Pecan Mudslide Cookies Recipe

Pecan Mudslide Cookies

I spent a few days in New York City in early December to promote* my latest book project, and I happened to stay at a hotel that was very near the Chelsea Market.

I had very little free time in my schedule, but the proximity allowed me to do a little personal shopping (books, utensils, magazines), buy a few things to improvise breakfast in my room** and, moments before I was to catch a ride back to the airport, get a sandwich and a treat to eat on the plane.

The sandwich was a B.L.A.T. on sourdough from Friedmans Lunch; the treat a giant mudslide cookie from the tiny Jacques Torres stand.

What I really meant to get was a chocolate chip cookie, because Torres is one of the experts David Leite consulted for his perfect chocolate chip cookie article, and the devil on my left shoulder was hoping to persuade the angel on the right that it was all in the name of research. But they were out of those, so I simply got the other kind on offer. (As it turns out, my shoulder angel has a weakness for chocolate so he’s a bit lax when it comes to that kind of decision.)

I ended up not eating the cookie on the plane but simply brought it home, where it fed Maxence and me over the next couple of days; it was that big.

This cookie was so good, so chocolate-intense, that I credit it for helping me recover from the jetlag and travel fatigue. And because I felt I needed further assistance in that department, I looked for a recipe online. I easily found one in the New York Times archives, and it came with a leetle veedeo in which Jacques himself walks you through the process — always a bonus.

I two-fifthed the recipe, scaling it down to use 2 instead of 5 eggs, and modified it to use bittersweet chocolate only (unsweetened chocolate is not a staple of the French baker’s pantry), a little less sugar, and pecans in place of walnuts. And instead of making eight jumbo cookies, as the recipe scaling would have me do, I made sixteen of a size that is still plenty satisfying, but seemed as if it would go down better with the angel.

The trick to getting these (and many other) cookies right is to time the baking precisely so that the core of the cookie remains fudge-like, in ideal contrast with the crisper edges, the pecan pieces, and the chocolate chunks. The timing I’m giving below is perfect for my own oven, but yours is probably different, so start with a trial batch, watch the cookies closely, and make a note of the baking time that works for you.

At this point, I think I should stress how insanely chocolatey these mudslide cookies are — after all, they are more than 50% chocolate in weight. This is what makes them spectacular, but it also means that you should think carefully about the chocolate you use in them, because it will have a majority vote in the final flavor. (In Paris, affordable couverture chocolate can be obtained from G. Detou.)

