Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies with Brown Butter
Looking for the best recipe for pecan chocolate chip cookies? You’ve found it. This recipe has brown butter, toasty pecans, and semisweet chocolate puddles for soft, chewy, and unforgettable cookies. They’re one of my favorites to make for casual parties, holidays, and get-togethers with friends!
I am a proud and very much self-proclaimed cookie snob. So when I create a recipe I like, I develop a hyper-fixation for it until I create a new one.
These nutty, brown buttery chocolate chip cookies are unbelievable. I know that nuts in cookies are a highly debated topic but I’m not here to argue. The pecans belong in this recipe, ok? Trust me on this. They’re chewy and caramelized with a lovely crunch, just the perfect amount of chocolate, and just a touch of flaky salt. Make them. Double them. Share them with your friends!
I’m not here to claim that the world needed yet another chocolate chip cookie recipe. But I am here to say that it needed this one. I have literally been perfecting my CCC recipe for at least 15 years. So many weekends in high school and college testing recipe-after-recipe. So many tiny tweaks. Pounds upon pounds of butter. And I’m stoked to say, we’ve finally made it, friends! 🎉
- These cookies are the ultimate mix of soft, thin, and chewy with perfectly crisp edges.
- They’re nutty, chocolatey, caramelized, and not-too-sweet thanks to a pinch of flaky salt.
- This recipe is simple and comes together quickly – nothing fancy.
- Everyone loves these cookies. Everyone. Make them for parties, holidays, or just because!
The ingredient list
- Unsalted butter – we will brown the butter to give the cookies an even deeper caramelized flavor.
- Pecans – these will add nuttiness and crunch. We will also be toasting them to remove any bitterness before adding them to the cookies!
- Flour – regular all-purpose flour will add structure to the dough.
- Baking soda – to help the cookies spread, cook evenly, and turn golden-brown.
- Salt – a bit of Kosher salt will offset the sweetness in the cookies.
- Brown sugar – I prefer dark brown sugar which has more molasses. The more molasses, the chewier the cookies!
- White sugar – to add extra sweetness to the dough.
- Eggs – the eggs add structure, flavor, and help the cookies puff up a bit.
- Vanilla extract – we’re adding a good dose to the cookies to complement the brown butter and chocolate.
- Chocolate wafers – I recommend semi-sweet which is the perfect mix of sweet, bitter, and chocolatey!
- Flaky salt – this is optional but adding a pinch of flaky salt after baking makes these cookies over the top good.
This is a trick I learned in pastry school! Use chocolate wafers (or fèves or a roughly chopped chocolate bar) instead of chocolate chips. The extra surface area will create those gorgeous chocolate puddles!
- Nuts – try toasted walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts instead.
- Chocolate – feel free to use milk, dark, or even white chocolate.
- Spiced – add a bit of cinnamon or apple pie spice for an autumn twist.
- Toffee – these cookies are amazing with 1/3 cup (80 grams) of toffee bits mixed in!
How to make these cookies
Brown the butter
- Start by melting the butter in a shallow, light-colored skillet.
- Cook the butter over medium-low, swirling the pan often.
- After about 5 minutes, the butter will smell nutty and there will be brown bits on the butter of the pan. Cool the butter for 15-20 minutes.
Toast the pecans
- Start by spreading the pecans evenly on a small sheet pan.
- Bake the pecans until they’re toasty and fragrant.
- Then, roughly chop the pecans and let them cool completely.
Don’t skip the step of toasting the nuts! Many people don’t like nuts in cookies because they think they taste bitter. Toasting the nuts before baking draws the oils out of the pecans which makes them crunchier, more flavorful, and gets rid of any bitterness!
Make the cookies
- Start by combining the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Then, mix the brown butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat it for about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and eggs one at a time until they’re completely combined.
- Next, add the flour in two batches just until the dough comes together.
- Add the chocolate wafers and pecans to the dough and mix.
- Cover the dough and chill it for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- Once the dough is chilled, scoop the dough and roll it into balls. Place the cookie dough balls on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
- Bake the cookies until they’re set on the edges and a bit underdone in the centers. Sprinkle with flaky salt, cool, and enjoy!
Storing & make-ahead
To store the leftover cookies, first make sure they’re completely cool! Then, place them in an airtight container for up to 2 days. After a few days, they’ll start to lose their chewiness.
This is also a great make-ahead recipe! Just make the dough, cover the bowl, and refrigerate it for up to 2 days. Then, about an hour before you’re ready to enjoy the cookies, scoop the dough, roll it, and bake the cookies.
You can either freeze the baked chocolate chip pecan cookies, or you can freeze the dough. I like freezing the dough so I can have warm, freshly-baked cookies when cravings hit. But they taste great either way!
- To freeze the baked cookies, place them in a freezer-safe container or zipper bag. Freeze them for up to 2 months. Then, defrost them at room temperature for at least 1 hour before eating.
- Or, freeze the cookie dough – my favorite way! Roll the cookie dough, and place the cookie dough balls on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Freeze the cookie dough balls until firm, about 2 hours. Then, place the frozen cookie dough balls in an airtight container or zipper bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.
If you freeze the cookie dough balls, there’s no need to defrost them. You can just bake the cookies straight from the freezer! Just add 2-3 minutes to the bake time to make up for the extra chilly dough.
- Shallow, light-colored skillet
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- Kitchen scale or measuring cups
- Small & large sheet pans
- #40 (2 Tablespoon) cookie scoop
- Parchment paper
For the best results, I highly recommend weighing the ingredients rather than using measuring cups. Weighing the ingredients is the best way to make sure that your cookies come out soft, chewy, and gooey every single time!
How do I get the bakery-style look?
