There are as many different recipes for chocolate chip cookies as there are bakers. Some like their cookies chewy; others like them crispy; and some like them puffy, soft, and cakey. I personally like mine to be crispy around the edges with a bit of chew to the center. These particular cookies have a somewhat crispy-sandy texture (like buttery shortbread cookies), while also managing to have a chewy center.
I polished off about five of them by myself.
I couldn’t help it!
They are perfect treats for dunking into cold milk, hot chocolate, or a chai tea latte as pictured above.
The recipe is courtesy of one of my favorite food bloggers, Ms. Joy Wilson, author of the blog Joy the Baker.
She recently came out with her very own cookbook!
I am huge fan of Joy’s blog. In fact, her blog was one of the first food blogs that I ever started reading. It also served as inspiration for my starting Baker With a Cause. Her writing is sassy, witty, and a true pick-me up when you need a quick laugh. Her site also has gorgeous food photography, and her recipes will keep you baking great stuff for years to come. Joy’s Easy No-Roll Pie Crust got me through the holidays.
These cookies also feature Caddo Valley Pecans from Texas. Caddo Valley Pecans is a family-owned business, and the pecans come from trees that are centuries-years old! In fact, Caddo Indians, former residents of the Caddo Valley area, utilized those very pecan trees as a vital source of food in the 1700s and 1800s. Maybe it sounds corny but there is something very cool about the fact that the pecans I’m using to make cookies with today used to sustain the Native American people of that region. It’s like having a direct, and delicious, line to our ancestors
What makes these pecans even more wonderful is that the Porter family (owners of Caddo Valley Pecans) have a “no chemical” policy. They believe “anything that can kill plants, bugs and animals can kill us as well.” As a result of this philosophy, the Porter family’s Caddo Valley native pecan trees have never been exposed to any chemicals, herbicides or pesticides and produce the highest quality pecan available today.
Before I bake with nuts I like to toast them first to really bring out their flavors. You can toast them in a 350′F oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, or in a pan as shown in the picture above. Which ever way you choose to go make sure you keep a watchful eye on the pecans since they can easily turn from toasted to burnt in a flash.
After roasting them chop ‘em up.
Joy’s original recipe calls for semisweet chocolate chips. I prefer to mix semisweet chocolate with milk chocolate. I also like to use whole chocolate bars, or coverture chips (like the ones above, which are made by Guittard), and then chop them up myself instead of using chocolate chips (which tend to have added ingredients so that they’ll hold their chip shape after baking).
What gives these cookies an additional alluring flavor is the browned butter! I love using browned butter in as many recipes as I can get away with. It adds a beautiful nutty-caramel like flavor. Joy was definitely onto something brilliant when she thought to add it to her chocolate chip cookies. It really makes them unique and gives them additional depth that I think folks will appreciate.
This is what the browned butter should look like once the butter fat solids have browned.
See those little browned bits at the bottom?
Those are bomb-digiddy bits of deep flavor! Make sure to scrape those bits into your dough.
The browned butter is then mixed with more butter that has been creamed with cane sugar, and then whipped into what kind of looks like a cake batter.
You then add the toasted chopped pecans and chocolate to the mix.
Fold them all together.
Scoop them out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and then pop them into the oven.
12 to 14 minutes later…out comes some seriously decadent good eats!
Trust me, these are really good.
You want more good stuff?
Joy’s book has your back.
It will make you a very popular guy or gal when you bake from it and share the goods.
You can find it here.
At only $12 it’s a total steal since it has everything from bacon black pepper waffles, to Texas sheet cake (which gives me, and you, another opportunity to use Caddo Valley’s pecans), to peach cobbler muffins (totally on my to do list once ripe juicy peaches are in season and in full swing at the farmers market) .
In the meantime, you can make these browned butter chocolate chip pecan cookies, and have your husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend fall in love with you all over again Word.
Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
Slightly adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook
Makes 36 cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 1 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup of cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp molasses
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (I weighed out 6 oz of pecans first, toasted them, let them cool, and then chopped them)
1 cup (6 oz) bittersweet chocolate chips (I weighed out 6 oz [3oz of bittersweet and 3 oz of milk chocolate] coverture Guittard chips and chopped them).
1. Brown 1 stick plus 1 Tbsp of butter. You do this by using a medium size stainless steel skillet (or whatever you have, it’s just easier to see when the butter is browned with a lighter colored skillet) and melt the butter completely. The butter will get foamy and pop as it melts down, that’s the fat solids separating out and that’s the part that will brown. Keep an eye on the butter as it starts to turn brown since it can burn really easily. Do not try and go do something else while this process is happening. I’ve wasted more butter than I care to admit when trying to multitask and brown butter at the same time. Once the butter reaches a nice chestnut color, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the butter to a small container to cool, making sure to scrape out all of the brown bits into the bowl since they give you lot’s of flavor. Cool it down slightly.
2. While the browned butter is cooling, you can pan or oven-toast the pecans. If doing them in the oven, toast them at 350′F for about 5 to 7 minutes; if doing them in a pan, toast them at medium-high heat and take them off as soon as you can start smelling their fragrance, about 4 to 5 minutes. Let them cool down before chopping them.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (you could always to do this with a handheld mixer, or a wooden spoon and some determination), cream the remaining 1 stick of butter with the cane sugar. Cream on medium speed until the butter and sugar are lighter in color and look fluffy, about 3 to 5 minute, making sure to stop the mixer every now and again to scrape the sides of the bowl.
4. Add the vanilla extract and molasses to the creamed butter and beat until incorporated. Once the browned butter has cooled slightly, pour it into the mixture along with the brown sugar. Cream for about 2 minutes more until well incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl again, and then add the egg and egg yolk, and beat on medium speed for one more minute.
5. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, kosher salt, and baking soda.
6. Add the flour mixture, all at once, to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until the flour is just incorporated.
7. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and fold in the pecans and chocolate chips with a spatula or wooden spoon.
8. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes while the oven is preheating.
9. Place oven racks in the upper third and middle of the oven and preheat to 375′ F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and using a portion scooper like the one shown in the pictures above (it’s a 1 1/2 Tbsp scooper and can be found here), or using a tbsp measure, scoop out about 1 to 2 tbsp of dough (depending on how big you want your cookie), roll the dough in your palms to make balls and space them out about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
10. Bake the cookies for about 12 to 14 minutes (rotating the sheet pans and switching the sheets on the racks at about half the cooking time to ensure even baking), until the cookie is lightly browned on the outside, but still soft and tender in the center.
11. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before removing from the sheet pan, and letting cool completely, or eating them right then and there if you prefer a warm soft cookie.
Note: As an alternative to baking the whole batch in one day, I like to freeze portioned out cookies to bake for later. All you have to do is take a plate and line it with parchment paper, scoop out/roll out balls and place them on the plate, then stick them in the freezer for about 45 minutes. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. When you’re craving cookies, all you have to do is take the frozen dough and cook it at the same called for temperature but allowing an additional few minutes baking time.