These pecan chocolate chip cookies are packed with flavor thanks to brown butter, a hint of cinnamon and chunks of dark chocolate. The brown butter gives a delicious nutty caramel flavor that makes these cookies so addictive. They’re chewy with slightly crispy golden edges for the perfect bakery-style texture.
**This post was updated September 14, 2022 with an updated recipe, recipe tips & photos**
Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies – the ULTIMATE Gourmet Cookies
If there was a contest for the most flavorful cookies – these pecan chocolate chip cookies would win hands down. Not only are they filled with chocolate and pecans, but using brown butter gives the most delicious nutty flavor and the brown sugar adds a caramel undertone that’s completely addictive. Then a touch of cinnamon and vanilla round out the flavor.
Full disclosure – I used chocolate chips when I first posted this recipe and have now used chocolate chunks for pools of dark chocolate. Either will work, but I kept the recipe name the same since pecan chocolate chip cookies was the original.
If you’re not used to baking with brown butter – let me introduce you to your new best friend.
What is Brown Butter?
Brown butter is butter that’s been melted to the point where the color starts to darken and it gives off a nutty aroma. It adds so much flavor to baked goods, but it’s also often used as a sauce on its own as a sauce for savoury dishes in French cooking. It adds a complexity to the flavor that pairs so perfectly with the pecans and dark chocolate.
How to Make Brown Butter
Don’t be scared of browning the butter.
- Measure out the butter needed and cut into cubes.
- Add to a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat. It’s easiest if you use a light colored saucepan because you can see the butter browning much more easily than if using a dark colored pan.
- Melt the butter while whisking and/or swirling the pan. This helps the butter heat evenly.
- Let the butter bubble and froth after it’s melted and continue whisking.
- When the butter starts to darken in color and give off a nutty aroma (you’ll smell it!), remove the butter from the heat.
Note: You will see brown flecks in the brown butter, this is normal. If you’d like, you can sift these out. However, you want to remove the butter from the heat before these flecks turn black. If they’ve turned black, then I definitely recommend sifting them out of the butter with a metal sifter because it means they’ve burned (if a few get into the mixture, that’s ok for this recipe).
Baking Tips & Tricks
- You’ll notice that for this recipe we’re only browning ½ of the butter. Browned butter does change the cookie texture. So using a combination of both softened butter and browned butted gives you the best of both worlds – great cookie texture and tons of flavor.
- Allow the browned butter to cool for 10-20 minutes before using. We don’t want it to be so warm that it melts the rest of the butter.
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – measure the flour correctly. Use a scale or whisk first, then spoon into dry measuring cups and level off the top. Too much flour and the cookies get dry, crumbly and flavorless.
- The dough will need to chill for about 30 minutes to avoid the cookies spreading out too thin. You can also cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight if you prefer.
You’ll love these cookies because the dark chocolate chunks leave you with pools of melted chocolate. Then the pecans, browned butter and cinnamon make these truly bakery worthy and taste gourmet.
And for more seriously gourmet cookies, then be sure to try:
- Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Bakery-Style Double Chocolate Cookies
- Chocolate Orange Cookies
Brown Butter Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Cookie Sheets
- 1 cup unsalted butter (226 grams) divided
- 2 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour (333 grams)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt I use coarse salt or sea salt
- 1 cup brown sugar (200 grams) packed - light or dark works
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 ounces dark chocolate (226 grams) chopped, or 1 ¼ cup chocolate chips
- ¾ cup pecan pieces (about 90 grams) If using pecan halves, measure after chopping
- Divide the butter in half (113 grams per half). Cut into cubes.
- Add half the butter (113 gras/half cup) into a saucepan over medium-medium high heat. Melt the butter while gently whisking. After the butter has fully melted, continue whisking. It will bubble and froth. After about 5-10 minutes, it will start to turn an amber color and give off a nutty aroma. Remove the browned butter from the heat. Let cool for about 10-20 minutes. Optionally, sift the flecks out of the butter. If some get in, that's ok.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl beat the remaining ½ cup (113 grams) of butter (the butter that has not been browned) with the brown sugar and granulated sugar until no lumps of butter or sugar remain.
- Beat in the cooled browned butter, followed by the vanilla extract and eggs.
- Starting with the mixer on a low speed, beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
- Stir in the chopped dark chocolate and pecans. I always leave a little out of the batter for adding on top of each cookie.
- Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- Form the dough into balls about 1.5 tablespoons in size and place 2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheet.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F (180C or 170C fan forced) degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Form the dough into balls with about 3 tablespoons of dough each. I use 2 scoops of a medium cookie scoop (each scoop is 1.5 tablespoons). If the dough has been in the fridge overnight, you may need to let it sit for 10 minutes on the counter first so that it's easier to work with.
- Place the dough balls at least 2.5 inches (about 5 cm) apart on the lined cookie sheets. Optionally, place a few extra chocolate chunks and pecan pieces on top of each cookie.
- Bake 1 sheet at a time in the middle of the preheated oven for about 10-13 minutes, or until the tops look just set apart from the pools of melty chocolate.
- Butter: This recipe requires real butter (not margarine). We are only browning ½ of the butter. So ½ cup / 1 stick / 113 grams.
- Brown Sugar: Light or dark works for this recipe.
- Chocolate: Feel free to use anywhere between 45-70% dark chocolate, or even semi-sweet if you prefer. Chocolate chips work too.
- Pecans: Make sure to chop the pecans into pieces as opposed to using whole pecan halves. Pecan halves are too large and will make your cookies spread into add shapes.
- Smaller Cookies: For smaller cookies, for the dough into balls with about 1.5 tablespoons of dough each. They'll need about 8-10 minutes to bake in the preheated oven.
- Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. Cookie dough balls can be frozen in a freezer bag for up to 2 months. Bake from frozen. They'll need about 1-2 minutes longer.
- Nutrition: Details provided are an estimate only and based on 1 cookie, assuming the recipe yields 20 equal-sized cookies.