My late grandmother left stacks and stacks of Town & Country Magazine around the house, so I became acquainted with James Villas at an early age. Villas was Town & Country’s Food & Wine editor for over 30 years, and while I didn’t care much for wine when I was 12, I enjoyed looking at Town & Country’s recipes because at the time, they seemed quite exotic.
Years later, when I was old enough to drive myself to the library, I discovered James Villas had written several cookbooks. During my twenties, I checked his cookbooks out from libraries near wherever I was living and read them at night. It was like reconnecting with an old friend.
My favorite of all James Villas books is My Mother’s Southern Desserts which he co-wrote with his mother Martha Pearl. With its anecdotes and culinary tips from Martha, it’s about as fun to read as it is to cook from – especially if you like Southern style desserts.
I haven’t cooked from a James Villas book in a while, but a couple of days ago KAnn sent me this Villas recipe. It’s a chocolate chip cookie made with brown sugar….and as The Sweet Potato Queens say “Do I really even need to tell you? Dark, of course!”
So this is an all dark brown sugar cookie and it’s a little different. It’s dense, firm, soft (not cakey) and rich in flavor. For the cookie in the photo, I used the new 72% cacao discs from Ghirardelli, but any type will do. Also, I think the pecans are mandatory. That’s just my opinion of course, but there’s something about the brown sugar, pecans and chocolate that all work together.
Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
6 oz unsalted butter (12 tablespoons), room temperature
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (7.8 oz)
3/4 t baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 C semisweet chips
1 1/4 C pecan pieces, toasted
Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until well blended. Add
milk, vanilla, and egg, beat till well blended.
Combine dry ingredients together in a second bowl and add to creamed
mixture. Stir till just blended.
Add chips and nuts. Bake @ 375 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes.
(Ungreased cookie sheets) Cool slightly on baking sheet then transfer
About 6 dozen cookies.