Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies (with Brown Butter)

These dark chocolate pecan cookies combine some of baking’s most popular ingredients like brown sugar, nutty brown butter, cinnamon, dark chocolate, and pecans. Certainly a line-up that few cookie lovers can resist! Browning the butter is a quick extra step requiring the stove, but the flavor is unparalleled. If it’s not the flavors and add-ins that reel you in, it’s the soft centers and slightly crisp edges. These cookies have it all!

brown butter chocolate and pecan cookies

COOKIE MADNESS!

At the time I’m publishing this recipe, I have 250 cookie recipes on my website, plus a cookbook with 75 cookie recipes (a small handful from the site are published in that book), plus about 15 cookie recipes published in my 1st cookbook. I also publish a 2 week Christmas cookie countdown each year called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. You’d think I’d be tired of testing new cookie recipes after 10 years of this madness, but let me tell you– the cookie mania has only just begun.

Today I’m serving up dark chocolate pecan cookies, a new cookie recipe that was an instant hit with my taste testers. With so many tested cookie recipes in my back pocket, it was hard to choose the starting point for this dark chocolate pecan flavor. Should we use my regular chocolate chips cookies and add pecans? Or try a rendition of these dark chocolate orange icebox cookies? I tested a few options, but ultimately decided on a brown butter cookie base. THE BEST! My recipe for brown butter toffee chocolate chip cookies was published in 2012 and has remained a favorite ever since.

And now it tastes remarkable with cinnamon, dark chocolate, and pecans!


Tell Me About These Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies

  • Flavor: Brown sugar, nutty brown butter, and a hint of cinnamon add warm, inviting flavors that are always welcome during the fall and winter seasons. You’ll also enjoy plenty of rich dark chocolate and buttery pecans, which not only add more flavor but varying texture as well. If you gravitate toward dark chocolate more than sweeter milk chocolate, you’ll adore these cookies.
  • Texture: Each bite is loaded with crunchy pecans! The centers of the cookies are soft-baked and the edges crisp up beautifully. If you want pools of melty chocolate throughout the cookies, use quality chocolate. Chocolate chips contain stabilizers which prevent them from melting in the oven. Instead, reach for Ghirardelli or Bakers brand bittersweet chocolate bars– they’re sold in the baking aisle. I use Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars in this recipe.
  • Ease: Browning the butter and chilling the cookie dough in the refrigerator certainly add time, but neither are difficult steps. Almost immediately after browning the butter, begin mixing the dough together. Since we’re using melted (browned) butter, you do not need an electric mixer– a whisk and rubber spatula do the trick. After the dough comes together, chill it before scooping and baking the cookies. Without time in the refrigerator, this cookie dough will spread into greasy puddles.

stack of brown butter cookies made with dark chocolate and pecans

Learn About Browning Butter

Brown butter is simply melted butter with a nutty, almost caramelized flavor brought on by gently cooking it on the stove. If you’ve never browned butter before, take a minute to review my How to Brown Butter guide. In less than 10 minutes, the butter sizzles, foams, and cooks into a vastly flavored ingredient you can use in today’s dark chocolate pecan cookies, brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies, apple blondies, and brown butter pound cake. For more uses and all of my success tips, see the How to Brown Butter guide linked above.


Overview: How to Make Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies

The full printable recipe is below, but let me show you some step-by-step photos so you know what to expect. Chop up your chocolate into bite-size pieces and give the pecans a rough chop, too. Have both ready to go.

Success tip: Brown the butter in a light-colored skillet or pot if you have one. If not, check the butter’s doneness by spooning some into a glass or white bowl.

brown butter in a pan with a silver spoon

Combine the wet & dry ingredients, and then chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator.

Order of chilling/shaping dough: You may notice that we scoop the brown butter toffee chocolate chip cookies dough into balls before chilling and that’s because the toffee chips make the dough extra crumbly. After chilling, it’s pretty difficult to roll/scoop that dough into uniform balls. Today’s recipe, which uses a similar dough base, isn’t nearly as crumbly so it is best to chill the dough before shaping.

chopped chocolate bars and bowl of cookie dough with chopped chocolate and pecans mixed in

cookie dough balls on baking sheet

brown butter dark chocolate pecan cookies on cooling rack

I hope you enjoyed learning about how this recipe came to life. It’s always so much fun to publish new cookie recipes!

