I’m not sure how my dad found out about Leonard Farms Chocolate-Covered Pecans, but I can’t remember a holiday season without them. Every December, the familiar square box would show up at the front door and then all bets were off. In our holiday cookie-deprived states, my family suddenly became a bunch of hoarders. If my mom, sisters, or myself got to the box first, we were set. We would all know where the chocolate-covered pecans were hidden and would take great joy in sneaking off to have one or two. My poor dad would still be waiting for his treat even though it was already in the house. No matter that the box was addressed to him. I know it’s illegal to open someone else’s mail, but chocolate-covered pecans were (and are!) serious business! God forbid my dad got to the box first–none of the rest of us would see a single pecan until Christmas Day. And by then, my dad would have eaten two-thirds of the tin. Now that my sisters and myself are all living away from home, my parents send us each a tin of our own every year. My dad told me to share mine with Henry, but that’s unlikely to happen 😊 The square box arrived yesterday morning, just as I was feeling a distinct lack of holiday cookie inspiration. And so I decided to make them into something that I’d be glad to share with anyone.
The dough is a variation on my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough, which I’ll post in 2016. There are no surprises here: flour, brown and granulated sugars, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, salt. You probably have everything to make these in your pantry right now, with the exception, perhaps, of chocolate-covered pecans. I know not everyone wants to have pecans shipped from Texas just for cookies. In Brooklyn, chocolate-covered pecans can be found at my beloved Sahadi’s and probably at Whole Foods. In Texas, I imagine that they are available at Central Market, along with Texas Pecan coffee (anybody want to send me some? 😜). If you can’t find any, I think these would be great with chocolate-covered almonds, which seem to be available everywhere these days. Anyway, chop up some chocolate-covered pecans, measure out a cup of them, and fold them into the dough. And then–you guessed it–time for a chill. Put the dough in the fridge for 90 minutes or up to three days. Once the dough is nice and cold, take it out of the fridge and scoop it by the 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons).
And now for the best part: the salted caramel. Flatten the scooped dough into discs. Top half of the discs with a halved caramel candy and a sprinkle of salt, followed by a second disc of dough. Fold the edges of the dough toward each other and gently roll it into a ball. Set the dough balls at least two inches apart on the prepared pans and bake 8-10 minutes at 350F. Top with additional chocolate-covered pecan pieces, if you’d like. These cookies are nice and gooey when served warm, but I don’t mind the super-chewy caramel centers when they are served at room temperature either!
Salted Caramel Chocolate-Covered Pecan Cookies are so good, you won’t want to share. But you should, because you aren’t a bunch of holiday cookie-deprived lunatics like my family. Maybe I’ll bring them a batch of these when I go to Texas in a couple of weeks. I say “maybe” because there’s a good chance I will eat the entire tin long before I head to the airport. Don’t be like me.
Want more Twelve Days of Cookies? Check out my Red Velvet Peppermintdoodles, Eggnog Sandwich Cookies, Whipped Shortbread Snowballs, Apple Cider Snaps, Oreo-Stuffed Andes Peppermint Crunch Cookies, and Peppermint Mocha Cookies! And come back soon for five more holiday cookie recipes before December 25!
Salted Caramel Chocolate-Covered Pecan Cookies
makes about 40 cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1 cup chopped chocolate-covered pecans*
Salted Caramel Filling:
20 caramel candies, sliced in half*
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in sugars, followed by the egg and egg yolk. Beat in vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture in three installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Fold in the chopped chocolate-covered pecans. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for 90 minutes, or up to three days.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two sheet pans with parchment.
Scoop dough by the 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons), and roll into balls. Flatten the balls. Top half of the balls with a halved caramel and a pinch of salt. Top the caramels with another disc of dough. Fold the edges of the dough in toward each other and then gently roll it into a ball. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 8-10 minutes, until they look just slightly underbaked. Top with additional chocolate-covered pecan pieces, if desired. Let cool ten minutes on the pans before removing to a rack.
These cookies are best served slightly warm, but will keep well covered at room temperature for up to a week.
1. If you cannot find chocolate-covered pecans, chopped chocolate-covered almonds will work well here.
2. I use Kraft Caramels.