My mother’s updated crispy and chewy Chocolate Chunk Pecan cookies recipe is without a doubt the best chocolate chip cookie recipe you never had, because 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 thought to try out the blog’s milk chocolate chip cookies recipe but realized that I actually wanted to revisit my mother’s Chocolate Chunk Pecan cookies recipe to see if I could update it to taste like the crispy chewy chocolate chip cookies one finds in mall cookie shops.
My mum used chocolate chunks in her cookie recipe with pecans because she did not like the taste and texture of chocolate chips. Back then the supermarkets in Cape Town did not sell good quality chocolate chips or cooking chocolate with a high cocoa content, and instead we cut up slabs of Cadbury milk chocolate and Bourneville dark chocolate slabs into chocolate chunks.
Even now I do not like the taste and texture of chocolate chips and prefer chocolate chunks of a good 70 % cocoa chocolate bar because it melts and forms gooey puddles of chocolate in the cookie. I have recently seen a product online called chocolate wafers (flat chocolate buttons) that are also suitable for cookies.
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.
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 dark 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 cookies recipe is crispy and crunchy on the outside and chocolaty 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.
The first time my brother tasted these cookies he exclaimed that it was the best chocolate chunk cookies he had ever had. Simone had to make it a few times since then.
- Weigh the ingredients! A bit of extra flour makes a big difference to the texture of the cookies and can determine whether the cookies turn out chewy and crispy or only crispy.
- 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 wafers / 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.
For other cookie recipes try the links below:
- Crunchies Oat and Coconut cookies
- Cranberry, Macadamia and White chocolate cookies
- Pecan Snowball cookies
- 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 an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.
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