The Original Chocolate Brownie Cookies

published Dec 3, 2021
Chocolate Brownie Cookies Recipe

Chocolate brownie cookies are two dessert favorites in one.

Makes60 (1 1/2-inch) cookies

Prep45 minutes

Cook7 minutes to 8 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: JoJo Li

This recipe is from our Cookie Time Machine — a trip through the most iconic cookies of the past 10 decades, paired with 10 fresh twists for right now. Click here to see the most important cookies of the 1920s through today — and gaze forward with our Cookie of the Future!

The 2000s gave us many things, including a little site called Kitchn and Claudia Fleming’s Brownie Cookies, which became an instant classic.

Like the 1920s, the 2000s were a complicated decade. They started with a war — the September 11th terrorist attacks launched us into the longest war in American history — and ended with a far-reaching economic recession with deep ties to stock market speculation. And like the First World War, the attacks of 9/11 ended an era of social innocence. We felt less secure, even as we were taking off our shoes in airports and watching President George W. Bush tout “Mission Accomplished.” But while the attacks may have shaken America’s sense of safety and global power, the internet boom was cementing American influence to nearly every corner of the globe.

The Dot Com Bubble of the late 1990s, built on the decade-old technologies of the personal computer and the internet to launch Silicon Valley computer nerds into overnight millionaires, came crashing down in March of 2000. But the technologies they developed would go on to dominate American life at the start of the Information Age. Social sharing websites like Facebook and Myspace (2003) and YouTube (2005), combined with GPS map technology like Google Maps (2005), would become integral to daily American life. 

The original Blackberry was introduced in 1999 as a “two-way pager,” and texting was born. The next-generation Blackberry launched in 2002 gave us email and internet browsing on our phones. The iPod was released in 2001, changing the way we listened to music forever. And although it wasn’t the first smart phone, the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 made our phones feel more like the tiny computers they were. 

When it came to Americans and food, the Food Network held burgeoning social power, and cookbooks were still king, but a newcomer to the field would go on to have a huge influence in how and what Americans ate: the blog. Although blogging (short for web-log) got its start in the late 1990s, it wasn’t until the launch of three platforms in 1999 that the internet changed forever. Xanga (yes, I had one in high school), Livejournal, and Blogger allowed ordinary people to share their thoughts, dreams, and yes, recipes, with anyone who had internet access. The platforms removed the technology barrier for people who didn’t know how to code and build their own websites. The proliferation of digital cameras, including the first cell phones with digital cameras (launched in 1999 and 2000), allowed ordinary people to snap photos of their dinners, favorite baking recipe, etc., and post about it. The food blog was officially a thing.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: JoJo Li

The new Millennium may have gotten off to a shaky start, but as the decade wore on the optimism (buoyed by financial success) of the 1990s continued on, including in the food world. The Julie/Julia Project was launched on Salon.com in 2002. Heidi Swanson’s 101cookbooks website appeared in 2003. And 2005 gave us both Eater and The Kitchn. The year 2006 marked the launch of Smitten Kitchen, and the “microblogging” website that would go on to have huge social influence: Twitter. However, 2007 was also the beginning of the end of another food era: Gourmet magazine finally launched its long-anticipated website, only to have the magazine shut down just two years later in 2009. Print magazines and newspapers were starting to panic at the idea of an uncontrolled space where anyone could publish anything for free. 

While print and digital duked things out for eyeballs, professional chefs still dominated a food industry that was both increasingly complicated and aspirational at the same time as it signaled casualness and approachability. 

Claudia Fleming’s tenure at Gramercy Tavern in New York City marked a shift in fine dining. She and a whole generation of pastry chefs were starting to act more like the chefs de cuisine — flexing their creative muscles and delighting diners with flights of desserts, new flavors, and challenging recipes. But some of those recipes were deceptive in their refinement and simplicity. Fleming’s Brownie Cookie was one such recipe. Instead of wowing guests with delicate towers of elaborate treats, Fleming’s Brownie Cookie reflected the style of Gramercy Tavern perfectly — take a classic dish and use the honed techniques and knowledge of a trained chef to elevate it to something sublime. In this case, Fleming took that quintessentially American classic — the brownie — and made it into a compact, elegant, crackly-finished-but-still chewy cookie that everyone, including Gramercy Tavern founder Danny Meyer, couldn’t stop eating. Published in The Last Course: Desserts from Gramercy Tavern (originally published in 2001, reprinted in 2019), the recipe “went viral” (a term codified in the early 2000s) in foodie circles around the country.  

The Modern Twist

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: JoJo Li

For a modern take on Chocolate Brownie Cookies, check out the Hot Chocolate Bomb Cookies.

Our Three Most-Loved Cookie-Baking Tools

Before you preheat the oven, gear up with these cookie-making essentials.

  • The Sheet Pan Every Kitchn Editor Owns: This sturdy, won’t-ever-warp pan is great for cranking out a ton of picture-perfect sweets. Bonus: It comes in great colors, which makes baking even more fun.
  • Our Tried-and-Tested Favorite Cooling Rack: We love these racks for their criss-cross design, which adds stability, makes sure your precious treats won’t slip though, and prevents the rack from wobbling or warping.
  • The Little Spatula That Every Baker Needs: This thin-but-sturdy spatula is great for gently loosening your cookies from the pan and transferring them to the cooling rack. It’s particularly handy for moving small or delicate treats.

Chocolate Brownie Cookies Recipe

Chocolate brownie cookies are two dessert favorites in one.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 7 minutes to 8 minutes

Makes 60 (1 1/2-inch) cookies

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 5 ounces

    dark chocolate (60% or darker)

  • 2 ounces

    unsweetened chocolate

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 2/3 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    brewed espresso or coffee

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup

    mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 375ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Place 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Coarsely chop 5 ounces dark chocolate (about 1 1/4 cups) and 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (scant 1/2 cup).

  3. Prepare a double boiler or bring a medium saucepan filled with an inch or two of water to a simmer over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and the dark and unsweetened chocolates to the double boiler or place in a metal bowl that fits over the saucepan without touching the water. Heat, stirring often, until the butter and chocolate are melted. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. (Alternatively, melt the butter and chocolates in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst.)

  4. Place 2 large eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Beat with the whisk attachment briefly on medium speed to break them up. Add 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons brewed espresso, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat on high speed until thickened, satiny, and lightened in color, about 15 minutes.

  5. Add the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and fold until partially combined (there should still be some streaks). Add the flour mixture and carefully fold it in until just combined. Add 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips and fold to combine. If the batter is very runny, let it rest until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

  6. Drop the batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheets, spacing them at least 1 1/2-inches apart, 30 per sheet.

  7. Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until puffed and cracked, 2 to 3 minutes more. Let cool completely on the baking sheets.

Recipe Notes

Storage: These cookies are best the day they’re made, but you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day (they will start to dry out a little).

Recipe adapted from THE LAST COURSE by Claudia Fleming with Melissa Clark. Copyright © 2001 by Claudia Fleming. Excerpted by permission of Random House, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.