Get Baked: Whiskey Brown Butter Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

So about a month ago I came down with the biggest pain-in-the-ass cold, because my company moved into a new building and that building had rogue air conditioning. Since I’ve lived in Los Angeles for the last decade and resist wearing anything but Rainbow sandals and t-shirts well into November, I quickly grew ill and ended up huddled under several blankets for a whole day.

The fever agitated my anxiety over how unproductive I was being (this is what working in publishing does to your brain, children) and so, obviously, I decided to bake! But not something that made any kind of sense (chicken noodle soup? Bread for toast?)…no, it was gonna be chocolate chip cookies, and shit was gonna get real.

I’ve been tweaking my chocolate chip cookie recipe for years, thanks to a formative life in the woods of Northern Arizona making them weekly with my grandma (people who live in the woods do a lot of baking! Also sulking around the forest like Bigfoot, i.e. my preteen years). My recipe’s made with brown butter and chopped walnuts and lots of salt and vanilla, which results in a pretty dang good cookie if you are into things like that.

BUT LO! I was out of vanilla, you guys. Since I had already constructed half the recipe and was already feeling close to passing out, walking to Trader Joe’s was out of the question. But you know what kinda resembles vanilla in an irrational way when you are super sick and feverish? OH YES WHISKEY. So I added whiskey and holy crap they were so awesome! And then I fell asleep on the couch.

The next time I made them with whiskey and vanilla and they were just super; kind of nutty and caramel-y and dark like whiskey all at once. These are the cookies you’ve been missing, folks.

Since both whiskey and cookies are relevant to the interests of the people who frequent this world wide website, I thought I would share the revised recipe with you all.



2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar, plus an extra dash to offset the whiskey
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup toasted, chopped or ground walnuts
3.5 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons of whiskey or bourbon
¼ teaspoon Salt (1 ½ teaspoons if you’re using unsalted butter) + some extra for sprinkling
Semi-sweet chocolate chips to your taste (1/2 a small bag-ish)


1. Heat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. Lay out a few handfuls of whole walnuts in a single layer on a pan. Throw them into the oven for about 5-7 minutes while you…

3. Heat a pan at medium high heat, and grab your whisk.

4. Throw the butter in there, and whisk it around while it melts. Once it’s melted, add your whiskey or bourbon. Watch it so, so closely…it’s going to foam up, and then it’s going to start to brown. Get it off the heat when it starts to brown up, and keep whisking until it’s a nice color. You’ll see the swirls in your foam start to darken. DON’T BURN IT. OH GOD.

You’re supposed to use a stainless steel pan for this step so you can see your butter against the bottom of your pan better but we are not all celebrated lesbian chef Cat Cora OKAY.

5. Put the butter into your “big bowl” and let it cool off a little bit.

6. Take your walnuts out, stir them around…once they’ve cooled down a bit, chop them up with the chopper your aunt gave you last Christmas, or with a knife, or in the food processor if you are fancy. Chop until they’re itty-bitty.

7. Mix the sugar into the brown butter. Beat it all together until it’s really glossy. It’s a lot of fun, I promise. Make sure they’re well-combined.

8. Add the vanilla and the eggs.

9. Whisk the dry ingredients in a separate bowl with the walnuts. If you used unsalted butter, here’s where you add 1 1/2 teaspoon salt. I hate overly sweet cookies, so this is important.

10. Add the dry to the wet about a third at a time and stir to combine well (HEY-O!).

11. Gently fold in those chocolate chips. The amount of chocolate chips is up to you. I don’t care for too many, but I understand if you do. This is Autostraddle, do you.

This is the correct amount of chocolate chips for me.

12. Spoon them onto a cookie sheet and sprinkle a little sea salt on top. I know it’s weird! I promise, it’s great, trust.

Maybe YOUR aunt also gives you weird cooking gadgets like a “cookie scooper” every Christmas. MAYBE.

13. Cook for 9-12 minutes.

14. Congratulations! You can now seduce ALL THE LADIES.

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Goofy comic book editor who calls sunny Los Angeles home. I adore fabulous evenings with fabulous friends, indie comics, old Hollywood dames, embarrassing pop culture of all sorts and luscious dumplings.

Shannon has written 2 articles for us.


  1. but…i don’t understand. how did you know?! how did you know my girlfriend loves whiskey and our anniversary is next week and last year i made amazing peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and i was stressing about how to top that?! HOW DID YOU KNOW?!?!

    shannon, i love you.

