One of my favorite holiday traditions is the cookie exchange. My mother would start preparing Grandma’s favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe weeks in advance and freeze the dough balls to get a jump on the few hundred cookies needed for all the cookie exchanges.
When I moved to Marietta, GA I was so excited to continue my mother’s holiday cookie tradition. Every holiday season I attend my over-the-top fun neighbor Lisa’s cookie exchange. There will be over 30 varieties of cookies exchanged next weekend. That’s 1,8000 cookies!!!
I decided to do something a little different to my Grandma’s favorite cookie recipe for this year’s cookie exchange. I made a browned butter base and added toasted & salted Diamond pecans to my Grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe. Browning the butter gives your baked goods a rich, nutty flavor. Adding sea salt (or kosher salt) to your freshly toasted pecans adds another level of flavor. Heating the nuts helps bring the natural oils out, allowing the salt to adhere easily to them. Freshly toasted & salted pecans paired with your best chocolate, a combination made in heaven.
Besides using Grandma’s favorite recipe for this year’s cookie exchange, I’m entering it in Diamond’sThe Gift to Gather Recipe Contest. Go to their contest website and vote for my Grandma’s Toasty, Salty Pecan and Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.
- Browned Butter - 1/2 cup (see instructions)
- Butter - 1/2 cup, room temperature
- brown sugar - 1 cup
- sugar - 1/2 cup
- eggs - 2, lightly beaten
- vanilla - 1 teaspoon
- baking soda - 1 teaspoon
- flour - 2 1/2 cups, all-purpose
- chocolate chips - 12 ounces
- pecans - 1 1/2 cups, salted and toasted (see instructions)
- To prepare browned butter: Place ½ cup butter in a stainless skillet over medium heat. The butter will crack and spit as the water cooks out. You are looking for the butter to turn an amber brown color. Small brown bits will start to form on the bottom of the pan as the butter finishes browning. Remove the butter from the heat and place into a small bowl to cool to room temperature. Make sure to scrape all the small, brown bits in with the browned butter. Let it sit until it is completely cooled down. I like to brown my butter the day before I use it and leave it out on the counter covered.
- To prepare salty, toasty pecans: Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Roughly chop the pecans before putting them on lined baking sheet. Bake the pecans in the oven for 5 minutes, remove them from the oven and toss them, return them to the oven for another 5 minutes. After they have baked for 10 minutes, remove them from the oven; gently toss them in a bowl with 1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt.
- To prepare cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking soda; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the browned butter, softened butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Cream together for 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in and mix for another 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla for one minute.
- Add the flour/baking soda mixture to the creamed mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and salty, toasty pecans by hand. 4. Using a small ice cream scoop (#20), drop the cookie dough onto greased baking sheets or parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool on sheet pan for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks. Yield: 3 dozen cookies