aunt Bee’s Recipes – Baked Asparagus with Parmesan
  3. The Carefree Kitchen – Carrot Cake
  4. The Culinary Compass – Dunkaroo Dip Recipe
  5. Devour Dinner –Fruit Charcuterie Board
  6. Family Around the Table – Fresh Strawberry Milkshake 
  7. Feast + West – Frozen Grasshopper Martini
  8. Home Cooked Harvest – Rocky Road Brownies
  9. Hostess at Heart – Honey Bun Cake
  10. Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog –Homemade Sour Cream Funfetti Cupcakes
  11. Off the Eaten Path –  Beer Margarita Recipe
  12. Sue Bee Homemaker – No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Bites
  13. Take Two Tapas – Crab Dip
  14. The Wimpy Vegetarian – Texas Trash Dip Warm Bean Dip
Ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies in bowls on marble

What you’ll need to make this recipe:

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You’ll also need some ingredients to make these cookies come to life:

  • Butter— we’re using two (8-tablespoon) sticks. One will be transformed into browned butter. The other one needs to be softened and close to room temperature. Set out the butter 30-45 minutes before you plan to make the batter so it blends easily.
  • Allpurpose flour— we keep unbleached AP flour at our house, but you can use the regular kind, too.
  • Baking soda—this is the leavener, so be sure that yours is fresh.
  • Kosher salt—I like to use a fine grain kosher salt. You could also use a fine grain sea salt, too.
  • Brown sugar—you can use dark brown or light brown sugar. I used dark brown sugar to give the cookies a softer, chewier texture. (Dark brown sugar has more molasses, so it will affect the texture.)
  • Granulated sugar—also known as white sugar, this adds a nice sweetness to our cookie dough.
  • Eggs—not only do they give our cookies some structure, but they also help give the cookies a little lift.
  • Vanilla extract—if you can afford it, the real deal kind is where it’s at!
  • Bourbon—whatever type of bourbon you’ve got on hand will work here. I suggest using a brand that you enjoy drinking because you’ll get hints of the bourbon flavor. However, don’t use your fancy sipping bourbon because it will bake out.
  • Chocolate chunks—this is the one substitution I made. I used a combination of milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate chunks. Susannah’s original recipe calls for semisweet chocolate chips, which are obviously classic here.
  • Walnuts—you can purchase pre-chopped walnuts or roughly chop them yourself! Pecans also work here.
  • Demerara sugar—this is a thicker grain of sugar and is perfect for rolling the cookie dough in before baking. It gives the exterior of the cookies a lovely crunch without being overwhelming.
Collage showing how to cream butters with sugar

How to Brown Butter for Cookies

Melt the butter in a medium skillet or saucepan over medium heat.

Stir or swirl frequently. The butter will crackle and bubble as it cooks, as well as begin to smell nutty.

Brown bits will form in the bottom of the skillet, so continue to stir (or swirl) until they turn medium brown in color.

Remove the skillet from the burner and pour the brown butter into a heat-proof bowl, crumbs and all. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

Did you know? You can brown butter in advance. It can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days in an airtight food container. Just be sure to let it come to room temperature with the other stick of butter, too.

Collage showing how to make brown butter chocolate chip cookie dough

How to Make the Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sift the dry ingredients together. Use a fine mesh strainer or a sifter to combine the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars. Add the “regular” ½ cup of the butter into a large bowl with the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Mix with an electric mixer, until the mixture is smooth, creamy and light in color.

Add the browned butter. Pour the cooled brown butter into the bowl with the other butter and sugars. Beat for 2 minutes, until smooth. It will smell incredible!

Add the rest of the wet ingredients. Measure in the eggs, vanilla and bourbon. Mix until combined.

Add the dry ingredients. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, blending until thoroughly combined.

Measure in the chocolate and nuts. Stir them into the batter with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until incorporated.

Chill the dough. Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap. Transfer to the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. This will ensure the cookies hold their shape when they bake.

Collage showing how to scoop and sprinkle sugar onto the cookies before baking

Prep the oven and pan. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Form the cookies. Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to drop dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Make sure to give them some space so they have room to spread as they bake. Sprinkle each one with demerara sugar.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from oven.

Let the cookies cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack. You can also serve them warm.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts and Bourbon on a baking sheet

Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

If you’re hosting a Derby Party at your house, these Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies are a perfect party accompaniment!

Here’s how you make these beauties for a gathering—any type of gathering.

  • Make the batter in advance. The beauty of cookie dough is that it can chill in the fridge for an extended period of time. Feel free to make this a day or two in advance and keep it cool. While your cookies will probably be more compact than the ones you see here, they’ll still be delicious.
  • Double the recipe… or freeze the cookie dough for later. (Unsure how to do this? Check out my How to Freeze Cookie Dough guide.)
  • Bake right before guests arrive. These cookies are the perfect combination of gooey and crispy, so bake them off as guests are arriving. They’ll be warm and delicious for the gathering.
Chocolate Chip Cookies on a cooling rack

Frequently Asked Questions

What does browned butter taste like in cookies?

It makes for a nutty, flavorful addition to cookies! It has wonderful aroma and also adds depth of flavor.

Can you substitute brown butter for butter in cookies?