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brown butter chocolate and pecan cookies

Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies (with Brown Butter)

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (includes chilling)
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 36 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These soft, yet crisp dark chocolate pecan cookies combine some of baking’s most popular ingredients like brown sugar, nutty brown butter, cinnamon, dark chocolate, and pecans. For best success, review recipe notes before starting and don’t skip chilling the cookie dough.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (230g; 16 Tbspunsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100ggranulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (313gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • two 4-ounce semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate bars (226g total), chopped (about 1 and 1/2 cups)*
  • 1 cup (130g) roughly chopped pecans*

Instructions

  1. Brown the butter: Set out a medium heat-proof bowl because you’ll need it at the end of this step. Slice the butter into Tablespoon-size pieces and place in a light-colored skillet or large pot. Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning. (See note if using a dark skillet or pot.) Melt the butter over medium heat and stir or whisk constantly. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring/whisking. After 5-7 minutes, the butter will begin browning and you’ll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan. It will have a nutty aroma. Once browned, remove from heat immediately and pour into the bowl, including any solids that have formed on the bottom of the pan. (You want those solids for flavor.) Cool brown butter for 5 minutes. Don’t cool longer than that because the butter will begin to thicken and, as a result, the cookie dough will be difficult to mix and its texture will be very crumbly.
  2. Whisk the brown sugar and granulated sugar into the brown butter and then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the chopped chocolate and pecans, then stir together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. Dough will be greasy, thick, and even slightly crumbly.
  3. Cover cookie dough and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours and up to 3 days before baking. (You can also freeze the dough balls, see Freezing Instructions below.) If chilling for longer than 2 hours, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for at least 20-30 minutes before rolling and baking in the next step. The cookie dough is quite firm otherwise.
  4. Towards the end of chill time, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  5. Roll or scoop the dough into balls, 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each. I recommend a medium cookie scoop. Place 3 inches apart on the baking sheets and bake for 13-14 minutes or until the edges appear set. (Tip: If cookies aren’t spreading by the 10 minute mark, remove pan from the oven, carefully bang it on the counter to help induce some spreading, and then return it to the oven to finish baking.)
  6. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked cookies freeze well up to three months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well up to three months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Here’s how to freeze cookie dough.
  2. Chocolate: You can certainly use 1 and 1/2 cups (or anywhere between 220-270g) chocolate chips, but I recommend chopped baking chocolate. Baking chocolate is sold in the baking aisle as 4 ounce bars, so you need 2. I strongly recommend Ghirardelli brand and I like their “60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars.” I’m not working with this company– this chocolate is simply one of my favorites for cookies. I also like Bakers brand. Feel free to use semi-sweet, bittersweet, milk chocolate, or white chocolate in this recipe.
  3. Pecans: I always use unsalted raw pecans. If you love salty sweet cookies, you can use salted/roasted pecans. Can I toast the pecans? You don’t have to, but you can for added flavor. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spread the chopped pecans on top and toast for 7-8 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool before adding to cookie dough.
  4. Can I leave out the nuts? Yes, absolutely. I wouldn’t add more chocolate in its place– simply leave out the nuts. If you’d like to add another add-in, try 1 cup (about 140g) dried cranberries or dried cherries or 1 cup (150g) Heath Bar Bits O’ Brickle English Toffee.
  5. Darker skillet/pot when browning butter: I recommend using a light-colored skillet or large pot when browning butter so you can see when the butter is done. (It’s only a quick few seconds between browned butter and burnt butter.) Towards the end of 5-7 minutes, check for doneness by spooning some butter into a glass bowl to determine if it has browned.

Keywords: dark chocolate pecan cookies

Cookie Baking Success Tips

The following articles are helpful if you’re looking for best cookie baking practices and more of my success tips.

