We like healthy meals around here, but as I’ve mentioned before, we can’t live without cookies. And we can always find new cookies to love! This one definitely falls into the new love category. As soon as you taste them, you will agree!
The combination of dark chocolate chips, toasted pecans, and a hint of cinnamon in these Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies is magic. I can’t stop eating them. I kind of don’t want to. These are perfect with a cup of coffee, too. (Aren’t most cookies?) Our favorite way to eat them!
First Toast Your Pecans
When you use pecans or any other nut as an ingredient, you should always toast them. It doesn’t take long but it really delivers on flavor, cutting any bitterness and bringing out the warm natural nuttiness.
It’s so simple. Warm a dry non-stick skillet over medium-low heat and add the pecans. Toss or stir occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until they start to brown and are very fragrant. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before using them.
You can also toast pecans in the oven by placing them in a single layer on a baking sheet and baking them for 5 minutes at 350 degrees F. They are perfect every time!
Next Step: Mixing
The first step of cookie making is the most important and usually the one many bakers cut short. I know, I do it too. I get impatient because, let’s face it, the cookie craving is a strong one! But if you take some extra time in the creaming phase to make sure your butter and sugar mixture is truly fluffy and very light in color, you will be rewarded in the end with an even more amazing cookie.
So, place your butter and sugars into the bowl of your stand mixer and cream them together on medium speed for at least 5 minutes. You can do this with a hand mixer, too, but it might take a few minutes longer.
When it’s light and fluffy, add your egg and vanilla extract. Mix again on medium speed until the mixture is smooth.
While the mixer is doing its work, whisk together your dry ingredients in a medium bowl so they are ready to go. Add these dry ingredients all at once and mix on low speed for only a minute, or until the flour mixture is almost, but not quite, fully incorporated. Add the chocolate and pecans, then mix on low again (or by hand) until everything is evenly distributed and no more streaks of flour are visible.
At this last of the mixing stages, after the flour is added, you want to mix as little as possible. If you overmix at this stage, you undo all the mixing work that came before and your flour will start to develop too much gluten, making your cookies tough.
The Final Step to the Best Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies
Using a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop or a spoon, portion out tablespoon-sized balls of dough and place them 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake for 9-11 minutes at 375 degrees F or until browned at the edges.
Cool these for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove the cookies to a rack to finish cooling. They can be stored at room temperature for up to a week and in the freezer for 3 months.
Though I very much doubt they will last that long!
Try these as the perfectly sweet end to a healthy family meal, like this Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Cucumber Cranberry Salsa. Round out your meal with this Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Balsamic Glaze or this Salad with Apples and Berries. They are all so, so good.
Dark Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Cookies
- 2-2/3 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature (1/3 cup)
- 3-3/4 ounces brown sugar (1/2 cup, packed)
- 2-1/3 ounces granulated sugar (1/3 cup)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6-3/4 ounces all purpose flour (1-1/2 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 ounces dark chocolate chips (1 cup)
- 3 ounces pecans, toasted and chopped (3/4 cup)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until light in color and very fluffy, 4-6 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, then continue to mix until smooth.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add these dry ingredients to your batter and mix on low speed until the flour mixture is just incorporated. This should take about a minute. Be careful not to overmix! Gently stir in chocolate chips and pecans.
- Scoop tablespoon-size balls of dough and place them 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges. Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove the cookies and place them on a wire rack to cool completely. Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months.