For pretty cookies, here are a few tricks they taught us in pastry school! These tips are optional but make the cookies look like they came straight from a bakery.
- For round cookies, grab a big circle cookie cutter or drinking glass. Right as the cookies come out of the oven, place the cookie cutter or drinking glass over the cookies and ‘swirl’ them around for a few seconds.
- To get those chocolate puddles, press a couple of chocolate wafers into the cookie dough balls before baking. As the cookies spread, the wafers will turn melty.
- You can also press a couple of toasted pecans into the baked cookies right after they come out of the oven. This is optional but makes them look extra gorgeous!
Tips for making the best cookies
- It’s super important to properly measure the flour! It’s the difference between chewy cookies and dry, crunchy cookies. I highly recommend using a scale and weighing your ingredients. If you don’t have a scale, measure the flour by fluffing it with a whisk. Then, scoop the flour into a measuring cup and level it off without packing the flour into the cup.
- Always use room temperature ingredients. This is key to cookie dough that is well-mixed!
- Let the brown butter cool a bit before mixing up the batter. This is a loose dough in general, but letting the butter cool a bit will keep it from being runny.
- Don’t skip chilling the dough! Not only will it give the dough time for the flavors to meld, but you want the butter to firm up so the cookies don’t spread too much.
- For evenly-baked cookies, use a cookie scoop to divide the dough. I like a classic #40 scoop!
- Underbake the cookies a bit so they stay nice and chewy. They should be set on the edges but still a bit underdone in the centers.
Why is brown butter so good in cookies?
Not all cookie recipes have brown butter, but it honestly makes such a huge difference! The brown butter adds a toasty, nutty, caramelized flavor to the cookies. It’s absolutely amazing with the pecans and chocolate puddles.
What makes these cookies chewy?
The key to chewy cookies is dark brown sugar! The extra molasses in the dark brown sugar will add more chew to the cookies. Chilling the dough also helps. It will make for a thicker cookie with a softer center. Lastly, make sure to underbake the cookies just a tad so the centers stay nice and soft.
How long should I chill the dough?
Chilling the dough is key in this recipe. Not only does it help the flavors meld, but since we’re using melted brown butter, it will help firm up the dough. I recommend chilling the dough for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight for the best flavor and texture.
Why are my cookies crispy?
If your chocolate pecan cookies came out crispy instead of chewy, it could be a few different things:
- The biggest culprit is using too much flour. That’s why I always recommend weighing flour with a scale instead of cups.
- Another reason is that you may have over-mixed the dough. When cookie dough is over-mixed, it causes the gluten to become tough which makes the cookies crunchy.
- The cookies were over-baked. You want to bake the cookies just until the edges are set and the centers are still a bit under-baked.
More cookie recipes you’ll love
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Chewy Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies with Brown Butter
- 1 cup unsalted butter (226 grams)
- 1 cup pecan halves (90 grams), plus more for decoration
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (270 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar (266 grams)
- 1/3 cup white sugar (67 grams)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (15 milliliters)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate wafers (180 grams), plus more for decoration
- Flaky salt, for serving (optional)
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- #40 cookie scoop (2 Tablespoons)
- 2 sheet pans
- Parchment paper
Brown the butter
- To brown the butter, melt the unsalted butter in a shallow, light-colored pan over medium-low heat. Cook, swirling the pan often, for 5-7 minutes. At first the butter will foam up and get bubbly, but eventually, you will start to see small brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Once the butter is golden-brown and smells nutty, immediately remove the butter from the heat and pour it into a large heat-proof mixing bowl. Cool the brown butter until it's room temperature, about 15-20 minutes.
Toast the pecans
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Evenly spread the pecans halves in a single layer on a small sheet pan.
- Bake the pecans for 6-8 minutes, tossing halfway through, until they are toasted and smell nutty. Keep a close eye on the pecans so they don't burn.
- Let the pecans cool for a few minutes. Once they're cool enough to touch, roughly chop the pecans. Set aside to cool completely.
Make the cookie dough
- While the butter and pecans cool, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, and Kosher salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Then, add the dark brown sugar and white sugar to the brown butter. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until it’s well-combined, 1-2 minutes. Next, add the eggs one at a time until they're completely incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Stir half of the flour mixture to the sugar-butter mixture until combined. Then, add the remaining flour mixture, beating just until the dough forms (a few streaks of flour is ok). Using a rubber spatula, fold the pecans and chocolate wafers into the cookie dough until they're evenly distributed and there are no more streaks of flour. The dough will be a bit loose, but it will thicken once it's chilled.
- Cover the bowl with a reusable bowl cover or plastic wrap. Then, chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Bake the cookies
- Once the dough is chilled and you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Using a #40 cookie scoop (2 Tablespoons), scoop the cookie dough and roll them into balls with the palms of your hands. Place the cookie dough balls 3 inches apart on the parchment-lined sheet pans (they will spread quite a bit). Add 2-3 chocolate wafers to the tops of each cookie dough ball if you want the 'chocolate puddle' look.
- Bake the cookies for about 6 minutes, until the cookies are puffy in the center. Using oven mitts, grip the sides of the sheet pan and give the sheet pan a few firm taps against the oven rack until the edges are wrinkly and the centers of the cookies fall and flatten. Flip the pan and bake the cookies for another 2-3 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centers are just slightly underdone.
- Remove the cookies from the oven, and give them another tap against a counter or another firm surface to make the edges a little more crinkly. Immediately press 2-3 toasted pecans into the surface of each cookie for decoration, if desired. Sprinkle the cookies with flaky salt.
- Let the cookies cool on the sheet pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat the above steps with the rest of the cookie dough. Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
Song of the day – My Vibe by Mt. Joy