When you’re craving something a bit more robust than your basic chocolate chip cookie, turn to this Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Recipe. Each bite is chewy and deeply flavored with browned butter, toasted pecans, and dark brown sugar. Finished with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt, these cookies are rich and decadent and everything you want from a homemade cookie.
Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
We set our sights on creating a chewy chocolate chip cookie that was not only studded with toasted pecans, but infused with the flavor of pecans. If that wasn’t a tall enough order, we also wanted it to be made with whole-wheat flour and bread flour. This may sound odd—but the combination of these two flours adds toasty, nutty flavor and actually creates a chewier cookie.
Plus, to ensure these cookies are chewy through-and-through, we use both brown sugar and white sugar, add an extra egg yolk, and employ the popular pan-banging method from Sarah Keifer.
Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Ingredients
- Flour: we developed this recipe using a combination of whole-wheat pastry flour and bread flour. This combination results in the biggest flavor and chewiest texture. You can use all-purpose flour instead—but measure it by weight instead of cup to match the weight of the other two flours. Use extra whole-wheat pastry flour in our Healthy Blueberry Lemon Muffins and use extra bread flour to make out Milk Buns.
- Baking soda: needed to give the cookies light so they can then fall back onto themselves and create stunning rippled edges.
- Unsalted butter: you can use salted. If you do, skip adding salt to the dough.
- Pecans: make sure you’re using raw, unsalted and unroasted pecans for this recipe.
- Dark brown sugar: it’s important to use dark brown sugar (not light) for the added moisture and molasses flavor.
- Granulated sugar: using granulated sugar in combination with brown sugar creates the perfect chewy cookie with crisp edges.
- Kosher salt: needed to balance out all the sweetness!
- Vanilla extract: we always prefer to bake with pure vanilla extract—but whatever you have on hand is delicious.
- Egg + egg yolk: it’s important to use eggs labeled as “large” not medium, not Jumbo, you need large eggs. A large egg, out of shell, should weight about 50 grams. A large yolk should weigh about 20 grams. Using the correct size of egg is important for achieving the correct texture. If too small of an egg is used, there won’t be enough moisture and fat. Too large and too much moisture will be added.
- Bittersweet chocolate bar: we like to use 72% Ghirardelli chocolate bar. Use any chocolate you like, just be sure to use bar chocolate (not chips).
How to Make: Step-by-Step Instructions
- Melt the Butter
- Add the Pecans
- Combine Butter and Sugars
- Whisk in the Egg and Egg Yolk
- Stir in the Flour
- Fold in the Chocolate
- Scoop and Freeze the Dough
- Bake the Cookies
- Finish with Sea Salt
- Weigh your ingredients instead of using cup measurements. This ensures you’re using the correct amount—to the gram!—of each ingredient. If you don’t have a food scale, make sure you are fluffing the flour, spooning the flour into the measuring cups, and leveling off with the back of a knife or straight-edged handle. This is how we develop recipes.
- Make sure you are using rimmed baking sheets, these are our favorite. Opposite of what you might think, avoid using a cookie sheet (which has no sides) which will likely over-bake the cookies.
- Line your baking sheets with parchment paper—it’s essential for creating a nonstick surface that will also encourage browning and crisping.
- 1 ¼ cups (134g) whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (65g) bread flour*
- ¾ teaspoon (5g) baking soda
- 14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup (80g) raw pecans, chopped
- ¾ cups (148g) packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons Morton kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 6 ounces (170g) dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped, such as 72% ghirardelli
- Line 2 baking sheets (half sheet pans) with parchment paper; stack together, then transfer to refrigerator to chill.
- Whisk 1 ¼ cups (134g) whole-wheat pastry flour, ½ cup (65g) bread flour and ¾ teaspoon (5g) baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
- Heat 10 tablespoons (142g) butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter just barely starts to turn golden brown, about 1 ½ minutes.
- Add ¾ cup (80g) chopped pecans and continue cooking, swilling pan, until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 2 ½–3 ½ minutes more.
- Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl with remaining 4 tablespoons (58g) butter; using a rubber spatula to scrap butter and solids into bowl. Stirn until completely melted.
- Add ¾ cup (148g) brown sugar, ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar, 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated.
- Add 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times (for a total of 4 mixes) until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.
- Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in 6 ounces (170g) chopped chocolate.
- Divide dough into 20 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange closely on a small baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350ºF degrees.
