Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pecan Sandies

For the holidays this year I decided to give our families containers of holiday treats.  We buy gifts for our parents and nephews, but we see aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc so I always felt weird not having things for everyone we spend the holiday with!  So I made a whole bunch of cookies and other holiday treats.  Everything seemed to get good reviews (and my husband kept telling me to take pictures for my blog already so he could eat more), so hopefully they weren't just being nice!

One type of cookies I made was pecan sandies.  I had never had them before, but I kept seeing recipes for them in all of my cookbooks, plus Food Network Magazine included them in a spread on holiday cookies, so I decided to give them a go.  After looking at all the different recipes, I opted for the one from Food Network Magazine, as they looked the most interesting (most were just basic round cookies, these were textured and had a pecan on top, so it looked nicer than the rest).

The original recipe calls for turbinado sugar, which I didn't find at either of my regular markets (I'm sure if I looked elsewhere I could have found it, I was just short on time) so I improvised a bit.  I think they came out great, and will definitely make them again.

Pecan Sandies (slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine)

2/3 cup pecans, plus 36 more for decorating
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
brown sugar for sprinkling

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until browned (10-12 minutes).  Let cool completely.
- Sift 3/4 cup flour, the salt and baking bowder into a medium bowl.
- Pulse the toasted nuts with the remaining 2 tbsp of flour in a food processor until finely ground.
- Beat the butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).
- Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined, then stir in the nut mixture.
- Pat the dough into a rectangle on a piece of plastic wrap; wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours or overnight)
- Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough between 2 pieces of parchment into a 9-by-6-inch rectangle, slightly less than 1/4 inch thick.
- Sprinkle the dough with brown sugar.
- Slice the dough into sixths cross-wise and length-wise to make 36 rectangles.  ***I used a pizza cutter for this step
- Arrange the rectangles about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Pierce each rectangle a few times with a fork, then press a pecan onto each.
- Bake, switching the position of the pans halfway though, until golden brown (10-12 minutes)
- Let cool 3 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

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