Pecan and Penuche Cookies with Dark Chocolate
Bringing together a favorite fudge with a toasted pecan cookie and then drizzling the whole thing with chocolate is no longer a fantasy…I made these Toasted Pecan and Penuche Cookies with Dark Chocolate come to life!
When I was approached about participating in an opportunity to share a baking fantasy my first thought was simple. I fantasize that my cookies will not go flat; seriously that’s my ultimate baking goal. It is the lament of many bakers in this neck of the woods…or rather this giraffe’s neck of the woods. We are up in the air and that Mile High business can wreck havoc on baked goods.
I could be the star player at cakewrecks.com with all of my years of issues but time and experience have taught me a couple of things. First. Don’t stop baking. Second. Roll with the punches. Third. Enjoy it no matter what. Sometimes easier said than done; all I want is a cookie that doesn’t look like someone let the air out of it’s tires…is that too much to ask?
Yes, probably so. The real truth is I can eventually get it right but the variants are many and my biggest accomplishment is to know how to fix’em, not how to fold’em. Still, I wanted a cookie that stood up. That didn’t look like Mike Tyson had pummeled it into the ground. With that in mind I was ever so careful with this treasure and even made them two ways.
First I did my typical; taking a divot out of the baking powder with my pinkie; our baked goods typically rise too fast in the thinner air and they do not set fast enough…which results in that falling business during the second half of their bake. Cutting back on leavening can help but with cookies it’s not always a given that this method will be best; they are tricky little buggars.
My second go round I use a simple method suggested to me by a local professional baker and that is to raise the oven temp by 10 degrees. This step doesn’t affect the rise but helps to cook the dough quicker; hoping to offset the ultimate fail, i.e. a flat cookie.
Which worked better? The difference was slight so I hesitate to declare a winner but if pushed I would have to opt for the higher temperature method. Of course opting to cover them with some decadent penuche (fudge made with brown sugar and no chocolate) and then drizzle them with chocolate is one disguise a high altitude girl could learn to love…who cares if they’re flat?!!
By the way? My recipes are always published with ‘flatlanders’ in mind; I make adjustments to them from my kitchen in the sky; those components are measured with all of up in mind!
I would be remiss if I left you thinking that my fantasies are just limited to scientific experiment. While not wanting to create a kitchen sink cookie (no Oreo center or salted anything and not even any booze!) I did want to try something that brought together several elements I’ve learned over the years that I love.
Browned butter. OMG yes. Diamond Pecans that are toasted. How did I EVER enjoy them without that step? A Penuche AND Chocolate garnish? That too. OK, it might have seemed a bit kitchen sinkish but let me tell you…I loved, loved, LOVED them. Yes, a bit decadent, but they held their shape and their promise of goodness and delivered on my fantasy.
Now if I can only remember exactly what I did to make them work for me here each and every time! Ah…the beauty of altitude…it really takes an attitude! These turned out just perfectly and tasted like the divine decadence I was hoping for…I know what I’m making for friends and family for holiday treats!
PIN ‘Toasted Pecan and Penuche Cookies with Dark Chocolate’
Toasted Pecan and Penuche Cookies with Dark Chocolate
- ½ cup butter browned (see Preparation steps below)
- 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1-1/4 cups chopped pecans toasted
For Penuche (Caramel):
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup half and half
- ½ cup confectioner's sugar
For Chocolate Sauce:
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- 2 Tbsp butter
To Brown Butter:
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; whisking constantly until the solids start to brown.
- Watch carefully and remove from heat once the solids have turned a nice warm brown. Be careful; burned is not what you want!
- Refrigerate the butter until it firms up to a soft butter stage.
To Make the Cookies:
- In a large bowl, cream the browned butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat in thoroughly.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and add gradually to the creamed mixture and mix well.
- Add the chopped pecans and mix until well incorporated.
- Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place at least 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets; flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass.
- Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Cool and remove with a spatula to sheets of waxed paper on a separate cookie sheet.
To Drizzle with Penuche:
- Bring brown sugar and cream to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from the heat and whisk in confectioners' sugar, stirring until smooth.
- Using a fork, drizzle while warm over cookies; if mixture starts to firm up; return to heat and warm before continuing.
To Drizzle with Dark Chocolate:
- Combine chocolate and butter in a small pan over low heat. Melt chocolate and butter and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cookies using a fork. Refrigerate briefly to firm up drizzled caramel and chocolate.
- Remove from waxed paper and store in an airtight container.
Well, all those comments are from 2013. Here am I six years later. I never saw where/when you put in the 1 cup of brown sugar, only the 1/2 into the butter I think. If I ever try these I’d be trying to cut down on the sugar….but not by THAT much!!
Sure hope to hear back from you!
