Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Perhaps it’s the memories of my childhood milk and cookie snack time, or my never-ending love for the classic chocolate chip cookie. Maybe it’s the unparalleled and addictive smell wafting from the kitchen as they bake, or the endless add-ins you can throw into a cookie dough.
I'm sort of in love with baking cookies, especially this time of year.
I added a little something salty to my sweet chocolate chip cookie the other day. A dash of sea salt, a little bit of caramel, salty pecans—put all this into one soft and thick chocolate chip cookie, and you've got yourself one fine treat this holiday season.
The dough for today's cookies is the same dough I used for my Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. Cornstarch, my little secret weapon in cookie recipes, makes a silent appearance yet again. I've told you before and I'll tell you again, I swear by cornstarch in my cookies these days! Adding a mere 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to your cookie dough will produce softer-than-ever cookies, without impacting the taste at all. One bite of your tender cookie and you'll wonder why you didn't add the stuff to your cookie dough sooner.
Not only that, but just look how thick cornstarch will make your cookies! More often than not, I bake up what I think will be a thick cookie, only to see it deflate and flatten out in the cooling process. What a let-down!
Not with these. Nope. Your cookies remain puffy, and soft—even the next day.
Let's talk about all those little add-ins that make today's cookies so special.
Caramel, pecans, and chocolate make up one of my favorite chocolate candies: chocolate turtles. Their mini gobs of nuts are held together with sticky caramel and covered in milk chocolate. My mom and I often shared a small bag of chocolate turtles she hid in our cupboards around the holidays. Biting into one always brings me back home, and I wanted to capture that same nostalgia in today's cookie. :)
I overloaded the cookies, super-chunk style. Into the dough went 3/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup chopped salty pecans. (Feel free to substitute another nut, or leave the nuts out altogether if you or the kiddies aren't particular to them.)
An important item to note before baking these cookies is that the caramels are not added to the dough with your other mix-ins. Rather, you will stick a few small cut-up pieces of soft caramel candies onto the tops of your cookie dough balls as you drop them onto the baking sheet. Doing so will prevent caramel from melting and creating a burnt river of caramel underneath your cookies as they bake.
The caramel melts on top of the cookies while in the oven, creating little pools of goo between the chunks and chips all around. I was worried the caramel would turn hard as the cookies cooled, but it remains soft and melty, even after a day or two.
Soft and chewy caramel sitting atop a soft and chewy cookie. Double the good stuff here.
For an extra twist, along with the pecans, gooey caramel, and chocolate, I added a touch of salty sparkle to the cookies. Before putting them in the oven, I sprinkled the balls of dough with a touch of crushed sea salt. It was a last-minute, but very necessary addition. The salt brings out all of the cookie's sweet medley of flavors, especially the caramel. I simply adore salted caramel in any which way. I know I'm not alone here.
Sure enough to be one of your favorite cookies this holiday season, these overstuffed, super-chunky, double-chewy, soft-baked cookies will please just about any crowd. I mean, who can pass up a cookie? Especially a cookie lookin' this good?!
Not this girl.
Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes approximately 3 dozen
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 16 wrapped caramels, cut into 4 or 5 pieces each
- sea salt
Line an ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. On low speed, mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Dough will be thick and sticky. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Drop 1 Tbsp balls of dough onto cookie sheet OR used a standard-sized cookie scoop. Press a few pieces of caramel onto the tops of the cookies and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Do NOT cook them longer than 10 minutes. Remove and let cool for 3 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack.
*Make sure to keep dough cold at all times while the batches are baking. I kept my dough in the refrigerator in between batches. Do not drop dough onto warm cookie sheets; allow sheets to cool between batches.
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