And if you celebrate Valentine’s Day — I belong to category #2 so I don’t — these would certainly make your special someone feel very special.

~~~

* This involved a brief “cooking” segment on CBS’s Early Show, if you’re interested.

** I broke my own no-hotel-breakfast rule on my first morning there and ordered a so-called “seasonal fruit bowl,” only to discover that, in their world, this meant melon and berries. In December. Sheesh.

Pecan Mudslide Cookies

– 430 grams (15 ounces) high-quality bittersweet chocolate, in disks (couverture chocolate is sometimes sold that way) or roughly chopped
– 60 grams (1/2 cup) pecan halves (or walnut halves)
– 135 grams (2/3 cup) sugar (I use light unrefined cane sugar)
– 35 grams (1 1/4 ounces, about 2 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
– 2 eggs
– 50 grams (1 3/4 ounces, a scant 1/2 cup) flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Makes 16 cookies, about 45 grams (1 1/2 ounces) each.

Have ready a medium baking dish, square or rectangular, lined loosely with parchment paper (don’t worry about lining it too neatly; you just want the bottom and sides covered).

Reserve 180 grams (6 1/3 ounces) of the chocolate and set aside in a bowl with the pecan halves.

Melt the remaining chocolate in a double-boiler (i.e. a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water), stirring regularly until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. You want the batter to be super smooth.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, then add that to the previous batter, mixing until just combined.

Add the melted chocolate, mix until just combined, then add the reserved chocolate and pecans and stir them in.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it into an even-ish layer with a spatula. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes, or until firm enough to handle without it sticking to your fingers. Don’t leave it in for too long, though, or it will be too hard to shape. (If you do, just let it come up to the right temperature on the counter.)

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and line a baking sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Remove the dough from the fridge and slide the parchment paper and dough onto a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 equal pieces (a simple way to do that it to cut the dough in four vertically, then in four again horizontally).

Give each piece a somewhat rounded shape with the palms of your hands and place on the prepared baking sheet.

(At this point, you can freeze the rounds of dough for later use; freeze in a single layer before putting them in a freezer bag or container. Bake without thawing.)

Insert into the oven and bake for 15 minutes (16 if they were frozen), until the surface is just set, but still plenty soft when gently pressed in the middle. Let the cookies settle on the baking sheet for 20 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Adapted from a recipe by Jacques Torres published in the New York Times on August 11, 2003.

Cooking/baking time: 15 min

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  • http://www.charmofthecarolines.com Susan at Charm of the Carolines

    These look amazing! I can’t wait to bake some!

    Susan

  • http://www.howsweeteats.com Jessica @ How Sweet It Is

    These look absolutely sinful. I have no words!

  • http://www.j3nn.net Jenn (j3nn.net)

    These cookies look fantastic! They definitely would make a wonderful Valentine’s Day treat.

    Jenn

  • http://www.ipoderidelsole.blogspot.com/ Pia

    We have tons of almonds. Do you think it would make a good version of this cookie ?

  • http://www.georgiapellegrini.com Georgia.Pellegrini

    These cookies look positively sinful.

  • http://www.daydreamerdesserts.com Daydreamer Desserts

    Insanely chocolaty says it all… making them today!

  • http://www.wasabimon.com/ Stephanie – Wasabimon

    I’ve seen similar cookies made with no flour at all – they sell them at the farmers market and they look very similar. I’m going to have to ask them how they make their recipe, since I can’t have any gluten.

    Thanks for the nudge to talk to them. :)

  • http://croquecamille.wordpress.com Camille

    These look a lot like a cookie I used to make at work. They were called “Chocolate Chubbies” (which I found only slightly off-putting) and were a favorite of my chocolate-loving friends.

    Thanks for the reminder! I’ll have to dig up the recipe this weekend, and if I can’t find it, well, I still have yours! :)

  • http://vanillastrawberryspringfields.blogspot.com/ sugar plum

    hah….love the stori of how cookie dear flew home with ya…aint that great….

    and yeah this seems like a good cookie …a really good excellente cookie though i would sub the chocolate for milk chocolate(i know!)

  • http://bilingualbutter.blogspot.com Lucie de Bilingual Butter