  1. How to Prevent Cookies from Over-Spreading
  2. 5 Cookie Baking Success Tips
  3. How to Properly Measure Ingredients
  4. 10 Best Cookie Baking Tools
  5. How to Freeze Cookie Dough

 

39 Comments

  1. These look wonderful! Since I don’t care for cinnamon with chocolate, could I leave out the cinnamon? If so, should I replace it with anything?

    I thoroughly enjoy your recipes! The team at Sally’s Baking Addiction does a great job. I’ve been baking for 40 years but have learned so much. Thanks to you I have started weighing my ingredients and also making sure things are at room temperature when I bake and what a difference these things make! Thank you and I look forward to more baking with Sally’s recipes!!

    1. Beth, what a kind and thoughtful comment!! It is very much appreciated and I’m so happy that you’ve been learning a lot when visiting my website. I do have a wonderful team and couldn’t test recipes or run this business without them! To answer your question, yes, you can leave out the cinnamon. No need to replace with anything.

  2. I cannot wait to make these! I started adding some cinnamon to my regular chocolate chip
    cookie so when I saw this combo, I got so excited! These look like the perfect cool weather cookie and I have already shared the recipe with my family! I will definitely be making them soon! Thanks for another wonderful recipe, I always look forward to getting back in the kitchen when I see them!

  3. I want to reach into my screen and eat these…. I have some Guittard extra dark chips that I’ve been saving for something special, I think this is the one

    1. The perfect spot for that delicious chocolate!

  4. You said you like baking chocolate. Would a bar of dark chocolate which doesn’t indicate it’s “baking” still work?

    1. Definitely. My grocery store carries specialty chocolate bars in the candy aisle and I’ve chopped them up for cookies several times in the past– no problem at all.

  5. Ooh, perfect! Just what I need to help me celebrate my 40th tomorrow – what a thoughtful present, Sally 😉 I have a backlog of new recipes to try but this might jump the queue. May have to substitute walnuts for pecans – will I regret skipping the cinnamon as I ran out yesterday?

    1. Happy birthday! You can definitely leave out the cinnamon. You’ll lose a bit of flavor, but all the excuse to make them again when you buy more!

  6. Your recipes are the best. Your Red Velvet Cake recipe is the best one out there. It’s my go to recipe. I have some butter pecan extract I use when I make my Butter Pecan Pancake Syrup. Can I use it in this cookie recipe? And if so, how much would you suggest?

    1. Hi Albert, thank you so much. I’m sure that addition would be fine. Without testing it myself, I can’t give the best recommendation, but I would start small with maybe 1/2 or 3/4 teaspoon when you add the vanilla extract.

      1. Can I use dairy free stick margarine for this recipe? I never tried to brown it.

  7. Hi Sally, can I substitute the pecans with walnuts?

    1. Absolutely– same amount.

  8. Absolutely delicious!!! I just made these and am enjoying a warm cookie as I type. I used Baker’s bittersweet chocolate bar (68%). I’ve never made brown butter before, but it was very easy, especially with the video Sally has on the brown butter recipe page.

  9. These cookies are delicious!! They are rich but not too sweet. I added a little extra pecans because I love nuts in cookies, also I did a combination of semi-sweet chocolate and bittersweet…very nice balance. I highly recommend making these cookies…you will not be disappointed!! They will not last long in your “cookie jar” !

  10. Bethany Schiefelbein says:

    Delicious! I toasted the pecans in a cast iron pan first. Everything turned out perfectly. I made these to satisfy my 40-weeks-pregnant-with-number-four craving and they hit the spot!

  11. I wanted to ask about your note about leaving out the nuts where
    you suggested another add-in, dried cranberries or dried cherries. Do you leave out the pecans entirely or do you substitute the dried fruit for the nuts? Or, can you have both?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marg, you can add any combination of nuts and dried cherries/cranberries that you like! Keep the total to one cup (for example, you could add 1/2 cup pecans and 1/2 cup dried cherries). Hope you love them!

