These oat and pecan brittle cookies have it all. Crisp edges. Chewy center. Caramelized taste. And a marginal healthfulness from oats that makes it entirely too easy to justify having just one more.
Oat and Pecan Brittle Cookies
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 1 H, 30 M
- 14 H, 30 M
- Makes 18 to 23 large cookies
- For the pecan brittle* (see *How to Make This Recipe a Little Easier below)
- For the cookies
Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and adjust the oven rack to the center position.
Scatter the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and slide them into the oven, tossing or stirring halfway through, until they’re golden and nutty smelling, 8 to 13 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, slide the pecans onto a plate, and let cool.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the granulated sugar, butter, and 2 tablespoons of water and cook, stirring gently with a heatproof spatula to dissolve the sugar.
Increase the heat to medium and bring the syrup to a rapid simmer. Cook without stirring, swirling the pan often, until the syrup turns a deep amber color, 6 to 10 minutes.
Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the pecans. Once the pecans are well coated, add the baking soda and salt and stir quickly to incorporate—the mixture will rapidly foam and sputter as the baking soda aerates the caramel. Quickly scrape the brittle out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into a thin layer, if possible, before it starts to harden (which happens very quickly). Let the brittle cool completely, 10 to 15 minutes. Once cool, chop the brittle into pea-sized bits.
Into the bowl of a stand mixer, place 4 ounces (113 g) of the butter.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, place the remaining 4 ounces of butter and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter comes to a boil. Continue to cook, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the butter sputters, foams, and eventually you see browned bits floating about, 4 to 7 minutes.
Add the browned butter to the stand mixer bowl, making sure you scrape in all the browned bits. Let the butter cool until it begins to resolidify, 25 to 35 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda, then add half of the pecan brittle bits and 1 cup of the oats. Blitz the mixture in long pulses until the oats and brittle are broken down and finely ground, 30 to 45 seconds.
Set the bowl of cooled butter on the mixer and attach the paddle. Add the dark brown and granulated sugars and beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and smooth but not fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla, and continue to beat until you have a very light and satiny mixture, about 1 minute more.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour/ oat/brittle mixture and beat on low until no dry spots remain and you have a soft, evenly mixed dough, about 1 minute.
Add the remaining pecan brittle bits and remaining 1 cup oats and mix on low again just until dispersed. Fold the batter several times with a flexible spatula to ensure everything is evenly mixed.
Using a 2-ounce scoop or 1/4-cup measure, scoop level portions of dough and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet as close together as possible (you’ll space them out before baking). Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 48. The cookie dough can be portioned and refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. (Bake the cookies directly from the freezer without thawing first, adding a minute or two as needed to the baking time.)
When you’re ready to bake, arrange two oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F (177°C). Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place 6 pieces of chilled cookie dough on each of the prepared baking sheets, spacing so they’re at least 3 inches (8 cm) apart. Bake the cookies on the upper and lower racks until they are dark golden brown around the edges, 16 to 18 minutes, switching racks and rotating the sheets front to back after 12 minutes.
Allow the cookies to rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Repeat with the remaining cookies, dividing them between the 2 baking sheets (it’s okay if the sheets are still warm). The cookies will keep, stored airtight at room temperature, for up to 5 days or can be frozen up to 1 month.
*HOW TO MAKE THIS Recipe A LITTLE EASIER
If you’d like to skip the step of making the pecan brittle, you can swap out the homemade brittle for 8 ounces (227g) of toffee bits, such as Heath brand “Bits o’ Brickle” (often found in the baking aisle of the supermarket) or simply smash 8 ounces of toffee bars. You’ll still want to toast the pecans and grind half into the flour mixture, then add the rest to the dough along with the toffee bits and remaining oats.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This is THE cookie. The one that you'll be known for. Is this cookie a bit more complex to make than your average cookie? Yes. Is it absolutely worth taking the time to do each step? Also yes.
This cookie balances both a comforting homemade feel and complexly rich undertones that few drop cookies even attempt. The finished product looks so simple that it may be overlooked on a holiday cookie table, but that would be a severe mistake. The texture of the cookie is crisp on the edges and soft in the middle, but with the added bonus of small pockets of the most delicious pecan brittle you've ever had sprinkled throughout.
This cookie has become a freezer-stash staple in my house, and is perfect for the job since the dough is easily doubled and bakes perfectly from frozen with just an extra minute or two on the bake time.
If you are looking for a sophisticated upgrade to a plain oatmeal cookie, this is an excellent choice. An upgrade in the final product requires some extra work, but it is worth the effort. Plus the pecan brittle alone merits a standalone recipe—it is highly addictive. Browning butter and making your own pecan brittle and oat flour are little steps that add up to create a rich, flavorful, complex cookie.
I also use my nose when I make caramel. I think the color was a little less dark than what I would call dark amber, perhaps due to the foaminess from the butter, but it was smelling more and more caramel-y and toasty, so I removed it before it got too dark and into the burnt flavors.
The brittle does set up quickly, so have your parchment paper-lined sheet pan ready. I scooped out the nuts and tried to arrange them into as flat of a sheet of caramel as possible. The actual shape is not so important though, since you will chop it into bits later.
I recognized this recipe from Bon Appetit and some commenters said they spread a lot so I made mine smaller. The cookies do indeed spread so provide lots of room on the cookie sheet—don't overcrowd or you'll end up with one giant cookie!
The cookies had layers of flavor and texture—lots of chew from the oats, but also pockets of softness and crunchiness. The deep caramely toffee combined with the toasty pecans and oat notes were a nice upgrade from a regular oatmeal cookie, and well-balanced between buttery, sweet, and salty.
If I could change one thing, I would have kept some of the chopped pecan brittle chunks larger because I liked the contrast they provided mixed in the oatmeal dough.