    Miam! These cookies look like the perfect way to satisfy a cookie and a chocolate craving in one sitting :)

  • http://trainingtable.blogspot.com/ 12th Man

    “Seasonal” fruit means whatever fruit they have left from yesterday’s fruit platter on the continental breakfast bar.

    Great to see pecans used for something other than pralines. A most excellent nut. Although, walnuts would have upped the Omega-3s just a smidge.

    Cheers!

  • Laura

    Because this is a cooking blog- and I assume that all of you readers are creative and ingenuitive cooks yourselves, I thought to post a survey that I am administering-here on this site. I deeply covet your responses, as I am a design student working on my thesis project.

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TX3PN58

    Please and Thank you in advance for your input! :)

  • http://bewitchingkitchen.wordpress.com SallyBR

    Are couples belonging to category 1.5 allowed to enjoy these cookies?

    :-)

    They sound spectacular….

  • http://www.merisi.blogspot.com Merisi’s Vienna

    Merci for another tantalizing creation. My kids will love you for that (and I do too!).

    I sorely miss the fresh pecans available in the USA. Most pecans I have bought here were of the tired sort, not much of the original flavor left, and very expensive at that. Do you know why pecans are not being cultivated in Europe?

  • steph

    It’s exactly what I needed today. The dough is in the fridge and will be baked in just a few more minutes. I cannot wait.

  • http://www.eathere2.blogspot.com Jerusha

    I love that the cookie fed you and Maxence “for several days”–so French. As for Americans, this is why we’re fat: I could easily eat one of those myself. In one sitting.

  • Dory

    The cookies look scrumptious. I had fun looking at the cooking sequence as well. Too bad they did not give you more time you you could really cook something.

    Dory

  • http://www.familyfreshcoooking.com marla {Family Fresh Cooking}

    These cookies sound fabulous! They would keep me up all night if I had a batch in front of me right now!

  • http://figsandlavender.blogspot.com Kim

    These are going on my “recipes to adapt to gluten free” list for sure! They look awesome!

  • http://thelacquerspoon.blogspot.com the lacquer spoon

    Irresistible… my dentist won’t approve though ;)

  • http://mdamedicalbilling.com Shirley @ Medical Billing in Jacksonville

    Oh I am starving! Love cookies… I must go and find one for myself… But thanks for sharing…

  • http://ingoodtasteblog.net maris

    I could NOT be trusted around a batch of these cookies!

  • Inga

    Thanks for the recipe. I made them few hours ago and they are really delicious!

  • http://vanillakitchen.blogspot.com dawn

    yes yes. must print this one out.

  • http://www.iheartcakes.wordpress.com Malin

    They sound and look incredible! I just told my boyfriend I was craving cookies, and now I enter your blog and see this! It must be a sign!

  • http://www.tobiascooks.com tobias cooks!

    a giant mudslide made from chocolate. delicious. fudge like and crisp edges…I must try this.

  • http://www.theteachercooks.com The Teacher Cooks

    I have a weakness for dark chocolate and these look delicious!

  • http://www.cozydelicious.com Katie @ Cozydelicious

    Oh I have a weakness for these cookies! Well, a weakness for many things in Chelsea Market, but these super chocolate cookies are one of them. And, I have to admit that they do not feed me for several days! They probably should, but they don’t. Amazingly rich and wonderful. Thank you for the recipe!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    All – Thank you for your comments, I’m glad the cookies appeal to you! Do report back if you try them.

    Pia – Absolutely, I think almonds would work well here. (Also, if you have too many almonds, you know whom to send them to, right? :)

    Stephanie – I hope they agree to share their secret!

    12th man – This particular hotel didn’t have a breakfast buffet, but I see your point!

    Merisi – I don’t know why pecans aren’t cultivated here — a climate thing maybe? — and I agree those that are available lack flavor, so I stock up on them when I have a chance to travel to the US.

  • http://foodchickenrecipes.com James@Food Chicken Recipes

    My My My,
    This recipe sounds absolutely decadent. I had just finish breakfast when I read your post, and I got hungry all over again. I am certainly going to try it.

  • http://www.moveablefeastscookbook.blogspot.com Barbara

    Absolutely LOVE Jacques Torres! And this cookie! It’d dark and divine looking.

    I guess I belong to category #1. Sort of. I love the idea, but don’t go nuts.

  • jen

    you must be joking… SHARE a chocolate cookie? ha !! hope to try this one this weekend…

  • http://www.demetermade.com Jessica @ Demeter Made

    Divine!!! These are on my “make for everyone for Valentine’s Day” and my “things I want to eat” list. I fluctuated between category 1 and 2–I’m a flip-flopper.

