Skip to main content

Shirley O. Corriher's roasted pecan chocolate chip cookies recipe


Shirley O. Corriher/Atlanta Journal Constitution 2009. 

It’s finally cooling off in Southern California, and the cookie sheets are calling. This chocolate chip cookie recipe from Shirley O. Corriher is not your average rearrangement of ingredients – this is a new recipe. Toasted, buttered and salted pecans fill in for some of the flour. A touch of molasses replaces the brown sugar. The dough can be aged for up to 36 hours to improve flavor and texture. And with two cups of chocolate chips, you can’t go wrong. 

If you’ve not bought a copy of “BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking,” you’re missing out on a fascinating cookbook and fabulous recipes. Corriher has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Vanderbilt University and she puts her “better baking thorough science” philosophy to work in this 2009 James Beard Foundation Book Awards winner. 

This recipe is from “BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking” by Shirley O. Corriher. ISBN 1416560785.


3 cups pecans

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

1 tsp. salt, divided

2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ cups granulated white sugar

1 tsp. unsulfured molasses

1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs 

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Arrange a shelf in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. 

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and roast until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. 

Remove the nuts from the oven and pour into a cool metal bowl to prevent over-browning on the hot pan. 

While the nuts are hot, toss with 2 Tbsp. of the butter and ¼ tsp. salt.

When the nuts are completely cool, place 1½ cups of the pecans in a food processor with the steel blade and process with quick pulses until very finely chopped to a coarse meal. The nuts will chop unevenly, so do not try to get every nut finely chopped, but watch the overall batch carefully — do not let the nuts turn into pecan butter.

In a bowl, beat the pecan meal, flour, baking soda, and the remaining ¾ tsp. salt. Set aside.

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining 1 cup butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses and vanilla. 

On the lowest speed, beat in the eggs. 

Beat in the flour-pecan meal mixture in several batches.

Coarsely chop the remaining 1½ cups pecans. 

Stir the pecans and chocolate chips into the dough. Work in with your hands, if necessary. Shape into several logs about 1½ inches in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 36 hours. 

Turn up the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment sprayed with no-stick spray. 

Slice the dough into ½-inch slices. Keep unbaked dough refrigerated. 

Place on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake until the edges just begin to color, 9 to 11 minutes.

Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool for 2 minutes, and then transfer cookies to the wire rack to finish cooling. 

Cook’s notes: 

  • Maybe it was just my choice of knives, but I found getting clean slices of cookie dough almost impossible. I wound up breaking chunks of dough off the refrigerated log, rolling them into balls and then flattening them. It worked fine. 
  • Be sure to allow the nuts to cool, or the pecan-butter problem Corriher refers to is almost sure to happen. 
  • Corriher recommends using a two-pan system with sheets of release foil. The parchment worked very well without no-stick spray. I have my own 3-sheet system. Old habits are hard to break! 
  • Treat yourself to a copy of this book. It is fascinating and quickly becoming my go-to baking reference. I love that it lies flat on my counter top. All cookbooks should have a binding that lies flat without breaking the spine. 

More information: 

Nothing beats a chewy chocolate chip cookie

Here’s a charming video of cookbook author and food scientist Shirley O. Corriher solving the case of the topless blueberry muffins and other baking mysteries. 



  • Don 5 years ago

    It must be the knife. For this kind of project, I always use my Shun serrated bread knife and have no trouble at all cutting through cold cookie dough.

  • Hilary 5 years ago

    Thanks Don. I'll try that next time :) I always grab my Japanese cheff knife - bad habi, I know!

  • Erika - LA Cooking Examiner 5 years ago

    Aha - now I know why Shirley is always so informative when she joins Alton Brown on "Good Eats" - she's a food chemist!

  • Emily Homrok - Philadelphia Easy Meals Examiner 5 years ago

    Yum! I linked to your column in my latest article, about apple empanadas :)

  • Hilary 5 years ago

    Thank you Erika and Emily. Yes, isn't she amazing? She has that southern soft-spoken charm and she really knows her stuff. I would love to have a baking day with Shirley! And thanks for the link. Emily. I love apple empanadas. I'm going to look right now!