Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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.

James Villas Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

6 oz unsalted butter (12 tablespoons), room temperature
1 1/4 cups 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 cups semisweet chips
1 1/4 cups 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 in a second bowl and add to creamed
mixture. Stir till just blended.

Add chips and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto foil lined baking sheets and bake at 375 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack.

About 6 dozen cookies.

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  1. says

    Great looking cookie! I haven’t made a dark brown sugar cookie in a while, but this looks like just the one. With fresh fall pecans coming in soon, its the perfect time for these. Usually in the fall I’ll order a bag of in shell pecans and shell as many as I need for a recipe. It is extra work, and I only do it in the fall, but to me the flavor of fresh shelled pecans far exceeds that of the store bought shelled variety.

  2. says

    I JUST finished reading the latest issue of Town & Country Magazine earlier this morning, no joke – quite ironic!

    Dense, firm, soft, and rich?? I’ll take a dozen, please!!

  3. says

    Lisa, I think you will like them. The pecans definitely make the cookie. As Rita mentioned, they are similar to chocolate pecan pie but in cookie form.

    Veggiegirl, do you mean the one with Kelly Klein on it? I keep meaning to buy that one.

    BB, looks like our cookies our similar but different. We were both on the same wavelength, though.

  4. says

    I came home from church today, got out to sticks of butter to soften because I want to make ccc’s, then fixed the kids lunch and sat down at my computer and find these! Yum. I’m telling you, great minds…Baking Blondie, too. Hmmm, which to try? I want them all! 😉

  5. KAnn says

    Yours look just fabulous, Anna, and I am really pleased that you liked the recipe. I just love my Villas cookbooks…the three he wrote with his mother read just like novels to me with all the comments, advice and family anecdotes and photos. This recipe was from My Mother’s Southern Kitchen but I love My Mother’s Southern Desserts the most probably, too. I first tried this recipe four years ago for a large family gathering/reunion in Breckenridge. It just sounded good and they were!

  6. katherine says

    These are super! Love the texture and it’s a nice change from a traditional choc chip cookie.

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