What time is it? It’s pecan chocolate chip cookie time.January 22, 2007
The ingredients may be humble: Flour, sugar, butter, egg, chocolate and pecans. But the results are extraordinary.
It may seem silly to lavish praise on cookies; after all, don’t most cookies taste pretty good? Doesn’t everybody have a go-to cookie recipe from which they can conjure a satisfying snack or dessert? True, I suppose. But every now and then you come across a cookie that stands crumb and chip above the rest… A cookie that rises above the tepid praise “it tastes pretty good” to the indecipherable and higher praise of satisfied eaters mumbling and nodding vigorously as they stuff portions down their gullet.
This is one such cookie.
Now, I am biased, because I get to eat these piping hot and straight from the oven — when the cookie is perfectly moist and steaming and the chocolate is oozing a bit from the seams of the crumbly mound of goodness. Yes, cookies do taste better warm. But I think these boys will also stand to scrutiny after sitting in Tupperware for a few days, too. The thing that distinguishes them from an ordinary — though good — chocolate chip cookie is the addition of pecans. The cookie itself is the perfect combination of not-too-chewy and moist, with the right balance of sweetness and butteryness, and the chocolate weaves its spell as expected… but the nuts add delightful depth and a subtle crunch; there’s just something about pecans and dessert. Am I right?
Well, there’s only way to find out. Fire up the oven, kids. It’s cookie time.
It’s time for a brief respite from our barrage of fancy finger foods. I bring you my new favorite cookie — Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies. While we have done a couple cookies in the past, such as crème fraîche clouds and orange oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, we don’t do them often because I have a personal theory: Great cookies are hard.
In a nutshell, cookies are easy. It’s one of the first foods we actually learn to make when we are young. At least in my unscientific survey, when I ask people what they first made, it’s typically pancakes, cookies or box brownies. Yet, to take the step from being munchable snack to something worthy of being adored is a long leap.
So over the years, I have spent more time trying to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe than any other single recipe. I’ve varied the flour, varied the levels of sugar, tried combinations of baking soda and baking powder, and I am still looking.
Yet during this trial, I discovered this recipe. This is a fantastic cookie. It’s got a dense, chewy interior and a crisp exterior. This is caused by the use of the bread flour. The higher protein in the bread flour makes the cookie dough denser and a bit chewy. This might be a problem if I were making a different sort of cookie, but here I rather enjoy it.
As for taste, the flavors of the vanilla, chocolate and pecans meld together perfectly. And while technically it would be a chocolate chip cookie if you removed the pecans, it really is best when you keep the pecans in the cookie. I’ve made the cookies with and without, and there is a marked improvement with the pecans in the cookie. So, I hope you enjoy these simple homemade delights, and, hopefully, I’ll find my great chocolate chip cookie recipe soon. Until then, I’ll be baking, eating and sharing these often.
Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 18 cookies
1 1/4 cup bread flour
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup pecan halves
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
2. In a stand mixer, add the dark brown sugar, sugar and butter to the bowl. On medium speed, cream together for about 2 min or until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl about midway through the creaming process. When creaming you are looking for the butter to be lighter in color and soft enough so that you barely feel the grains of sugar if you were to touch it.
3. Add the egg, vanilla and baking power. Mix until the egg is completely integrated and lighter in color.
4. While the mixer is on low, add the flour about a 1/2 cup at a time. Once the dough has come together, which takes about 30 seconds, add the pecans and chocolate chips. Allow the blade to break up the pecans for about 20 seconds.
5. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat, scoop out the dough with at least two inches between each cookie. I recommend you do no more than a dozen on a sheet. I use a 1 oz scoop which is equal to 2 tablespoons. Bake in the oven for 14-15 minutes. What you are looking for is light browning on the bottom, with the top just about to brown. Once you are at that point, remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can also cover and refrigerate the dough and dole out the cookies when you want warm cookies — simply cook for at least 15 min. Enjoy!