Monday, September 16, 2013

Chewy Chocolate Chip & Toasted Pecan Cookies

Soft and chewy, these decadent Chocolate Chip & Toasted Pecan Cookies are absolutely delicious and completely addictive. Made with butter, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, eggs, flour, cornstarch and baking soda plus chocolate chips and toasted nuts, this recipe was inspired by Nestlés original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, which was created in the 1930s at the Toll House Inn, owned by Ruth and Kenneth Wakefield and located near Boston in the town of Whitman, Massachusetts.

Ruth Wakefield

The original Toll House Inn, in Whitman Massachusetts

The Toll House Inn cookbook, originally published in 1939

There, Ruth would prepare delicious, home-cooked meals for her guests, including her original recipe for Butter Drop Cookies, where she improvised one morning by adding a bar of chocolate cut into little chunks. Expecting them to melt, the chocolate held its shape and softened to a delicately creamy texture. The resulting creation became very popular at the Inn, and soon, Ruth's recipe was published in a Boston newspaper, as well as other papers in the New England area. A favourite was born — the world's first chocolate chip cookie! 

Chewy Chocolate Chip & Toasted Pecan Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted if desired

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. To toast the pecans, spread them on a cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until they begin to smell nutty and start to darken slightly. Let cool before chopping or coarsely grinding to your preferred consistency. 

Using a large bowl or standing mixer, combine the melted butter to the two sugars and stir until combined. Add the salt, vanilla, eggs and blend until smooth. Stir in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and mix until a soft dough forms. Then fold in the chocolate chips and chopped pecans. Drop by rounded tablespoon, or roll into little balls, about the size of a golf ball, and place onto the baking sheet, spaced about 2-inches apart. Top the cookies with additional chocolate and pecans, so they look beautiful once plated. If you have room in your refrigerator, chilling the cookies for an hour before baking will ensure they all bake at the same size and don't spread too much. 

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they become golden brown around the edges, but a little soft in the centre. A few more minutes of baking time may be required if the cookies are slightly larger. Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Once fully cooled, the cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week or so...if they last that long!