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Oatmeal and Pecan Brittle Cookies

Adapted from Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence by Claire Saffitz
This recipe requires a few more steps than other cookies, but the pecan brittle can be made in advance and stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to a week, or in the freezer for a few months. For making the dough, you'll brown butter and mix it up, then chill it before baking. So you'll want to read through the recipe first to check out the timeline.
In addition, Claire's original recipe requires a few pans, a stand mixer, and a food processor. If you don't have a stand mixer, the dough can easily be made by hand, in a large bowl with a spatula. I haven't tried it but you may be able to use a blender to pulverize the oats and praline; it might be necessary to stop the blender a few times and stir things up to make sure it all gets crushed properly. If it's not absolutely smooth, I wouldn't worry too much about it. But if you use a blender, let me know in the comments how it works out
I baked the cookies in the full size that Claire recommends, and also in a smaller size, using 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie, which I baked for about 10 minutes.
Lastly, note that the cookie dough rests for 12 hours before baking. The world will not come to an end if you bake them sooner, but chilling them for a least a few hours is recommended for chewier cookies.
Course Dessert
Servings 18 cookies

For the pecan brittle

  • 1 1/2 cups (140g) whole pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or Diamond Crystal kosher salt

For the cookie dough

  • 8 ounces (230g) unsalted butter, divided (half should be cold) and cubed
  • 1 1/3 cups (175g) flour
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt or Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups (200g) old-fashioned rolled oats, (not instant or quick-cooking)
  • 3/4 cup (150g) (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, (cold, not room temperature)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To make the pecan brittle

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper, a silicone baking mat, or lightly greased foil. Spread the chopped pecans on another baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring midway during baking until they're light golden brown and smell toasty, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • In a small or medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, 4 tablespoons of butter, and water. Have the 1/2 teaspoon (each) of baking soda and salt measured out and close by. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula, until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, without stirring, but swirling the pan to keep the mixture cooking evenly until it turns a deep amber color, similar in color to a cup of coffee with a touch of milk added, which will take 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and immediately stir in the pecan pieces until well coated, then quickly stir in the baking soda and salt. Still working quickly, scrape the mixture on the prepared baking sheet and spread it as evenly as possible. Set aside to cool completely. Once cool, chop the brittle into pieces the size of large peas with a chef's knife. (If you plan to finish making the cookie dough later, store the brittle bits in an airtight container, preferably somewhere where you won't be tempted to snitch them!) You want to use all the brittle, including all the little tiny bits left on the cutting board too.

To make the cookie dough

  • Place half (4 ounces/115g) of the (cold) cubed butter in a bowl of a stand mixer and put the other half in a medium skillet or saucepan. Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan frequently with a heatproof spatula. The butter will start to sputter and foam, and then begin to brown. Keep cooking the butter just until you see browned bits floating it in. Remove from the heat and pour it over the cubed butter in the mixing bowl, scraping any and all brown bits in the pan into the butter. Let cool for about 30 minutes, until the two butters start to become solid again.
  • While the butter is cooling, put the flour, salt, and baking soda in a food processor. Pulse it once or twice then add 1 cup (100g) of the oats and half (~1 cup/150g) of the chopped pecan brittle. Pulse until the ingredients are finely ground together.
  • Attached the paddle to the stand mixer and add the brown and granulated sugar to the bowl and mix for two minutes at medium speed but don't overwhip the mixture (which can cause the cookies to spread too much) until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula then add the eggs and vanilla and mix 1 minute more, then stir in the flour/oat/brittle mixture and continue to mix until there are no dry spots. You may want to stop the mixer and do this final step by hand so the ingredients get combined properly. Add the remaining pecan brittle bits and oats and stir until they are well-combined with the dough.
  • Scoop the dough into 1/4 cup (2oz) rounds on a parchment covered small baking sheet. (You can also make them half that size. See headnote.) Cover the dough tightly and refrigerate for 12 hours, or up to 4 or 5 days.
  • To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Place the oven racks on the bottom and top third of the oven and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 6 rounds of dough evenly spaced apart (by at least 3-inches/7cm) on the baking sheets and bake the cookies, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, turning them from front to back, and switching the baking sheets from the top to bottom racks in the oven, until they are light golden brown across the top and deep golden brown around the edges, about 16 minutes. (In Claire's book, she says 16 to 20 minutes, so best to judge them by their color rather than rely on precise minutes.)
  • Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack. Bake the rest of the cookies on the baking sheet, and it's okay if it's still slightly warm. Just be aware the cookies baked on a warm-ish baking sheet may take a little less time to bake.