  • http://bit.ly/Ext2Rod Carol@Rodelle

    I’m curious…why make such a small batch? Because of the richness. I’m all for doubling and I might enhance this with a bit of vanilla, eh? Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.quickiesonthedinnertable.yolasite.com denise – quickies on the dinner table

    Ooooh! A chocolate cookie mudslide! I’m drowning in deliciousness *sigh*

  • http://www.xanga.com/aromes S Lloyd

    First, kudos for your highly interesting book project. Souns very educative, practical. So, along with my wife, I had time perfectioning and re-perfectioning those cookies and wow…your instructions are easy and fun to follow.

  • Jammy

    Mmm.
    Yum.
    I made those this weekend, and they were great. But I didn’t have enough chocolate. So I subsituted some semi sweet for some bittersweet. Is that ok? They turned out great in the end, but I am just curious if I “missed out” on anything.
    Thanks!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Jammy – Semisweet chocolate will simply have a little more sugar and a little less cacao strength than bittersweet, but the substitution is fine. Glad you liked the cookies!

  • http://www.uncorkedventures.com/WineClubs wine of the month club

    I just had breakfast and now after reading your blog post, I want a chocolate cookie. Why do I do this?

  • http://www.cookincanuck.com Cookin’ Canuck

    Oh my! Does this ever look decadent. Congratulations on your new book project!

  • http://frenchcookingfordummies.com French Cooking for Dummies

    Great Valentine’s treat! My second half is a pecan lover..I’m definitely gonna score extra points with that recipe, Thanks :D

  • Nicole

    I baked these last night. Wow, so decadent! I even froze a few to bake later. Great recipe!

  • Rachel

    Made them yesterday – YUM! I couldn’t be bothered to do anything other than divide the mixture in even spoonsful on two baking trays, and flatten the cookies slightly with my fingers. Worked out perfectly. I also left off the baking paper on tray two, substituting a fine smear of butter. All I had to do was slide a spatula under each cookie while they were hot from the oven, then leave them to cool on the tray. I hate the waste of using baking paper when its not necessary.

  • http://www.the-ice-cream-maker.com Mitzimi

    I don’t believe it, I was just over at another blog oohing and aahing over a chocolate and walnut cookie recipe and wondering if I could try it with pecans instead, and the next blog I click to is yours with just the perfect recipe for me … thank you!

  • CareBearNJ

    Just made these and they turned out wonderfully. I used walnuts and added a smidge of instant espresso to the wet ingredients. I also (due to being a moron) cooked these at 350F instead of 375. Still marvelous!

  • http://www.chefjulesonline.com chef jules

    I love these Pecan Mudslide Cookies, you may be interested in my Profiterole Tower recipe, all the way from New Zealand.
    Keep up the great work.
    Kind regards
    Chef Jules

  • http://www.enchocolat.com Amy

    I am ALWAYS looking for new chocolate recipes and I have to say that these sound absolutely delicious! I am a complete chocoholic but sometimes it’s good to add a little something extra like pecans in for good measure ;) I’ll be trying these ones out this weekend!

  • jacomien

    in the oven right now…

  • Jillian

    just made these as a valentine’s day treat. my mother declared them “the best cookies you’ve ever made… maybe the best cookies i’ve ever eaten.” and I promise she is not one for flattery!
    thanks for the recipe (the only thing I changed was add a bit of pure vanilla extract) – these will definitely become a go-to for our family!

  • http://www.theteachercooks.com The Teacher Cooks

    I made these cookies this weekend for my book club. Also posted them on my blog. They were really good! Mine looked much drier than yours, but were very moist and the flavor was great. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Everett

    These are incredible. Even without the pecans. Thank you for reposting/revising Jacques’ recipe and posting it here.

  • Mary Healey

    I just made these and they are amazing. If the batter starts to get too warm while you are shaping them, just pop them back in the fridge for a few more minutes.

    I also added the following ‘extras':
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon chocolate extract
    1/2 teaspoon of instant espresso powder.

    Also, for those with a microwave oven with a defrost setting, put the chocolate in a glass bowl and use the defrost setting to melt your chocolate just until about half the chocolate is soft and melty. Stir until smooth. It works every time without scorching the chocolate.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Great tips, thank you!

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