Irresistible brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars are a thick, chewy, and decadent bite of heaven! Made with simple pantry staples like brown sugar, chocolate chips, and pecans along with aromatic brown butter, and a sprinkle of salt at the end to bring it over the top! The entire batch is ready in 40 minutes which is more than the time it takes to devour them all!
Brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars are as decadent as they are easy to make. Which, my friends, is VERY on both accounts!
These chocolate chunk bars are great for when the craving for a salted chocolate chip cookie hits but you want a bigger bite.
They’re dense and chewy and loaded with melty chocolate chips and studded with crunchy pecans then topped with sea salt for that beautiful sweet and salty finish.
What sets these brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars apart is the elevated flavor from the brown butter, or what I like to call liquid gold.
If you’ve never made brown butter before I’m going to walk you through it in simple steps and I promise you, you’ll start finding excuses to use it in everything!
Why you’ll love about Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
One Bite is Never Enough – Thick, soft, chewy, brown sugar, brown butter, chocolate, and nuts in every decadent bite. These are the ultimate bars that everyone finds irresistible.
Easy to Make – This is a one-bowl recipe baked and ready to serve in 40 minutes. I’m also walking you through making brown butter to make it even easier for you. Plus, bar cookies are the best way to get your cookie fix without having to make individual cookies in multiple batches.
Pantry Staples – Most of the ingredients you’ll find in your cupboard. The pecans and chocolate chunks are the only mix-ins!
Freezer-Friendly – This recipe makes 9 generous-sized bars. You can make 2 batches and freeze a tray for later.
Equipment you’ll need
- Baking Dish – I use an 9×9 baking dish for this one.
- Mixing Bowls
- Rubber Spatula – I have a huge collection of spatulas but a wooden spoon will also work.
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe, why you need them, and possible substitutions. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card with measurements.
- Unsalted Butter – To make brown butter, generally you can use either salted or unsalted butter, but for this recipe, I use unsalted so we can control the amount of added salt in these chocolate chip bars. Bring butter to room temperature for even melting.
- Brown Sugar – Adds sweetness but also a caramelized flavor as well as extra moisture.
- Vanilla Extract – Enhances the flavor of the bars with a delicious warm vanilla flavor.
- Large Eggs – These will help to bind the batter so they hold together once baked.
- Flour – I’ve only tested with all purpose flour. As always, measure your flour correctly so you don’t have dry bars that are unpleasantly dense.
- Cinnamon – A warm spice that adds extra flavor. Cinnamon goes well with chocolate, brown sugar, pecans, and vanilla, so you can imagine what this combination tastes like!
- Salt – A bit of salt to bring out the most flavor potential in all the ingredients.
- Pecans – Chopped pecans will be added to the bars as well as used as a topping.
- Chocolate – I use a chopped chocolate bar because I like the chunks of chocolate throughout, but you can use chocolate chips if you prefer. I did a mix of semi-sweet and dark chocolate.
- Sea Salt – Coarse, flaky salt that is such a delicious balance to the sweetness of these brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars. I like to use Maldon sea salt.
How to make Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
There is a fine line between brown butter and burnt butter, so don’t walk away from it! It’s a simple process, but you do need to pay attention.
You also want to make sure to cut your butter into cubes first so that it melts evenly.
This section shows you how to make this recipe, with process photos showing the steps to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Step One: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter. Allow it to melt, stirring every couple of minutes. You’ll notice that the butter will start to separate and create brown bits (milk solids) at the bottom of the pan. The delicious, nutty aroma coming from the butter is what will let you know you’ve achieved golden brown butter. Immediately remove it from the heat and pour the melted brown butter into a large bowl to set aside and cool.
- Step Two: Once the browned butter has cooled slightly, add the brown sugar and whisk together. Then, add the vanilla and eggs, continuing to whisk until combined.
- Step Three: Stir in the flour, cinnamon, and salt to the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to fold everything together until a thick batter forms. Fold in some of the chopped chocolate and chopped pecans after that and make sure they’re evenly distributed.
- Step Four: Pour the batter in an even layer into a parchment paper-lined 9×9 baking dish and sprinkle with remaining chocolate and pecans. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes. Immediately out of the oven, sprinkle with sea salt, and allow them to cool before slicing. Enjoy a bar on its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Tips & Suggestions
- Use a light colored saucepan to make brown butter. This way you can see the change in color and notice when the milk solids are forming at the bottom.
- Make sure to include the brown bits into the batter as that’s where a ton of the flavor comes from.
- Don’t skip the cool time. Adding anything to the hot butter could scramble your eggs or dissolve the sugar too quickly.
- Do not overmix the batter. Once everything is combined, just gently fold things together.
- When lining your baking dish with parchment paper, leave the sides longer and hanging over the edges. Leaving the edges free will make lifting it out of the pan easier.
- Inserting a toothpick into the center of the brown butter bars and watching it come out clean is a great way to tell when they’re done. That, and the slight crispy edges that form.
- Swap the pecans with a different kind of nut. Walnuts, almonds, or peanuts would be nice too!
- I use a mix of semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate.I use a mix of semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate. If you prefer milk chocolate, that’s an option, too!
How to reheat and store Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
How to store leftovers
If you have shown great restraint and haven’t eaten them all, you can keep them covered in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
How long will chocolate chip cookie bars last in the fridge?
These don’t need to be kept in the fridge, however, if you want to extend their freshness a couple of extra days, you can keep them refrigerated for a few days.
Can I freeze salted chocolate chip cookie bars?
Certainly! Once cooled completely, wrap them in plastic wrap and transfer them to a freezer bag.
Alternatively, you can store them in a freezer-safe container layered with parchment paper so they don’t freeze as one.
Thaw a bar or two at a time when the cravings hit!
These two types of brown sugar are very similar, with darker having more molasses and a deeper flavor. Use whichever you want in this recipe, they will both yield amazing results!
What does browning butter do for cookies and bars?
It comes down to the complexity of flavor. Of course, butter itself has loads of amazing flavor, but the taste of brown butter has extra caramelization and nutty flavor. Not only can it be used in sweets and desserts, but it also works in savory sauces and dishes too!
Absolutely not. It’s definitely a bonus, but if you’re not interested or you want to save a bit of time, feel free to use just melted butter.
Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars
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