- Arrange 6 chilled dough balls 3 inches apart on a chilled parchment-lined baking sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require multiple batches.)
- Transfer sheet to oven and bake until cookies are puffed, 10 minutes. Lift baking sheet up about 4 inches, then drop baking sheet down onto rack. Bake until cookies puff again, 2 minutes, then repeat lifting and dropping pan. Bake cookies another 2 minutes, then repeat lifting and dropping pan. Bake cookies until edges are golden brown and centers are slightly puffed and look under-baked, 1–2 minutes more. (Total bake time should be 14–16 minutes.)
- Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack; sprinkle cookies with flaky sea salt, if desired. Allow cookies to cool completely on sheet before transferring to an airtight container.
- Fluff the flour with a spoon or whisk. This aerates the flour and lightens it up.
- Use a large spoon to spoon the flour from the storage bin to the measuring cup.
- Sweep a flat edge, such as the back of a knife, along the top of the measuring cup to level the flour.
Melt the butter in a large skillet and allow it to cook until just starting to brown. Keep an eye on as it cooks—butter can go from golden to burnt quickly.
Add the pecans to the butter and toast the nuts and butter together until both are deeply browned and fragrant. Stir and swirl the mixture constantly to keep an eye on the progress. You may need to stir the foam around or pool the butter to see the true color.
Add the browned butter and pecans to a large bowl with the unmelted butter (this helps cool down the mixture). Stir until all of the butter is melted and combined. Add the sugars, salt and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
Add the egg and egg yolk and vigorously whisk the mixture until smooth; about 30 seconds. Let the mixture rest for 3 minutes then whisk again for 30 seconds. Continue alternating whisking and resting a couple more times until the mixture is smooth, thick and glossy. This step encourages the sugar to dissolve into the mixture, making for a chewier cookie.
Add the flour to the mixture and stir to combine. Over-mixing makes tough cookies, but the beautiful thing about whole-wheat flour is that is doesn’t readily form gluten, so you can safely give this dough a good mix.
Add the chopped chocolate and stir to combine.
Scoop the dough into large 3-tablespoon balls (or use a #24 scoop). Arrange the dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, get the oven preheated.
Transfer the frozen dough balls to a separate parchment-lined baking sheet set a few inches a part. Bake the cookies 10 minutes, then start the pan-banging! Lift the baking sheet up, then drop it down onto the rack. Bake 2 more minutes, then repeat lifting and dropping the pan. Continue this process until edges are golden brown and centers are slightly puffed and look under-baked.
Sprinkle the cookies with flaky sea salt right as they come out of the oven then let them cool completely on the baking sheets.
Test Kitchen Tips for Baking Cookies
How To Make Ahead, Freeze, and Store Cookies and Cookie Dough
You can either bake these cookies ahead of time or make the dough ahead of time. Here are a few different options:
Freeze Cookie Dough
Arrange the dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze the cookie dough until solid, at least 2 hours. Transfer the dough to a zipper-lock bag and store in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Do not thaw cookie dough prior to baking. Increase bake time by a minute or two if needed.
Make Ahead and Store Cookies at Room Temperature
Make Ahead and Store Cookies in Freezer
Transfer baked and cooled cookies to a zipper-lock freezer bag or air tight container, layering small pieces of parchment paper between each cookie. Store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Allow to thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes before eating.
Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie FAQs
There are a few reasons this could have happened. Your oven could run slightly hotter than it says. If your oven is too hot, the fat melts faster than the cookie is able to set, causing a flat cookie. It’s imperative that you adequately preheat your oven (allow it to keep preheating a few minutes after it says it’s preheated) and get yourself an oven thermometer so you can check the actual temperature and adjust as needed.
Cookies will start to harden and become less chewy about 3 days after baking. If your cookies are rock-hard, you can place a piece of sandwich bread in the bag or container with them and they will soften. They won’t be chewy, but they will become softer.
They do freeze well! Store the baked and completely cooled cookies in a resealable zipper-lock bag for up to 4 months. Let the cookies thaw for about 30 minutes before enjoying.
Well, we think the recipe you’re about to make is the best chewy cookie recipe! You can also learn more about how to make chewy cookies or try our Cardamom Cookies, Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies, or our ULTRA chewy Hermit Cookies.
Absolutely, check out our Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake that’s finished with the richest, silkiest ganache.
More Cookie Recipes to Try
If you love this nutty chocolate chip cookie then be sure to check out our Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Try our chewy Cardamom Cookies for a fun upgrade to the classic spice cookie.