Deb Perelman Calls Her Chocolate Chip & Walnut Brittle Cookies the 'Most Perfect' Dessert

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Photographer: Jennifer Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall
Photographer: Jennifer Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

Jennifer Causey

"This is the most perfect chocolate chip cookie I could dream up: extra crunchy, caramel, crispy edges and slightly gooey centers," says popular food blogger Deb Perelman of her nutty chocolate chip cookies.

Perelman shares this recipe from her new Smitten Kitchen Keepers cookbook and likes to use walnuts for the brittle but any nut can be used. No matter the nut, the brittle is surprisingly easy to make.

"You can bake them right away; there's no two-day rest in the fridge as if chocolate chip cookie cravings could be scheduled ahead of time," says Perelman. "And even the chef-y part — brittled walnuts — are so simple to make, you'll feel triumphant to have this new cooking trick up your sleeve when you're done."

Deb Perelman's Chocolate Chip & Walnut Brittle Cookies

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp. flaky salt, divided, plus more for garnish

½ cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into ½-in. cubes, cold but slightly softened

½ cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¾ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. baking powder

1⅔ cups (about 7⅛ oz.) all-purpose flour

8 oz. semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips (about 1⅓ cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Pour ⅔ cup granulated sugar into a 10-inch skillet; cook, undisturbed, over medium-high heat until sugar is partially liquefied, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk until sugar is completely melted; cook, whisking constantly, until sugar is copper-colored and slightly smoking, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from heat; quickly stir in walnuts.

2. Scrape brittle onto 1 baking sheet; quickly spread as thin as possible using a spatula. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon flaky salt. Chill in freezer until solid, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Beat together butter, brown sugar, ⅓ cup granulated sugar and ¾ teaspoon flaky salt with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed just until combined, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium; beat until butter is softened and somewhat fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined, about 30 seconds.

4. Add baking soda and baking powder; beat until combined, about 10 seconds. Add flour; beat on low speed just until a few floury patches remain, about 30 seconds.

5. Smash chilled brittle into bite-size chunks. Add brittle and chocolate to dough; beat on low speed just until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Scoop dough into 3-tablespoon-size balls, spaced 2 inches apart on the 2 baking sheets.

6. Bake in oven, one pan at a time, until edges are golden brown and set but centers are soft, 10 to 14 minutes. Cool on pan on a wire rack, 5 minutes; garnish with flaky salt. Serve warm.

Serves: 15
Active time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Quick tip! "While you can bake it right away, the dough will keep for several days in the fridge," says Perelman. The brittle can be frozen for up to three months.