Chewy Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Cookies

Overall, I’d give the quality of this year’s Super Bowl commercials a B-, not a bad grade in general, but a horrible grade where $3.5 million per 30 seconds is concerned.  I mean, really, if you’re going to pony up that kind of scratch to promote your company, then that commercial better be memorable, relevant, and most of all knock-your-socks-off-good (as opposed to played out, gratuitous, and sexist — I’m looking at you, GoDaddy!)

This was by FAR my favorite commercial.  Go ahead and watch it again — I know that you loved it too.



The reason why this commercial resonated with me is because I too have a fat dog.  He’s not husky.  He’s not big-boned.  He’s not curvy or pleasantly plump.  He’s fat.  There is no way that he would be able to fit his behind through a doggy door if we had one, and if he started to chase a VW down the street, he would likely wear out before the second block.

And I know that I am partially to blame for this.  I am guilty of feeding him between meals, especially when he sits like a good boy and stares up at me with pleading eyes that say “I’m hungry.”  It’s easy to let food that I have accidentally dropped on the floor be vacuumed up by my Hoover with a wagging tail.

So, like the dedicated canine in the commercial, it’s time to put the dog on a diet and exercise plan.  I’m not sure that he has the attention span for the treadmill or pilates, but he is pretty good at chasing things, and he does a mean impression of Michael Phelps, so the pool and the backyard will be his gym.




If you know me, or if you’ve read this blog for any period of time, then you know that my two dogs are my babies.  The aforementioned portly Labrador, Fenway, is about 5-years-old, and our smarter, svelter Rottweiler mix, Cameron, is 10 1/2.  Despite the fact that Cameron (a.k.a. C-Dog) is incredibly energetic and spry for her age, it absolutely kills me to leave her in the kennel for any amount of time when Eric and I go out of town.  I know that it stresses her out to be away from home, and she looks at me as if to say, “How could you do this to me?” whenever I drop her off.

Fenway isn’t quite as, er, perceptive as Cameron is, so he usually isn’t as aware that we are dropping him at the kennel.  That said, I don’t like to leave him either (although he does tend to lose a few pounds during his stay.)




Eric and I are getting ready to leave for a quick Jackson Hole vacation tomorrow (woo-hoo!), and I feel very fortunate to have both my dad and my brother house-sitting while we are gone.  Trust me, it’s never a difficult task convincing people to come to Las Vegas for a visit, but throw two disobedient dogs into the mix, one of whom always seems to be wet with muddy paws, and the ante is significantly upped.

Dad and bro have generously agreed to watch the dogs along with the house, saving us pricey kennel fees and saving the pups from another stay at the dreaded doggie camp.




So to thank them (and to apologize in advance for any dog-related incidents), I made them cookies. 70 cookies to be exact.  I had no idea that this recipe would create so many cookies, but I have faith that my dad and brother can make a serious dent in the supply by the time that they leave Las Vegas.  These are indeed cookies for cookie lovers.  Finely chopped ingredients produce a cookie that is thin, buttery, chocolately, nutty, and chewy with a hint of tartness from the dried cranberries.  In a word, addictive.

And no, Fenway, you can’t have one.

Here are my extra tips for making this yummy way to say “thank you!”:

  • The prepared batter can be covered and chilled for up to one day before baking
  • The pecans can be replaced with walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds, and the cranberries can be replaced with chopped tart dried cherries.
  • The baked cookies will keep for 4-5 days at room temperature, sealed in an airtight container.  They can also be frozen for several weeks, sealed in zip-top bags.
  • Other variations include substituting butterscotch or peanut butter chips for the chocolate or adding shredded coconut to the dough.




Chewy Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Cookies

Printable Recipe

Makes 5-6 dozen


8 ounces pecans

1 cup old-fashioned oats

12 ounces chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 1/2 cups golden brown sugar, packed

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the pecans in the work bowl of a food processor and process until they are finely ground.  Add the oats and pulse 5 times, until they are chopped but not finely ground.  Place the nut and oat mixture in a large bowl.

Place the chopped chocolate in the work bowl of the food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped.  Add the chocolate to the bowl with the nut and oat mixture and whisk to combine.  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the bowl and whisk to combine.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the vanilla.

With the mixture on low speed,  add the flour mixture to the bowl, a little bit at a time, mixing until just incorporated.  Mix in the chopped cranberries.  Cover the bowl and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325F degrees.  Roll tablespoon-sized portions of the dough into balls and place them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 2-inches apart.  Flatten the balls with your hand or with the bottom of a glass.

Bake until the cookies are set and golden brown, 13-15 minutes.  Cool the cookies on the baking pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


  1. says

    Wow I loved chocolate cookies i think its easy to do. since i learned how to baked lately i will try this later :)
    thanks for posting and for the clear recipe.

  2. says

    These cookies look so freaking good!! Love the photos.

    I am smiling about your pups. I have a lab mix, and she (Amber is her name) is not overly chunky but definitely has a little extra girth. She is also our vacuum. And does a great job. I laugh bc I got a bike last month & the first time she saw me ride it she got so overly excited that she chased me around the cul de sac for multiple rounds. This has become her afternoon workout. She runs her little heart out next to me & burns all those calories she cleans up for me each day. :)

  3. says

    Thanks, Lisa!  Yes, we are having a great time, but I am falling WAY behind responding to emails and comments.  Apologies for the delay.  Im sure that there will be very few cookies left when I return home.  Hope you are having a great week, and I hope to see you soon.  I still think of you whenever I use that vanilla :)

  4. says

    A bike is a great idea!  I can definitely picture what you described below.  Labs are wonderful and funny dogs.  We are currently out of town in Jackson Hole, and I keep thinking about how much fun our dogs would have in the snow.  They would get plenty of exercise here!

  5. says

    Have baked the cookies with walnuts instead of the pecan nuts. they are really delicious. thanks for the recipe.

    I reported on my blog about it and link to you :)

    Greetings form Germany

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