  12. Hi Sally, will be trying this out today! Would also like to make a suggestion, if you could include the brand of chocolate used for us beginners to have an idea/starting point on what to look for when we go shopping for ingredients. I always end up staying soooo long in the chocolate aisle deciding which one to get

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We love to use Ghirardelli brand (we like their “60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars”) and also Bakers brand. Hope this helps!

  13. Only 1 word to describe these cookies……..Outstanding!
    I did have to leave out the pecans but I have to tell you; browning the butter gave them cookies such a Wonderful and Divine taste.
    Adding cinnamon is nothing new for me, as I have always added just a touch of cinnamon to my chocolate chip cookies.
    Keep these wonderful coming.
    Enjoy your day and have a Wonderful weekend

  14. Hi Sally,

    Any replacement/ alternative for eggs?

    Thanks

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kp, We haven’t tested this recipe with egg substitutes, so can’t give any advice. Let us know if you try any! Here are all of our egg free baking recipes if you are interested in browsing there.

  15. Just tried these last night. They were absolutely delicious. Will definitely make again. I did find it easier to chill the dough slightly and then form it into logs and then freeze them. Then I can just slice and bake when needed. Thank you for the great recipe.

  16. What a great recipe! I love the warm combination of the brown butter and the cinnamon. Chocolate Chip cookies are my absolute favorite dessert and this recipe does not disappoint, especially with the big pieces of pecan and dark chocolate. Yum!

  17. I was in the middle of mixing when I realized I didn’t have enough all-purpose flour to add! I went back and forth between substituting bread flour, cake flour, or whole-wheat flour to make up the missing cup. Before I tell you what I went with – which one would have you suggested to help in a pinch?

    (dough is chilling in the fridge now)

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kelly, none are ideal, but bread flour would likely be best for an extra chewy texture!

      1. I went with bread flour! They are definitely a bit on the chewier side – but still delicious! Guess I have to make them again! No one in my family will complain.

  18. I have used brown butter in cookie recipes before so I had to try this one. First let me say that the cinnamon provides a little something..extra. You know there’s something extra tasty in there, but not sure what. Then the dark chocolate..until last year, I would have skipped this recipe because I “don’t like dark chocolate”. Then after much insistence, I made cookies for my son that were dark chocolate. I’ve been lied to my whole life. Dark chocolate is really, really good. Chopping a chocolate bar does exactly what she says. It creates little pools of ooey, gooey chocolate in there. Don’t wear white pants, or shirt while eating. The pecans add to the nut flavor the brown butter creates. I had a couple go-to cookie recipes, and this one just topped the list!! Thank you!!

  19. Thanks for the amazing recipe, definitely gonna give it a try! How many cookies can we make with this recipe?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Thy, This recipe yields 36 cookies. Enjoy!

  20. New favorite cookie recipe

  21. Your recipes never disappoint. I toasted the pecans…this recipe is amazing. I did leave out the cinnamon. I love being able to freeze the dough and bake them later for that special treat, which is every day. Thanks again for a wonderful recipe!

  22. As soon as I saw this recipe I said Must Do! Amazingly great cookies, easy to make and super delicious. I used Trader Joe semi-sweet choc chunks, toasted pecans. The whole batch disappeared fast!

  23. My friend and I both made these and for both of us they didn’t spread at all, even after banging the pan! Just stayed like dough balls mostly. Any advice?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cameron, how did you measure your flour? Be sure to spoon and level, otherwise too much flour could be the culprit. Also feel free to gently push the cookies down with the back of a spoon during bake time to encourage spreading. You might find this post on how to improve your next batch of cookies helpful — see under #2 — “What if cookies AREN’T spreading?” Thank you for giving this recipe a try!

      1. We both measured by weight! Thanks for the article referral

  24. Easily some of the best cookies I’ve ever had! I browned the butter in a wok which worked out great especially since I made a double batch. Because I only had salted roasted pecans I put less than is in the recipe but subbed w more dark chocolate and even some caramelized peanuts. A huge hit with everyone who has tried to so far.

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