Learn how to make the best chocolate chip cookies with pecans and milk chocolate. They are thick and chewy, and you don't have to chill the cookie dough before baking so that you can make the dough and bake the cookies right away.
Chocolate chip cookies fall in the drop cookie category of cookie recipes. The beauty of this type of cookie is that they are easy to make, you usually have ingredients on hand, and you can bake them right away, without having to fuss with rolling pins and cookie cutters.
This was inspired by my spelt chocolate chip cookies, which are made with chopped walnuts. These are another twist on the classic recipe for thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies, the best kind of chocolate chip cookie, if you ask me!
If you want to make chocolate chip cookies with pecans from scratch, you will need the following ingredients:
- butter, preferably unsalted butter because you will add salt to the dough, but if you have salted it, it will work. Just adjust the salt in the recipe accordingly, otherwise, your cookies may be too salty
- granulated sugar gives these cookies crispy edges
- brown sugar adds molasses flavour to help balance the eggy flavour. Brown sugar may also lead to a slightly thicker cookie. I prefer dark brown sugar, which has a higher molasses content and more flavour, but light also works here
- large eggs, don't use smaller eggs because your cookie dough may be too dry and your cookies won't spread enough but don't use extra large eggs because they could cause the cookie dough to puff too much as it bakes, leading to a more cakey cookie
- all-purpose flour is needed to bind all the ingredients together and give the cookies structure, contributing to the chewiness of the cookies as well. If you don't use enough flour, your cookies may spread too much as they bake
- baking soda is a base (alkaline). You need baking soda for the cookies to spread properly and for fast browning. Do not use baking powder. Read up on baking soda vs baking powder if you are unsure
- salt is really important to balance out the sweet molasses flavour. Don't skip it. I like to use Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt, but table salt will work, though the cookies will be saltier and you may want to halve the salt, in that case,
- pecans, chopped add a lot of flavour and texture to this cookie
- chocolate chips or chunks are essential in this recipe, and use the best you can buy. I used chopped milk chocolate, but feel free to use what you like!
See recipe card for quantities.
To make most cookie recipes, including these, you use the creaming method to make the dough, first combining softened butter with the sugar(s) before adding the eggs and dry ingredients.
You add the inclusions or add-ins, in this case, chopped chocolate and pecans, after the dough is finished mixing. If you add them too early, they may break down too much and this will affect the texture of the dough and the baked cookies.
It can be difficult to make cookie dough by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon, so I prefer to use an electric hand mixer or even a stand mixer. Besides a mixer, you will need:
- a spatula for scraping down the bowl to ensure the butter and sugar are evenly incorporated with the rest of the ingredients and to avoid textural defects when the cookies bake
- a cookie scoop to help portion out the dough evenly
- a kitchen scale, not only for verifying that the scoops of dough are even, but also to measure out the ingredients
- aluminum sheet pans, at least two of them, and parchment paper for easy cleanup
- a cooling rack to transfer freshly baked cookies to allow for air circulation as they cool.
Chocolate chip cookies are versatile and there is much room for creativity:
- All-purpose flour - you can replace a portion of the flour in this recipe with an alternative flour, like rye or buckwheat. If you want to completely substitute, it's not 1:1! For example, these spelt chocolate chip cookies require more flour to achieve the perfect thickness without spreading too much.
- Chocolate - use any chocolate you like to eat, whether white, milk, dark, or chocolate chips. Try chopped Halloween candy bars or chopped Easter candy. Candy like M&M's or Smarties (the candy-coated chocolate in Canada) works here too instead of chocolate chips. Remember that different types of chocolate will bake differently
- Nuts - the pecans can be replaced with walnuts or chopped peanuts
If you are looking for a nut-free version, replace the pecans with pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, or skip the nuts altogether. Please note that the cookies may spread more without the nuts. Read all about why cookies end up flat
Hint: use a cookie scoop to portion out the cookie dough easily. Then roll each scoop into a smooth ball so that it bakes perfectly. Evenly scooped cookies will bake at the same time, whereas if you portion out dough unevenly, they will not.
There are so many ways to change up the classic chocolate chip cookies once you have a base recipe you like.
- Fruity - add blueberries to make blueberry chocolate chip cookies
- Maple - replacing a portion or all the sugar with maple sugar, and adding chopped maple fudge candy and maple cream cookies
- Nutty - add peanuts and oats to make these oatmeal cookies
- Kid-friendly - add anything you've got, like tail ends of chips or pretzel bags, chopped Halloween or Easter candy to make everything but the kitchen sink cookies (also called compost cookies)
These cookies will last 3 or 4 days in an airtight container if sealed properly. You can try adding a brown sugar saver or a slice of white bread to help them retain moisture.
You can also freeze the portioned-out cookie dough or even the baked cookies!
