These chocolate chip and pecan cookies are one of those comforting foods that puts you in touch with your inner-child. The second that nutty chocolate nectar of an aroma reaches your nostrils, your eyes light up and your mouth starts watering. Besides, some days you just really need a cookie.
What constitutes a perfect chocolate chip cookie? It’s a question for the ages. Some like a crisp edge, others a soft melty center. Some cakey, some chewy, some gooey. And look, I can’t decide for you, so stop asking. You are going to have to do some soul searching (read: cookie monstering) to get this figured out.
Ok, ok, I’ll help you on your journey but only because you were so insistent. Besides, I already bought this captain hat. Now, go get your ingredients, turn on your oven, and I’ll guide you through the first step in this crucial expedition.
In this recipe, I’m fighting for team soft and melty. That ooey-gooey texture can be accomplished in multiple ways. In this case, we start by using more brown sugar than white sugar. Brown sugar is more hygroscopic meaning that it is more efficient at absorbing water from the air. This translates to a moister cookie.
Eggs are also an integral part of this cookie recipe. Egg whites are in large part water, which adds moisture and lightness to the dough. Meanwhile, yolks are high in fat and act as an emulsifier, allowing the water and fat in the cookies to meld together. Due to its high fat content, the extra yolk in this recipe contributes to a creamy, fudge-like texture.
Now for butter. Melted butter mixes more readily with sugar and flour, yielding a softer dough. Softened butter, on the other hand, gets creamed with sugars. The creaming process creates pockets of air, which are subsequently filled with egg. The result of these air pockets is a lighter, cakier texture. So, why didn’t I use melted butter?? Simply put, I felt that with an extra yolk and a high ratio of brown to white sugar, melted butter would result in a mush of a cookie. The use of softened butter in this recipe lends some structure to the otherwise-fudgy mess.
There you have it. Try out these chocolate chip and pecan cookies and see what you think. And hey, if you hate them, you know what not to do. Every day is a learning experience.
Ambrosian Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 1 egg +1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2¼ cups all-purpose-flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 0.5 cups pecans chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
- Line large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cream together butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes.
- Mix in egg and egg-yolk and vanilla until combined.
- Add baking powder and salt to the bowl and mix briefly.
- Pour in flour and stir just until all flour is incorporated.
- Measure in chocolate chips and pecans and mix very briefly to combine.
- Place 2-3 tbsp dough balls about 2 in. apart on lined baking sheets.
- Lightly press down on dough balls.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, until very lightly browned. Cookies will still be soft upon cooling so be careful not to overcook.