In my not-always-so-humble opinion, these are the best cookies ever. And the always-truly-humble J-man agrees 100%.
The J-man will be on his own for a few days this week because I’m off to the beach. I’m meeting up with two of my dearest friends from NC. I don’t like leaving him here without a tasty treat or two to fall back on when missing me overwhelms him. Ok, ok…I’m sure he’ll manage perfectly fine without me. These cookies are actually a thank you/I love you gift for being the greatest guy ever for letting me go gallivanting off to the beach while he goes to work.
A few days ago I asked him to name the number one baked good that I make. Chocolate Pecan Toffee Cookies were his answer. They are always his answer. Thank goodness they’re fun and easy to make…and super tasty. This recipe makes about 4 dozen (depending on how big or small you like your cookies). I’ll definitely be bringing a heaping plate of extras to the beach.
My Method: I like to get all the prep work out-of-the-way before I start mixing up the dough. First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees; then line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and gather the following ingredients:
unsalted butter, white sugar, brown sugar, 2 large eggs & vanilla extract.
baking soda, baking powder, old-fashioned oats, all-purpose flour, salt & cinnamon
pecans, chocolate baking chips (this time I used semi-sweet but I've used milk chocolate before) and toffee bits (regular work but I always go with chocolate covered)
Next, finely chop the pecans (or chunky chop the pecans…it’s up to you and yours). I am a huge fan of my little chopper machine, but a food processor would work too.
These particular pecans are South Carolina grown. A few months ago, I bought 2 bags at a little store located off of I-95 while traveling back down to Georgia. I store them in my freezer and use them as needed. I guess you could use some other nut in this recipe. Like walnuts…but I don’t because they make my tongue feel itchy. Weird, but true.
Spread the chopped pecans out on a baking sheet. I toast pecans in our toaster oven using my Pampered Chef stoneware pan. It’s a perfect fit at 7″ x 9.5″. I’ve toasted nuts in the big oven before, but the toaster oven is much quicker.
Here they are ready to be…
Burnt!!! Not cool. Totally my fault. And I was planning to admonish you all to watch them closely. Don’t get distracted or they will burn! I got distracted. Ugghh…it’s painful to waste such a pricey ingredient. Ah well.
Second attempt = properly toasted pecans. Yay.
Use your food chopping machine of choice to finely chop up the old-fashioned oats. It will end up looking like hearty flour.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, oats and salt in a medium bowl. I always whisk (no sifter here yet) the dry ingredients together because I am not a fan of biting into pockets of baking soda. Bleh.
Final prep step! Measure out 4 ounces of toffee bits. Add the toasted pecans and the entire bag (if it’s 12 ounces, that is) of chocolate chips to the toffee bowl.
Congrats! The prep work is finally done. Time to get mixing. Cream the butter and both sugars with an electic mixer (by hand would work if you’re old school or if you haven’t asked for one last Christmas, birthday or wedding shower…thanks again Mom & Dad!).
Toss in the 2 eggs and vanilla extract. Beat them in until it’s all a nice and fluffy mess.
This is beautiful! I love, love, love this stage in the cookie making process. Plus, it tastes delicious (not that I’m advocating eating raw eggs…definitely not…it’s not a good idea…even though I do it).
Add the flour mix to the buttery/sugary mix. Beat until it is just blended.
Notice how a little flour is still stuck to the side of the bowl. It feels and looks like you should beat it a little more. Don’t. Seriously. Take a deep breath, scrape the paddle, remove the bowl from the mixer and go grab your favorite wooden spoon. Stretching your dominant arm wouldn’t hurt either. You’re about to give it a workout.
Pour the bowl of chocolate chips, toffee and pecans into the big bowl of flour/sugar/buttery goodness. Start stirring.
Stir it all together and viola, you are done making the dough!
Now, I made this dough yesterday morning with the plan to bake the cookies this morning. Which I did. I’ve done this sort of thing quite a few times in the past.
I’ll admit that the dough is much easier to work with right after you mix it up (I use an ice cream scooper to make cookie dough balls when the dough is soft) but sometimes I don’t have that kind of time. Like yesterday morning.
So, after wrapping the dough in wax paper, I popped it into a plastic bag and left it in the refrigerator for the night.
This morning, I pulled the hard lump of dough out of the fridge. I placed it on a cutting board and sliced and diced it into cookie dough squares.
I like to cut all of the cookie dough squares at one time. I keep them on a small pan until I need them. Popping your pan of dough squares in the fridge would be a good idea since raw eggs are involved. However, I don’t always remember to do that…but you should.
Place the dough squares on the prepared cookie sheet. Don’t mess with them. They’ll flatten out on their own, so be sure to give them enough room to grow.
Now, here’s where it gets a tiny bit tricky due to the differences in everyone’s oven temperature and cookie crunch preferences. I say, set the timer for 10 minutes. After the buzzer goes off, check the cookies and set the timer for another 2-3-4 minutes. Yes, you could just set the timer for 12-13 minutes, but these can over-cook in half a minute. Been there. I always end up glad I checked them after 10 minutes.
The cookies are done when they are a nice light brown around the edges and still a little soft in the middle. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes to cool down and firm up. Then move them over to a wire rack to cool completely.
We enjoy eating them fresh from the oven. Granted, who on earth wouldn’t???
PS…These may not be ideal for folks wearing braces or dentures due to the presence of toffee bits. Just sayin’ 😉
Chocolate Pecan Toffee Cookies
(Adapted many moons ago from Giada De Laurentis of the Food Network)
Preheat Oven to 325 degrees
Yield: about 4 dozen (depending on how big or small you make them)
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (1/2 tsp if its double strength)
4 ounces toffee bits (plain or chocolate covered)
A heaping 1/2 cup of pecans, finely chopped and toasted
12 ounces of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1) Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Chop the pecans in a food processor or chopper. Spread them out on a baking sheet and lightly toast them in the oven or toaster oven. Chop the oats in a food processor or chopper. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats in a medium-sized bowl.
2) Beat the butter and sugars in an electric mixer bowl. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Slowly add the flour mixture. Continue to beat with the electric mixer. Stir in, by hand, the toffee, pecans and chocolate chips.
3) Drop your desired sized dough ball onto the cookie sheet. Leave at least an inch between each cookie. Bake from 12-13 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake these cookies. When they are done, take them out of the oven but leave them on the baking sheet about 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cook completely.
4) Enjoy. These cookies store well in an airtight container on the counter top or wrapped tightly in the freezer.