- Bake frozen scoops of cookie dough the same way, just add a couple of minutes to the baking time
- Reheat the baked cookies in a moderate-low oven (250–300 ºF) until warm.
See below recipe card for further instructions.
Frequently asked questions
This recipe yields a fairly thick cookie that is more on the chewy side. If you over-bake these cookies or your oven is too hot, they may dry out. Ideally, you should pull the cookies out of the oven when the edges have set but the middle is slightly under-baked. As the cookies cool, the middle will set too.
Remember that not all baking pans behave the same way. The material and colour of your bakeware will determine how your cookies bake. Dark pans will encourage browning, lighter pans, less so. Insulated bakeware will delay browning, as will a silicone baking mat. Choose wisely!
Chocolate chip cookies with pecans
- 190 grams (1½ cups) bleached all-purpose flour
- 5 mL (1 teaspoon) Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt, or 2.5 mL (½ tsp) table salt
- 2.5 mL (½ teaspoon) baking soda
- 115 grams (½ cup) unsalted butter
- 150 grams (¾ cup) dark brown sugar
- 100 grams (½ cup) granulated sugar
- 1 (1) large egg(s)
- 10 mL (2 teaspoon) pure vanilla extract
- 175 grams (1 cup) Cacao Barry Alunga 41% milk chocolate, chopped (approximately 250 mL or 1 cup), or 250 mL (1 cup) milk chocolate chips
- 115 grams (1 cup) pecans, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F (190 °C). Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, cream together the butter, the granulated sugar, and the brown sugar until it's very light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and the vanilla, and mix well until the mixture is light and fluffy again. Make sure to clean down the sides of the bowl as needed with a big spatula.
- Dump in the whisked dry ingredients, and incorporate them either with the hand mixer on low, or by hand with a big wooden spoon.
- Mix in the chocolate and pecans. The dough should be quite thick.
- Scoop approximately 50 gram portions of the dough, rolling them into balls.
- Place 7 cookies per cookie sheet, being sure to space them apart and stagger them.
- Bake the cookies one sheet pan at a time until the edges just begin to brown (this takes about 12 to 14 minutes). You might want to rotate the pan partway through the baking to make sure the cookies brown evenly.
- Let the cookies cool completely on the sheet pan while you bake the second pan.
- Store in an airtight container.
Once the baked cookies have cooled completely (emphasis on the completely!), I store my freshly baked pecan chocolate chip cookies in a sealed container or a resealable bag. As you store them, in the first few days, you will notice they will dry out just a little and become even chewier. I find they hit peak chewy on day 2. After that, the cookies will really start to dry out.
It's difficult to preserve the gooey freshly-baked texture when you store chocolate chip cookies, unfortunately. If that's the texture you look for in a chocolate chip cookie, you are better off storing the raw cookie dough than the baked cookies. This way you can bake them when the craving strikes.
To keep baked chocolate chip pecan cookies moist, you can try the same tricks you would use to keep brown sugar fresh and moist:
- put a marshmallow in the container with the cookies
- put a slice of bread in the container with the cookies
- put a slice of apple in the container with the cookies
- put a hydrated terracotta brown sugar keeper in the container with the cookies
Storing freshly-baked cookies in the freezer
Most people aren't aware that chocolate chip cookies freeze beautifully. You can do so in a zip-top freezer bag, being mindful to suck all the air out of the bag before placing it in the freezer. Then when you want a cookie, take one out and gently reheat it in a low oven (250 ºF) on a mini sheet pan for around 10 to 15 minutes to achieve a warm chocolate cookie that's as good as freshly baked. You can also test defrosting a frozen cookie in the microwave. The time it takes will depend on your microwave. I tend to defrost a cookie on a microwave-safe plate at power level 8 (80% power) with the timer set to 10–30 second increments. The results tend to be a little uneven, but it does work!
Storing raw cookie dough
If you decide to chill your cookie dough to let the dough "cure" and for the flavours to develop, I prefer to roll the raw cookie dough out into 50-gram balls. You can place them in a zip-top bag or even in a closed plastic container.
Storing raw cookie dough
You can store the raw dough in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 days. If you decide to freeze your portioned-out cookie dough unbaked, I recommend first freezing the scoops on a parchment-lined sheet pan until frozen solid, then transfer them to a zip-top freezer bag in a single layer preferably, being careful to remove all the air before zipping the bag closed. Then you can store them in the freezer for two months, according to the USDA.
Baking from frozen
When you are ready to bake the frozen chocolate chip cookie dough, simply place the scoops on a parchment-lined cookie sheet to bake from frozen, spacing them out with a few inches in between. Let the cookies defrost for 10 minutes at room temperature, while you preheat your oven. Keep in mind that the cookies will take longer to bake. Look for the tell-tale signs that they are done: the edges should begin to brown and the surface should look like it's beginning to set, without being baked through.
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