Chocolate Pecan Truffle Cookies

I owed my friend Charlotte some cookies and her only request was chocolate and pecans. I browsed through my recipes and decided to go sinfully decadent with truffle cookies. These are soft cookies with such a rich flavor of chocolate from the melted to the added chips. I’ve got to say the addition of toasted, chopped pecans to them are a real treat.

I used Ghirardelli bittersweet and semi-sweet baking chips in this recipe. I love the taste and texture they add to the cookies.

I really like the flakes in Maldon Sea Salt, so that it what I used to sprinkle on top. A crisp bite of salt in each large flake, so you use a smaller amount than with a less coarse sea salt.

Darkly rich with a soft texture, these are definitely the cookie for chocolate lovers.

Chocolate Pecan Truffle Cookies

3 cups bittersweet morsels
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup semisweet morsels, for mixing into the prepared cookie dough
2 -3 tablespoons coarse sea salt

In a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and let chocolate cool slightly.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt to combine. Set aside

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and eggs. Slowly add the warm chocolate mixture, mixing to combine. Add vanilla extract and mix. Add in flour mixture. Cool for a few minutes (if batter is too warm, chocolate chips will melt). Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Chill for 10-15 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Scoop rounded tablespoons of batter and place on baking tray. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with a pinch of flaked sea salt. Bake for approximately 7-8 minutes until the outside looks slightly cracked. Do not over bake cookies because they will continue to bake as they cool once removed from the oven. Cookies will be soft and gooey in the center.

Hot Fudge Sauce

How much do I love chocolate? To borrow from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet Number 43: “Let me count the ways. I love it to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.”

No jar of hot fudge from the supermarket is enough to fill that space. That’s why I make the sauce for my ice cream sundaes about a quart at a time.

It is easy to warm and drizzle over ice cream or put into milkshakes or pour over bananas or just eat off the spoon. Yummy!

Hot Fudge Sauce

2 cups heavy cream
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon fine salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken in small pieces
1 cup sifted high-fat Dutch-process cocoa like Droste (sift, then measure)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In medium saucepan, combine cream, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and let sit 1 minute. Whisk to completely incorporate. Add cocoa and whisk until no lumps remain.

Return pan to low heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, about 20 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm.

Store in a mason jar in the refrigerator. To reheat sauce, microwave a small portion, about 30 seconds until warm.

Chocolate Praline Cream Cheese Frosting

I had a craving for carrot cake cupcakes (the only way I like carrots!) but I also really wanted a hit of chocolate, so I’ve updated my earlier recipe with a tasty alteration. This praline cream cheese frosting will go on more baked goods, too.

Check out the original recipe for the cupcakes here HERE.

I replace 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract with 2 teaspoons of Praline Liquor. It really raises the frosting to the next level, with a heady perfume of pecans.

These updated carrot cake cupcakes are very, very good.

Chocolate Praline Cream CheeseFrosting

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup good quality cocoa (I used Droste)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (or substitute 2 teaspoons Praline liquor)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans

Add all ingredients, except nuts, into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy. Stir in the nuts. Spread frosting on top of each cupcake after it has cooled.

Oatmeal Pecan Cookies

I come from a long line of oatmeal cookies aficionados. I usually make a few batches for my folks any time I spend more than a weekend at their house. This time, is no exception. I made this batch with pecans instead of raisins.

Sometimes raisins can be a little too much sweet. In contrast, these cookies are nutty and delicious.

Oatmeal Pecan Cookies

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
3 cups old fashioned oats (not instant)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Cream together the butter and the sugars. Add in the eggs one at a time. Add in the vanilla and beat to combine. Add flour mixture and mix well. Add in pecans and oats. Stir well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Dulce de Leche Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

Michelle and I were feeling adventurous this holiday so we kicked up the traditional pecan pie a notch. I had seen an episode of Pati’s Mexican Table where she combined Mexican flavors with American classic foods and Dulce de Leche Chocolate Pecan Pie was one of her recipes. It looked good but a little sweeter than my tastes run, so we switched out the crust and made a couple other minor adjustments.

