These dark chocolate and sea salt cookies are like the sophisticated big sister of regular chocolate chip cookies. The dark chocolate gives them a rich, luxurious flavour and the sea salt throws you into a moreish 'sweet-salty-I need more' loop!
I don't have a single bad word to say about the traditional chocolate chip cookie, but these dark chocolate and sea salt cookies are absolutely next level.
I am a cookie-lover through and through, some of my all-time favourite cookie recipes include my Truffle Dough Cookies and my Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookies. But this recipe is always, always a winner.
- All purpose Flour - regular all purpose flour will be fine for this recipe. You can use self raising flour, but just make sure you omit the baking soda.
- White Sugar - We're using a mixture of two kinds of sugar in this recipe. Regular white sugar is the first, make sure you use extra fine sugar (known as caster sugar in the UK).
- Golden Sugar - Also known as light brown sugar or soft light brown sugar. It is the toasty golden coloured sugar that has a texture like sand.
- Eggs - Use large eggs if you can find them, I always recommend free range.
- Butter - Unsalted butter is best as we'll be adding quite a bit of salt in the recipe.
- Vanilla - A high quality vanilla extract will round out the flavour and make a nice base for the dark chocoalte and sea salt.
- Dark Chocolate - The star of the show. Use your favourite dark chocolate and chop it into chunks. If you don't have a favourite, any kind of dark chocolate or dark chocoalte chips will be fine, but the higher the cocoa content percentage, the better. I used 70% cocoa dark chocolate for my cookies.
- Sea Salt - You want medium coarse sea salt for this, they should be big enough that they won't just dissolve into the cookie dough, but not so large that you're going to have to crunch them into pieces. We'll be putting sea salt both in the cookie dough and on top of the cookies when they are still warm out of the oven.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Beat the butter and both sugars together until pale and fluffy. This means the butter is noticably lighter in colour and looks slightly aerated. I find this takes about 2 minutes with my stand mixer.
- Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
- Add the flour, baking soda and sea salt and mix until a smooth dough forms. It will be a relatively soft and sticky dough, but shouldn't be runny like batter. If it is too soft, don't worry, it will stiffen up in the fridge.
- Add chocolate chips. If you are premade chocoalte chips or chunks, just throw them right in. If you are using a bar of chocolate, chop it into small chunks, about 1cm big. Be careful not to chop them too small or they will just melt away into the cookie dough as it bakes.
- Chill dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour. See section below on 'how long to chill cookie dough'.
- When you are ready to bake, remove cookie dough from the fridge, preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Make cookie dough balls and place them on the cookie sheet. An easy way to do this is with an ice cream scoop, but you can also use a large spoon and just roll the balls by hand. Do not press them down or flatten the cookie dough, the cookies naturally spread out as they bake - make sure you leave plenty of room between cookie balls to allow for spreading.
- Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with more sea salt. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.
How long to chill cookie dough
Do you HAVE to chill your cookie dough? No. If you want to bake them immediately you can do that, you'll still be left with absolutely scrumptious dark chocolate and sea salt cookies. But letting the cookie dough chill in the fridge will improve the texture and flavour of your cookies, so if you want to make the best cookies ever, let them chill out!
I would let the cookie dough chill for at least an hour. If you have time and have planned ahead, the optimal amount of chill time is about 24 hours. Make sure the cookie dough is covered so it doesn't try out. Then when you are ready to bake, remove it from the fridge and let it warm up slightly while your oven pre-bakes so that it will be easy to scoop or form into balls.
You can keep your cookie dough in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking. If you want to make the dark chocolate and sea salt cookie dough further ahead of time, see my section below on freezing your cookie dough.
Top Tip: If you absolutely don't have time to chill your cookie dough, try putting it in the freezer for a few minutes while your oven preheats - this will help your cookies to hold their shape as they bake and ensure nice thick cookies, rather than flat, sad ones.
In my humble opinion, dark chocolate and sea salt is the ultimate combination for the perfect cookie. But should you want to make a variation of this, you can replace them with whatever mixins you are craving. Some examples:
- Butterscotch chips and sea salt - if you want to maintain the sweet and salty flavour but aren't a chocolate fan.
- Dark chocolate AND Milk Chocolate - maybe you want to dabble in dark chocolate but aren't ready to fully commit, put a mixture of dark and milk, or even white chocolate in your cookies to balance out the sweetness levels.
- Pecans, Walnuts or Pistachios - if you'd like to incorporate some crunch into your cookies, why not add some nuts? I think pecans, walnuts and pistachios all pair really nicely with this base recipe.
Want to take the base cookie recipe up a notch? Try my Browned Butter Chocolate Chip cookies!
Once the cookies are baked, store them in an air-tight container at room temperature. Make sure they are completely cooled before putting them in the container or the temperature change will make them sweat and they will go soggy.
Don't keep them in the fridge, it's not necessary and will be detrimental to their texture.
They should remain fresh at room temperature for up to 5 days (but if they last that long before they are all eaten up then I will be very surprised!)
How to Freeze Cookie Dough
There are two options for freezing your cookie dough:
Option 1 - Put all the cookie dough in a Ziploc bag together and put it in the freezer. When you want to bake, let it thaw out at room temperature for a few hours before scooping and baking just as per the regular recipe.
Option 2 - Pre-scoop your cookie dough balls and freeze them as balls. If your freezer is large enough you can put the try in there until the cookie dough balls freeze, and then transfer them to a Ziploc bag for longer storage. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325°F / 170°C and bake for 5 minutes longer or until they are golden.
To make your chocolate chip cookies to look extra inviting, try putting a few extra pieces of dark chocolate on top of the cookie dough balls before baking, that way they will be on the very top once the cookie flattens out and bakes and you'll see that gooey dark chocolate goodness right away.
Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Cookies
- 1 stick Butter
- ¼ cup White Sugar
- ½ cup Light Brown Sugar packed
- 1 Egg
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 ½ cups All-purpose Flour
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 cup Dark Chocolate Chunks
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt plus extra for sprinkling
- Beat the butter and both sugars together until pale and fluffy1 stick Butter, ¼ cup White Sugar, ½ cup Light Brown Sugar
- Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined1 Egg, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Add the flour, baking soda and sea salt and mix until a smooth dough forms1 ½ cups All-purpose Flour, ½ teaspoon Baking Soda, 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- Add chocolate chips. If you are using a bar of chocolate, chop it into small chunks and add. Mix through the dough1 cup Dark Chocolate Chunks
- Chill dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour. The longer you chill the dough, the better the cookies will turn out. I try to chill the dough for about 24 hours before baking if I have time
- When you are ready to bake, remove cookie dough from the fridge, preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to scoop out balls of cookie dough and place them on the cookie sheet, do not press them down or flatten them, they will naturally spread out as they bake - make sure you leave plenty of room between cookie balls to allow for spreading
- Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with more sea salt. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet