These Ad Hoc Chocolate Chunk Cookies are rich, chewy, and irresistible. Dark brown sugar provides caramel undertones and an amazing texture.

Dark Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies are now on my radar! Shaking up a typical cookie recipe with dark brown sugar and two types of premium chocolate is an easy way to make an outstanding portable treat!

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chunk Cookies lined up on a narrow white tray.

Why You Must Make

  • A good dose of dark brown sugar gave these chocolate chip cookies from Ad Hoc a superb chewy texture.
  • Then using premium chocolate, like Valrhona, pushes these over the top. Down to just 3 in the house these days, it’s rare to have a dessert all of us rave about. These chocolate chunk cookies fit the bill perfectly!
  • If you haven’t heard, Ad Hoc is one of restaurateur Thomas Keller’s establishments which also include Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, and French Laundry, to name a few. A few simple twists to the typical chocolate chip cookie recipe make for an out-of-this-world result!
Ad Hoc Chocolate Chunk Cookie Ingredients with labels on a metal sheetpan.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Flour, Baking Soda, Salt, Sugar
  • Butter – Cold and cut into small pieces. Note that most cookie recipes call for room-temperature butter, but not this one.
  • Dark Brown Sugar – You can make a cup of dark brown sugar by mixing 1 tablespoon of mild molasses into a cup of light brown sugar. Repeat if more is needed, then use as directed. Brown sugar adds moisture to a cookie recipe and dark brown sugar adds even more than light. I used regular brown sugar mixed with molasses.
  •  Eggs – I always use large eggs unless otherwise noted; have them at room temperature for easier incorporation into the dough.
  • Vanilla Extract – Always use real vanilla extract for the tastiest results. Double-check the label and don’t buy if it’s artificially flavored. I use the Nielsen-Massey brand.
  • Milk Chocolate – Chips or Chunks; I used 5 ounces of 30% Valrhona chopped into chip-sized chunks
  • Semi-Sweet or Bitter-Sweet Chocolate – Chips or Chunks; I used 5 ounces of 68% Valrhona, chopped into chip-sized chunks
3 Ad Hoc Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies on a round white plate.

Recipe Tips

Here are a few ways this Ad Hoc chocolate chip cookies recipe stands out plus tips:

  • First is the use of dark brown sugar. I normally don’t have this on hand, so an easy trick is to add a tablespoon of molasses to 1 cup of light brown sugar to make your own. You don’t even need to mix the two together, just add the molasses to the mixer along with the brown sugar.
  • PRO Tip: The original recipe states that molasses sugar is preferable to dark brown sugar for the deep flavor only molasses can provide.
  • Cold butter is used instead of the typical butter brought to room temperature. This keeps the dough cooler and minimizes the spreading of what will be a flat cookie.
  • PRO Tip: Use a paddle attachment if you have a stand mixer. A whip attachment will add too much air and make the cookies more cakey than chewy.
  • Adding both milk and semi-sweet (or bitter-sweet depending on your preference) chocolate adds to the complexity of this cookie. No two bites will taste exactly the same, except that you’ll never want to stop sampling.
  •  I used the rather pricey Valrhona chocolate, but you’re welcome to substitute a bag of semi-sweet morsels or chunks…the results will still be outstanding.
  • PRO-Tip: Reserve a few chocolate chunks (or chop some extra) to press into the warm, fresh out of the oven cookies for a bakery-like finishing touch.

How to Make

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Chocolate Chips Instead of Chocolate Chunks?

Yes, use milk chocolate chips and either semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips. Chocolate baking bars usually are made of better quality chocolate (my go-to brand is Ghirardelli), but chocolate chips are definitely a viable option.
Note that 55% Cacao and 72% Cacao are recommended for the milk and dark chocolate chunks, respectively. 

Why Does This Recipe Use Cold Butter?

Almost all cookie recipes call for room temperature butter so that it can easily be mixed with the sugars. This recipe calls for cold butter. This helps to keep the cookie dough cool and minimizes spreading while they’re baking.

How Long Can the Cookie Dough Be Stored?

This cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days as long as it’s well wrapped. You may also freeze the dough for up to 2 weeks.

How Do You Store Chocolate Chunk Cookies?

These cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you can’t eat them all within 3 days, pop them in the freezer and store up to 3 months. To freeze, they should also be placed in an airtight container.

Stack of Brown Sugar Chocolate Chunk Cookies on a square white plate.

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Stack of Brown Sugar Chocolate Chunk Cookies on a square white plate

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 34 minutes
Yield 30 cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies enhanced with dark brown sugar


  • 2 ⅓ cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (or use dark brown sugar and skip the molasses)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup milk chocolate (I used 5 ounces 30% Valrhona), chopped into chip-sized chunks
  • 1 ¼ cup semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate (I used 5 ounces 68% Valrhona), chopped into chip-sized chunks


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat ½ cup butter with an electric mixer or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until softened.
  3. Mix brown sugar and molasses (or just use dark brown sugar) and add that and sugar to the mixer. Cream till well combined. Beat in remaining butter speed until well incorporated.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Beat in remaining butter speed until well incorporated.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, blend in salt and baking soda, then mix in flour.
  6. Add only the chocolate chunks (leave the "dust" and very small crumbs behind), then stir in the chocolate chunks.
  7. Roll two tablespoons of dough and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until cookies are set and not wet-looking on top.
  9. Cool for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Adapted from: Ad Hoc at Home

If you use a medium cookie scoop, use a well rounded spoonful for 2 tablespoons of dough.

Chop some extra chocolate to press onto the top of the cookies after they come out of the oven. Be careful as the pan will still be very hot. This gives a nice finished look to the cookies.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 182Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 142mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 2g


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