  2. I think I love you.

    Whiskey and dessert all at once…has got to be the closest thing to heaven. AND with such easy ingredients! Gonna put my baking hat on this weekend.

  3. I usually put Disaronno or rum in most of my baked goods. It didn’t take me much convincing to run to my kitchen and try your recipe after I read this (and drink whiskey at 1pm). Like two minutes after I read this. Thanks!

    • I’ve never actually had whiskey before, so I may have to try that too, just to expand my horizons. (Hooray AS for expanding horizons!)
      But when I saw this recipe, I thought of rum. It has butter, butter likes rum, this just made sense to me.

      I must perform some experiments.

  4. I just made chocolate chip peanut butter whiskey cookies, and I have decided I need more whiskey in the next batch. Basically it will be whiskey, peanut butter, chocolate chips and maybe some flour and an egg. PLAN.

  5. These are a few of my favorite things … (singing a la julie andrews). So excited!! except for the walnuts because nuts give me a beard of hives and no one wants that.

  6. yes! this looks perfect. I’ll try it first thing tomorrow.
    also I always try to avoid chocolate chips and go with chopped up ‘good’ chocolate. german, swiss or any other fancy stuff. less sweet!

  7. Are these appropriate to make for an office potluck? Cuz I have to make a dessert and I really want to make these.

  8. now I’m really sad I used the last of my whiskey to make bourbon-maple syrup-glazed tofu. I mean, it was tasty, but not chocolate-chip-cookie tasty.

  9. i feel like I just read the comments sections and witnessed a dozen girls having orgasims at the site of this post. If I ate grain and sugar I would make these and eat em whilst reading glee recaps. Oh yes.

  10. The first get baked recipe I not only have to make, but like TOMMORROW.

    These should be on the AS cookie list (minus walnuts).

  11. I’ll definitely be making these soon they sound so amazing. And the salt! I am so excited about the salt in/on these cookies!

    • also, as someone who regularly uses baked goods to charm the ladies I’m really happy to have this recipe in my arsenal now…thank you!

      • I’m definitely making these for my date tomorrow… she’s already coming over for movies and wine, but I figured I should seal the deal

        EW I sound like I’m on keys to the VIP or something.

  12. So, I’m in the UK and any time I try to use a recipe that measures in CUPS everything comes out wrong (because I’m literal-minded and I don’t know how big a CUP is and because if you buy actual proper measuring cups things will STILL come out wrong), SO can someone please translate/tell me how big these cups are? Because naturally I too need whiskey cookies in my life.

  13. I have a picnic to go to this weekend, my ‘I need something impressive and portable’ dilemma has just be solved!

  14. I’m Irish and I feel I have been letting my country down by not knowing about these until now.
    I’m now concocting a plan that combines these, hot whiskeys, halloween and a bonfire. Thanks Shannon for your role is this perfect perfect plan!

  15. My gf’s go to after a particularly bad/dysphoric day is a little SoCo. Definitely going to have these on hand from now on. Chocolate plus whiskey = better day.

  16. FYI: it takes a while for the butter to brown (like 10 min?) and it’s a sudden switch from yellow to brown. It was the first time I browned butter and was really anxious about it… so I thought I would pass that info on to anyone else who would reread the recipe 17x wondering if they’re doing it wrong

  17. My girlfriend made these for me last night while I was at work. They are so freakin good! And my girlfriend says that the butter melted down with the whiskey smells the way she imagines butterbeer would taste.

  18. I’m gonna make these, sans nuts because of my lady’s allergy but also sans chocolate chips…cause we don’t have any…eek.

  19. I made these for my girlfriend the other night. We both loved them. Thank you very much for sharing the recipe.
    I was wondering if the dough can be kept in the freezer for future use?
    I would love to make a batch to store, for future convenience.
    Really I just want an excuse to make them again :)

    • I’ve rolled the dough into balls and frozen those; they baked up perfectly after a bit of a thaw in the microwave. I’m going to make a couple of batches that way so baking holiday cookies won’t be overwhelming!

  20. I’m back with these and they just keep getting better. I added an extra 1/4 flour for softer rounder cookies, I put in 1/4 cup whiskey every time (IT COOKS OFF IT’S FINE), I’ve used Jameson or Evan Williams, I have made them with King Arthur gf flour and vegan margarine and they were awesome.

    This time I’m using the Better Batter gf flour (no xanthan gum necessary!) and actual butter because I still have a pound of butter (well I don’t anymore it’s melted).

    If these don’t win the departmental cookie competition tomorrow there is no justice in the world.

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