Monday, June 27, 2016

Butter Pecan Cookies

There is a new favorite cookie in my galley. Yes, it's shocking but true, Cruising Cookies dropped to "also-ran" status last week as we consumed batch after batch of Toasted-Pecan Butter Cookies. Granted, they were small batches of small two-bite treats, but that's still a lot of cookies. 

How good were these soft yet crunchy, buttery baked goods? Guests enjoyed them, even those on diets, and one of the boatyard mechanics asked for the recipe. It is hard to resist a cookie that combines the rich, buttery flavor of shortbread and butter cookies topped with a sprinkle of sugar. 

Soft, really soft butter was the key to ease of forming the little dough balls. They firmed up nicely as I rolled each scoop of dough between my palms, and flattened without crumbling. Dough balls using a colder butter stick resisted compression and were harder to work with. Ahhh, the range between early morning "room temperature" and late afternoon "room temperature" made such a difference! 

Try a batch and see if these nutty cookies become your favorites. Betcha can't eat just one!

Toased-Pecan Butter Cookies
a la Martha Stewart

Yields 1 1/2 - 2 dozen

  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature or softer but not melted

    1/3 cup sugar, plus more for coating
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, toast pecans until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Let cool completely and finely chop. 
  • Use an electric mixer to cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until light, about 1 minute. Beat in the remaining ingredients  (vanilla, almond extract if using, salt, and flour), scraping down sides of bowl, just until dough comes together. Fold in pecans. 
  • Use a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon to gather small balls of dough; roll and pack into compact balls. Roll in sugar and place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Gently press with the bottom of a glass to flatten slightly; reshape the sides as necessary. Sprinkle with sugar. 
  • Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Rotate the cookie sheets halfway through the baking. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with more sugar (optional) and let cool 5-10 minutes on cookie sheet. Remove cookies from baking sheets and let cool completely on a wire rack.(They crumble and break apart if you eat them immediately - ask me how I know!)

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