You lose a little of the top to the foil but leaving it off makes the pie darken too much. Here it is perfectly browned.

Decadently good with the caramel adding a lovely flavor with the toasted pecans. As my friend Charlotte learned, don’t go with too big of slices as it is so very rich it will be hard to finish in one sitting.

We served it with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream. Recipe HERE.

Dulce de Leche Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

Dark Chocolate Pie Crust

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons cold butter
ice water and vodka

For the Dulce de Leche Caramel Chocolate Pecan Filling

3 eggs
1 can Dulce de Leche Caramel Sauce (we used Eagle Brand)
½ cup dark brown sugar
⅓ cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
⅓ cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

First make the crust. Put the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Break up the shortening and butter into smaller pieces and drop into the processor bowl. Pulse maybe 10 times more until the mixture is crumbly and the butter and shortening are well distributed.

While the machine is running, drizzle in the 1 1/2 tablespoons ice water and 1 1/2 tablespoon vodka (don’t worry, the alcohol cooks off), and stop just when the dough comes together. Open the machine and feel the dough, if it comes together when pressed between your fingers, it’s ready. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and bring together with your hands into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a cocoa’d surface (instead of flour). Fit the dough into a 9″ pie pan that you have coated in shortening. Prettify the edges. Put the crust back in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

For the filling – In a bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until foamy. Add in the Dulce de Leche caramel sauce, brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter and salt and whisk until it is well blended. Stir in the chopped pecans and chocolate and mix well.

Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Pour the filling into pie crust. Cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake for 50 minutes with the foil on. Then remove and continue to cook until the pie is set and the top is lightly browned, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Cinnamon Pecan Meringues

I was feeling a craving for something cinnamony and pecany and decided to try something I found in an old recipe pamphlet of holiday desserts I picked up at a flea market. It didn’t have either an oven temp or a time – just the instruction to bake until done. Luckily, I’ve done meringues before so I had a method to use.

Good thing, too that I had a lot of pecans – Michelle’s mom had collected over 5 five gallon buckets of pecans from the tree in their front yard that we shelled and toasted and packaged up to be stored in the freezer, ready to be used.

This recipe does take a while – you are whipping the egg whites for a while and the bake time is at least two hours. Your patience is rewarded, though. These meringues have excellent flavor and crunch.

Cinnamon Pecan Meringues

6 egg whites
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 lb pecans

Toast pecans and then pulse in a food processor until ground. Set aside.

Whip egg whites and salt until stiff. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time – it should take about 14 minutes to add it all in. Mix in cinnamon. Fold in ground pecans.

Place mixture in a piping bag (or a ziploc bag with one corner cut out) and pipe out dollops on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 175 for at least 2 hours. Finished meringues will release from the pan and be crunchy throughout. Turn off the oven and let gradually cool in the oven as the oven cools.

Store in an airtight container.

You can’t pop just one!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Another weekend, another peanut butter and chocolate craving. This time, I’m going to try thumbprint cookies.

Now, the nice lady from whom I got the recipe made these teeny, tiny divots and used only the barest amount of filling per cookie. Not me. The first thing I did when making them was double the filling recipe. Even though my cookies crack a little more from the deeper indention, it is worth it to have the extra filling.

I’m out of corn syrup so I did a one for one substitution with cane syrup. Had I wanted a slightly more neutral flavor, I could have used agave nectar instead.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies:
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon praline pecan liquor (or vanilla)

Chocolate Filling:
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking bars
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons cane syrup (or corn syrup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the peanut butter, egg and liquor (or vanilla), mixing well after each addition. Gradually add in the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into 1 inch balls. Place at least 1 inch apart on two ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes. Use a pestle or the back of a spoon to make indentions in each of the cookies. Switch and rotate pans when returning to the oven. Bake for 6 minutes more. When you remove from the oven, you may need to remake the indentions. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt together over a water bath the chocolate, butter, and syrup. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Use a spoon to fill each indention with the chocolate. Let the chocolate filling cool and harden completely – you can put the cookies in the fridge to speed that process up.

Store in an airtight container.