Yes, you can. This cookie recipe calls for regular butter and brown butter.

What makes cookies chewy vs cakey?

This cookie recipe is more chewy and gooey than cakey because it has a ton of butter in it. The butter adds to the gooeyness without additional flour to thicken the batter.

Should butter be melted for chocolate chip cookies?

We’re using a combination of softened, room temperature butter and melted brown butter for these cookies.

A plate of brown butter chocolate chip cookies next to a glass of bourbon

Quick tips and tricks for making Brown Butter Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts

  • Double the recipe! If your party is going to have lots of people who love cookies, consider doubling the recipe. This will make for even more cookies!
  • Freeze cookie dough for later. Learn how to do this in my tutorial here.
  • Make ahead tip: Brown the butter days in advance, and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Remove with the other stick of butter to let come to room temperature before mixing the batter. OR make the cookie dough in advance, and let it chill in the fridge for a few days before baking.
  • How to store: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. For longer storage, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.
A plate of Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts and Bourbon stacked on top of each other
Yield: 34 (2T) cookies

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts and Bourbon

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 34 minutes

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts and Bourbon are the perfect baked treat for the Kentucky Derby… or any occasion! This delicious twist on a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for brown butter AND a shot of bourbon. The resulting cookies are perfect, straddling the line between gooey and crunchy.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened (227g)
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, unsifted (270g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (6g)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (4g)
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed (150g)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar (180g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (10g)
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey (26g)
  • ½ cup chopped milk chocolate (80g)
  • 1 ½ cups chopped bittersweet chocolate (240g)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (80g)
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar (56g)

Instructions

  1. Melt ½ cup of the butter (one 8-tablespoon stick) in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir or swirl frequently. The butter will crackle and bubble as it cooks, as well as begin to smell nutty. Brown 'crumbs' will form in the bottom of the skillet, so continue to stir until these crumbs turn medium brown in color, about 2 ½ to 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the burner and pour the brown butter into a heat-proof bowl, crumbs and all. Let cool for at least 20 minutes. This part can be done in advance. Brown butter can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days in an airtight food container.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Add the remaining ½ cup of the butter (one 8-tablespoon stick) with the granulated sugar and brown sugar into a large bowl. Mix with a hand or stand mixer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is smooth, creamy and light in color.
  4. Pour the cooled brown butter into the bowl with the butter and sugars.
  5. Beat for 2 minutes, until smooth.
  6. Measure in the eggs, vanilla and bourbon. Mix until combined.
  7. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, blending until thoroughly combined.
  8. Measure in the chocolate and nuts, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until incorporated.
  9. Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  10. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  11. Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to drop dough onto the prepared baking sheet, about 3-4 inches apart. Sprinkle each one with demerara sugar.
  12. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Remove from oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire baking rack to cool, or serve warm.

Notes

This recipe originally appeared on Feast + West and was adapted slightly by me. (I added more chocolate, as well as added weight measurements.)

Make ahead tip: Brown the butter days in advance, and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Remove with the other stick of butter to let come to room temperature before mixing the batter. OR make the cookie dough in advance, and let it chill in the fridge for a few days before baking.

How to store: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. For longer storage, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

34

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 107mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 2g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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24 Comments

  1. Erin — I am DROOLING!! I took out butter to soften this morning to make cookies and I have changed my mind as to which recipe I was using the minute I read this recipe!! Brown butter makes everything EPIC in my opinion, and the addition of bourbon? HOLY SMOKES!! Thank you for sharing your amazing talents with us – I love having you in our group!

    1. I am SO thrilled that you took out your butter to soften and landed on this recipe. It’s a solid one! The brown butter makes everything so much better, and I hope that you loved this combination of flavors in the final cookie!

      So happy to be in the group and baking along with y’all! It has been SO MUCH FUN.

  2. I love chocolate chip cookies and I love bourbon so thank you for inspiring me to combine the two!

  3. These browned butter cookies look so delicious! The brown butter takes these to a whole other level! Can’t wait to try these asap 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! The brown butter really does take them to another level. I hope you enjoy them when you do make ’em!

  4. Oh man, I totally forgot I made you Cheerwine Bourbon Slushies when you visited!!! That’s too funny. I love that you made these cookies — they are some of my favorites!

    1. YOU TOTALLY DID! And they were so good!

      I’m so happy I stumbled upon these cookies because they are a total delight. I have no doubt they’re some of your favorites since they’re so good!

  5. These look absolutely incredible! The combination of flavors and textures and salty and sweet just have me drooling. Cannot wait to try these out!

    1. Thank you so much! The flavors and textures and saltiness and sweetness is just… incredible. I hope you enjoy them when you give them a try!

  6. You had me at bourbon! So much flavor in these yummy cookies. Definitely filling the cookie jar with these treats soon.

  7. omg, I’m not sure these would ever make it into the oven! I would just eat spoonfuls of batter!!

  8. Browned butter makes everything better but you didn’t stop there! The splash of bourbon plays so well with the chocolate. And those little nuggets of sugar on top add a nice crunch:)

    1. RIGHT?! It’s such a good combination. I love bourbon and chocolate together along with nuts… and then the sugar, too, just pushes these cookies over the edge along with the browned butter.

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