My mother’s Chocolate Chunk Pecan cookies recipe is without a doubt the best chocolate chip cookie recipe you never had, except we use chocolate chunks instead of chips. I was reminded of it when I tasted a store bought chocolate chunk, caramel and pecan cookie, and again a few days later when I saw a recipe from a blog.
I had intended to try out the blog’s easy chocolate chip cookie recipe but realized that I actually wanted to revisit my mother’s Chocolate Chunk Pecan cookies recipe to see if I could tweak it. I thought of substituting chunks for chips since it would be less messy but realised why my mum used chunks in her ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe instead of chips. I did not like the taste and texture of the chocolate chips and prefer chunks of a good chocolate bar that melts and turns all gooey.
During my early teens, this was the very first cookie that my mother allowed me to make on my own for Eid. I remember one Sunday afternoon sitting at the kitchen table when she was feeling inspired, and she threw together a few basic ingredients to make her chocolate chunk pecan cookies. It was much crunchier than the other cookies she had in her repertoire, but everyone loved it. Back then the supermarkets in Cape Town did not sell good quality chocolate chips or cooking chocolate with a high cocoa content, so we cut up slabs of Cadbury milk chocolate and bourneville chocolate slabs into chunky chocolate bits.
I always felt like there was something lacking in the flavor, but couldn’t quite pinpoint what that was. For a richer color and softer texture, I replaced the fine granulated sugar with light and dark brown sugar and this made all the difference to the flavor and texture. I halved my mother’s original recipe, but still used one egg.
My mother’s chocolate chunk pecan cookies were not one of the five items included in my assorted cookie box during my baking years because to me the process was too long winded. The finished cookie dough was too soft and was left to chill for a few hours, before each one was individually shaped before baking. In my version the dough was soft as expected, but instead of chilling it before baking, I baked it as soon as I had set down the ice cream scoops of cookie dough on the baking sheet.
Alhamdulillah, my rebooted easy chocolate chunk pecan cookies are crispy and crunchy on the outside and chocolatey and chewy on the inside, with a delicate hint of salt from the crispy salted caramel chocolate pieces. This and that with salt seems to be all the rage now, but I find that a glob of salt hitting my tongue is too much of a shock to my tastebuds, and this is much more subtle.
- Use a combination of fine granulated sugar with light and dark brown sugar or only light and dark brown sugar for the best flavor.
- Use good quality dark chocolate buttons or bars cut up into chunks as these will melt and give puddles of chocolate. Choc chips hold their shape and don’t really add much to the flavor for me.
- The cookies can be baked straight after the dough is made and is soft and scoopable.
- Substitute 100 grams of the chocolate with a flavored 70% cocoa chocolate for something different. I use Lindt’s salted caramel or chilli chocolate.
- 125 grams lightly salted butter (at room temperature)
- 85 grams light brown sugar (approximately 125 ml packed)
- 85 grams dark brown sugar (approximately 125 ml packed)
- 1 large egg
- 5 ml vanilla extract
- 220 grams cake flour or fine sponge flour (approximately 500 ml or 2 cups, scooped into the cup with a spoon and levelled)
- 5 ml baking powder (approximately 1 level teaspoon )
- 200 grams 70% cocoa chocolate bar (cut into roughly into chunks)
- 115 grams pecan nuts (approximately 250 ml or 1 cup)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius or 160 fan / 350 F / Gas mark 4.
- Line the cookie sheets with baking parchment.
- In a medium sized bowl, beat the butter for 2 minutes until it lightens and looks creamy. Add the sugar and beat until the sugar is dissolved and there are no sugar lumps. This may take between 5-10 minutes depending on whether you are using a whisk or cake mixer. For purposes of this test I used a whisk.
- Add the egg to the butter and sugar mixture and beat again until it is thick and creamy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract and ensure that you scrape the sides of the bowl to mix in all the butter and sugar at the bottom and sides.
- Fold the flour and baking powder into the butter mixture and combine thoroughly.
- Add the chocolate chunks and chopped pecans and mix thoroughly. The mixture will be soft and easy to scoop.
- Use a small ice cream scoop with approximately 50 ml capacity to scoop dough balls onto the lined baking sheet.
- Leave enough space between the balls so that they can spread without touching.
- Bake on the lower shelf for 10 minutes then turn and bake on the middle shelf for a further 3-5 minutes, depending on how crispy you want it.
- Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack. This will ensure that they don't crumble when you remove them while hot.
Nutritional information for the recipe is approximate only and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given.
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