March 13, 2023 Jump to recipe

oat, hazelnut and brown butter chocolate chip cookies

chewy, crunchy morsels for mix-in maximalists

Here is an uncompromising cookie that started as a compromise between me and my partner. I need a chew/crunch balance to really enjoy a cookie, and think brown butter improves most situations (not just recipes—I mean general situations). My partner, meanwhile, refuses cookies without oats. Okay, refuses is a little strong: he will eat them with a raised eyebrow that suggests he’s not totally convinced, and when you ask him what’s wrong, he’ll say “this would be better with oats.” A quintessential champagne problem, perhaps, but he’s a really good dude otherwise. I love him but also myself,  so here we are. 

unbaked chocolate chip cookies on a baking sheet

I love a standard chocolate chip cookie, but honestly, I can get a pretty great one from the grocery store bakery (and warm from a cookie heater, no less). I know, I know—we don’t only cook to eat things we can’t buy—but as I emerge from deep freeze (oh look, more snow today), I need extra motivation to whip out the electric mixer and be expected to sift and weigh stuff. There’s a lot going on in this cookie, but it’s not really more compicated for it—just a couple more things to measure and mix in. 

raw cookie dough with chocolate chips and hazelnuts

This cookie is chewy, not too sweet, crunchy with hazelnuts and toasty with brown butter. For the uninitiated, brown butter is just regular butter that you melt on the stove till the milk solids turn brown. The whole process takes less than five minutes and is absolutely worth the trifle of an effort. Like dulce de lece, gulab jamun or any other product made with caramelized dairy, it takes on these incredible campfirey notes missing from the raw stuff. The French call it beurre noisette, which means hazelnut butter, thanks to its signature nuttiness. So you can see how I got to the hazelnut mix-in part. And boy, am I glad we got there. (Side note: please observe the photo below, in which you’ll see deep scars on my favourite cutting board left by a beloved but careless friend. Be careful in whose hand you place a serrated knife).

chopped hazelnuts on a cutting board

Because I like my cookies on the soft side, I dial up the richness with an extra egg yolk and a tablespoon of plain yogurt, which helps keep things moist and, with a bit of acidity, activates the baking soda. Oats lend a bit of texture (and appease the oat-obsessed).

There’s vanilla and the barest hint of cinnamon, because cinnamon plays well with brown butter and vanilla is the salt of dessert (in that it makes everything taste more like itself). But also, salt is the salt of dessert: adding a little directly into the batter is pretty much non-negotiable if you want the best out of your ingredients. Now, I didn’t finish these with flaky salt for one reason only: I ran out right before taking photographs. (This is real life home cooking, people). They were still fabulous, but if you have some around, sprinkle it on when they’re warm from the oven. 

oat, hazelnut and brown butter chocolate chip cookies

all-purpose flour just under 1.5 cups (180g)
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
baking powder 1/4 teaspoon
kosher salt just under 3/4 teaspoon
cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon
unsalted butter 1 stick (114g), divided
brown sugar 2/3 cup (160g)
granulated sugar 1/4 cup (50g)
egg 1 large, plus a yolk
vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
whole or Greek yogurt 1 tablespoon
old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cook) 3/4 cup (67g)
bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup (85g)
hazelnuts, roughly chopped 1/2 cup (75g)

assemble the dry ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, kosher salt, and cinnamon together till well combined. Set aside.

brown the butter

Put 2/3 of the butter (no need to be exact) into a small saucepan, leaving the remainder in a large heatproof mixing bowl.

Melt the butter over medium heat. Once it starts to foam, whisk or stir constantly with a rubber spatula. You’ll start to notice brown specks—keep whisking, as you’ll want to keep those from burning at the bottom of the pot. Things go from good to burnt quickly in this stage: focus. (If the specks start to burn before the butter turns a uniform brown, your heat is too high. Turn it down and whisk off the heat.)

Continue until the butter is a light chestnut brown and smells like you’ve gone to a special heaven for people who love nutty, toasty things. This usually takes a few minutes, start to finish. When it’s done, immediately pour it over the cold butter.

mix the wet ingredients

Add the sugar into the butter bowl. (If your brown sugar is lumpy, sift it in). Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together for three to four minutes at a moderate speed. Don’t get impatient: we want to kick some air into the butter, or the cookie will be too dense.

When that’s done, add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and yogurt. Beat until combined.

put it all together

Beat the flour mixture into the wet ingredients on low until just combined.

Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix in the oats, chocolate chips, and hazelnuts till more or less uniformly distributed.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour (or up to 72). The longer the better for optimal flavour and texture.


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Using a tablespoon (I just use a regular dinner utensil, not a measuring spoon), create roughly 2-inch sized dough balls. Flatten them slightly and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet a few inches apart.

Bake for about 12 minutes, but start checking at 10. When they’re ready to come out, they’ll have begun to set at the edges, but still be very soft in the centre.

Remove and cool on a wire rack (or on paper towels). Store in an airtight container or ziploc bag for up to five days.


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