I recently came across a recipe for flourless cookies with only three ingredients: peanut butter, sugar, and an egg.
I loved the idea of such a no-frills cookie, with protein and healthy fat from the peanut butter, and wondered how a cookie like this would taste with other types of nuts. Walnuts and pecans, my two favorites, are often used to add texture and flavor to baked goods, but rarely to replace butter or oil. I ground walnuts into a smooth, creamy paste, with a texture nearly identical to peanut butter. The resulting cookies were delicious, but flat and slightly bitter. Pecans didn’t blend as smoothly, but the cookies turned out just right. They held their shape and had a sweet, earthy flavor, nicely complemented by brown sugar. I couldn’t resist adding two extra ingredients: sea salt and chocolate chunks. I pressed a single chunk – alternating between dark and white – into each cookie, for just a hint of chocolate flavor.
2 cups pecans
1 cup brown sugar
Pinch of sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
White and/or dark chocolate bar (I used 3.5-ounce bars by Green & Black’s,) cut into ½- inch chunks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pecans in the bowl of a food processor, and grind until a paste begins to form; the mixture will still be a bit crumbly (see photo.) Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and stir in sugar and salt until thoroughly combined. Add egg, mixing until smooth. Scoop heaping half tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Place around an inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Press chocolate chunk into the center of each cookie, alternating between white and dark, if using both flavors. Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of sea salt. Bake for 13-14 minutes, until edges begin to turn golden brown. The middle of the cookies should still be slightly gooey. Let cool directly on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Yields approximately 25 cookies