I was worried when I saw your comment but I needn’t have been. I looked at the recipe and both the cookie and the caramel topping include brown sugar and the directions also indicate when to use it. Maybe check again because it’s there!
Ok barb everything was going real well. I browned the butte perfectly, refrigerated it. Creamed brown sugar with and then added the egg and vanilla. Then the flour. It does not hold together to even begin to add the nuts and make balls. What is wrong. I was looking so forward to these!
Oh my gosh…I just found this comment 2 years late! I’m making them again tomorrow; now wondering if I was just lucky the first time out of the gate! My apologies for not getting back to you; sometimes I do miss seeing a comment.
These do look divine and decadent! They need to be in my kitchen! Honestly, with the issues you have to deal with because of the high altitude you are in I really have to give you a lot of credit. You continue to turn out wonderful baked goods. I’m not so sure I could deal with the issues as well as you do.
These look divine! And I’m all for covering up flat cookies with more good stuff. I think that should be a rule.
Thanks Rachael! OK, I vote we make that a rule. I know I’ve got your vote. It’s done! 🙂 They are divine though I’m not sure people know what penuche is…I just know it’s wonderful stuff!
What amazing looking cookies! They have pretty much everything I love rolled into one. Yum.
Same for me Miriam…yet not too much; they really were SO good!
Oh these cookies look delicious, especially because you used brown butter!!
I know! Doesn’t brown butter make everything better?
What a perfect cookie, Barb! The penuche topping made me think of my mother making penuche at Christmas when I was a child. The recipe came from her 1950’s home economics cookbook and we looked forward to it every year. And I totally agree about toasting the pecans. It makes all the difference!
Two things – yes, toasted nuts are great. Toasting, whether it is butter OR nuts, adds another dimension of flavor, I say! And NO BOOZE! Oh my, let’s hope that will not be a trend! These cookies look divine, and I bet the good folks at Diamond are going to love them.
No new trends here…just didn’t think it would add anything beyond the other flavors that were so good together. Trust me. 🙂
Yes, in this “giraffe’s neck of the woods!” Love that! Also love the look of these cookies. There is so much going on with these flavors that I have to tell you I wouldn’t care if the cookies were flat, puffy, or just picture-perfect. All sound delicious to me!
There is a lot going on but it all went together so well. I just know putting an Oreo in the middle would have been overkill. 🙂
I’m a sucker for dark chocolate and nuts, so I will have to give these a try! So decadent!
I’ve never heard of penuche. Is that just another word for caramel sauce? Either way, the cookies look incredible Barb! The gorgeous chewy interior, the drizzled topping AND toasted pecans? Heaven in a bite! You definitely overcame the ‘flat cookie’ hazard. Thanks for the lovely recipe! x
It’s really more like caramel fudge; it semi hardens on the cookie. You can make penuche and cut it into pieces just like fudge. You said it…Heaven in a bite is perfect!
I have always wondered how to make brown butter. These look so good.
I have a post with photos I think; I’m going to find it and link to it. It’s easy…but usually the butter froths and it can be hard to see the liquid and the solids that are browning so keeping a close eye is SO important.
Barb, I love these cookies! Penuche is my favorite fudge, so of course I would pounce on a plate of penuche cookies. Toasted nuts and brown butter are just too good together. Your photos are making my tummy rumble. I’ve been learning all about high altitude baking in our cabin…definitely a challenge at times!
It is a challenge but food never tastes bad…that’s a plus huh? These are so good Hannah; my favorite cookie right now.
Call me nuts, but I love the intense flavor of roasted or toasted pecans, walnuts, peanuts – heck, basically any nut! These look like wonderful cookies. But do I need to bake them at high altitude for the recipe to work? 😉 Really super stuff – thanks!
You are nuts! Yes, you have to come here to bake or they won’t work. JUST KIDDING!! I never post a recipe with my revisions; that would be too limiting for everyone else!
There is a lot to love about this recipe. I love the browned butter and the toasted nuts. Of course the frosting is killer. And I always take a divot out, too, but never quite thought of it like that! Easy and luscious!
Thanks Abbe; we seriously loved them. I mean enough that I hid them from some people. 🙂
Barbara, these cookies sound divine… and your photographs are jaw dropping!
You are too sweet but I like it! Thanks Liz.
Wow! These cookies are incredible! The pecans, the chocolate sauce, the caramel sauce! I love them!
Thanks Tieghan…I can not deny; we LOVED them!
Did someone tell you I was a penuche freak? I don’t make it because I can’t leave it alone. 🙂 I would dance for one of these cookies. On the table, up a pole, you name it, I’d dance there for one of these. LOL
I saw your comment early on my phone and died laughing…particularly the ‘up the pole’ part. You’re on and no, I won’t forget! I’ve got the cookies covered; you bring the pole. 🙂