Self-isolating at home? Here’s a recipe for easy chocolate chip cookies with pecans. This version uses few ingredients and standard pantry staples that may already be available in your home. Enjoy!
Baking is a comfort activity in our home. I usually turn on the oven when I have an afternoon free with the kids or when company is expected. With communities self-isolating around the world and people staying at home as much as possible, baking has taken on a new meaning.
The other thing that has changed recently is our shopping routine. We are making less frequent trips to the grocery store. That’s why I am using fewer ingredients in my cooking and trying to maximize what we already have. Pantry cooking and “shop your fridge first” have become standard practices in the kitchen, and it’s saving $$$ and reducing food waste. Good for the environment and great for self-distancing – all at the same time!
Pantry Staple Cooking
Tweaking recipes to use fewer ingredients is the need of the hour. But it is a trial and error process with some recipes. That’s how this pecan and chocolate chip recipe came to be. It is the result of a lot of experimentation and heavily influenced by my roots in India.
Baking in India
Decades ago, baking was not popular in India. The oven wasn’t a standard kitchen feature and was available in only few kitchens around the country. This is partly because in India baking isn’t part of the ancient, traditional culture, rather derived from the more recent colonial influence. The other reason was the uncertain electricity supply. In a country where there is intermittent power supply, baking a cake becomes more long-drawn out. And who wants to eat a cake that’s spent hours in a warm-but-not-quite-hot oven. Having said that, I don’t think Indian cuisine missed out much. After all, the smoky flavour of a tandoor is so much better for roasting meats, veggies and naans!
So when people do bake in India, you know the dish is going to be amazing because it’s made by a very determined chef. The recipes are also tweaked to suit the warmer Indian climate, patchy electricity supply and of course limited pantry supplies.
That’s how these easy chocolate chip cookies came to be. The recipe uses pantry staples that you may already have at home. It has very few ingredients – perfect for our limited access to grocery shelves in today’s climate. Above all, the texture is airy and the taste is fabulous. Win, win, win!
Real-life Kitchen Tips
- Soften the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds to speed up the process.
- You can make this cookie recipe without the use of an electric beater. I have done so many times. Though it’s much easier on the arm muscles if you use the beater or food processor.
- You can totally switch out the pecans for other nuts like cashews – whatever you have at home. Or substitute with raisins if you’re making a nut-free version.
- Don’t press down on the cookie batter after scooping it out on the tray. It may result in thin, charred edges.
- The texture of this cookie is quite light. If you want to add coconut or oats or other ingredients, use another recipe. This version will not hold up.
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
- 2/3 cups butter softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup pecans chopped or broken
Preheat oven to 325 deg C
Beat sugar and butter till fluffy. 5 mins on a Black and Decker beater
Add eggs and the essence.
Beat for another minute.
Sift flour and baking powder together.
To this, add pecans and chocolate chips
Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture, little by little, and fold in, till well blended. Takes less than a minute.
Grease a baking tray.
Scoop a spoonful of batter on the tray, at least an 1" apart
Bake for 17 mins for chewy and 20 mins for crisp. Fabulous either way!
Cool and store in an airtight container on counter. Or eat them all before they are cooled. There's no judging here!
Looking for more ideas for easy recipes with limited ingredients? Check out my tips on cooking with pantry staples.