This is one of my favorite cookie recipes. I like to have cookie dough on hand in the freezer, because you never know when you might need a quick dessert. (Ironically, though I am a pastry chef, I always forget to prepare dessert for company.) I like to use ebony, or extra dark cocoa powder. It has long been available to chefs (it’s the one they use in Oreo cookies), and happily it’s now available to home cooks. I also like bittersweet chocolate chunks, but you can use any chunk you like. Milk, white, butterscotch—even carob. (Although what’s the point of that?) You can use any nut you want, too. Come to think of it, this recipe is really just a chocolaty suggestion.
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks, 8 ounces), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoon unrefined salt – try Bali pyramid, Maldon, Portuguese or Spanish flor di sal, or a salt infused with chocolate, espresso, vanilla, or matcha
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup extra dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped bittersweet chocolate chunks
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread the pecans out onto a dry baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until fragrant and toasted. Cool completely.
- Coat baking sheet with pan spray and set aside. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars until smooth and lump free. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, the eggs one at a time, and vanilla, stirring to incorporate thoroughly. Stir in cocoa, baking powder, then the flour in 2-3 increments. Fold in chocolate and cooled nuts.
- Using an ice cream scoop, or two spoons, drop walnut-sized balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet 1-inch apart. Sprinkle the top with remaining salt, and bake for 12-18 minutes, until firm. Cool completely, and store airtight.
Regular Chocolate Chip – If you guessed that this is just a modified chocolate chip cookie recipe, you’re right. If you want to get back to the original, omit the cocoa powder and make up that difference with more flour. Then try finishing with Murray River, Black Lava, or Black Diamond salt.
Chocolate Medley – Use whatever kind of chocolate chip you like. Or use your favorite candy or chopped up candy bar. Or omit the extra chocolate all together and use dried cherries—not that anyone will be happy about that switch. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
Mexican Chocolate – To simulate the flavors of Mexican hot chocolate in a cookie, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne or other hot chile powder, use chopped Ibarra or other Mexican style chocolate, and finish with Manzanillo, or salt infused with chiles.