chocolate cookies with pecan praline crunch.

What's are the warning signs of an oncoming stroke? I think one is in my near future thanks to the sheer bliss of wedding planning.

As it happens, it's nearly impossible to get your preferred caterer, photographer, church, and reception hall booked all on the same day, at the same time, at a fair price, without your head imploding.

Then you have problems even worse than that, like 4 days of sleeplessness because this creature won't stop barking unless he's under your bed, in which case he can sleep for hours.

Don't be fooled, he's ferocious, eating socks and biting your ear lobes. I think he gets that from his father.

Really, the best you can do is make cookies. Chocolate cookies with a pecan-studded sugar-crusted praline swathed in super dark dough. Have mercy.

These cookies are delicious, although their texture is more along the lines of a shortbread or a sandie, a little coarse but not dry, crumbly without falling apart. With an ice cold glass of creamy milk to slosh it around in, you might forget about the fact that nothing about your wedding day is coming together as it should. I need more cookies.

Chocolate Cookies with Pecan Praline Crunch
Adapted from Lisa Slater's Brownie Points


1 cup white sugar
6 ounces pecan pieces

Spread the pecans in a circle about 8 inches in diameter on a piece of parchment paper or Silpat. (I didn't do it this way, but you probably should. I mixed the pecans right into the sugar and then tried pouring it right onto the Silpat only to find it hardened before I could spread it out. Do as I say, not as I do.)

Measure sugar into a small saucepan over medium heat and allow it to melt, it will start to melt around the edges, you can stir gently with a heat resistant spatula. Cook until the sugar is completely melted and a golden brown - don't let it go too long or it will burn.

Pour the syrup over the pecans so that most of them are fully or partially covered. Cool completely.

Once cool, chop into coarse pieces. There will be a lot of caramel "dust" on the chopping board - use all of it in the cookie dough.

Cookie Dough

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 sticks cold, unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 recipe Pecan Praline, chopped
6 ounces milk chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric micer, beat the butter and vanilla until softened. Add the brown sugar and beat on low speed until just combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and blend until the dough comes together - it will be stiff.

Add the chopped praline and the chocolate chips, if you're using it. Some bits of the praline and chocolate may not mix in and will collect in the bottom of the bowl - this is okay. Tip the dough out on the counter and work in any extra bits with your hands.

Scoop walnut sized balls of cookie dough onto the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, do not overbake. Allow the cookies to rest on the cookie sheet  for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: This recipe gives the option to roll the warm, baked cookies in confectioner's sugar to create a melty glaze. I skipped it because 1. I think it makes cookies look weird and 2. There was already so much going on in these little beauties, I didn't think they needed anymore fuss.

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