Toasted Pecan Sandies
If there’s only one recipe you ever make from this blog, make sure it’s this one. In my opinion, these are the best cookies known to mankind and Martha Stewart’s greatest gift to this world.
I only make these sandies once a year, because I end up eating so many of them that well, that’s all the cookie hit my body can take. A few years ago, my mom got the recipe from a co-worker and asked my sister and I to make them for our family’s annual Christmas party, hoping to fob off some of the dessert duty on us. They were such a hit that a) they are requested by guests year after year, and b) my mom has entrusted us to more elaborate dessert callings. But we always have to make these first.
These little bites of heaven, which crumble and dissolve in your mouth with the slightest hint of sweetness and notes of rich, buttery pecans, are even better if you take the 10 minutes to toast the nuts before grinding them up. They’re so easy and so good — really, why are you sitting here reading this? Go, make them!
Yield: about 60 cookies, 1 inch in diameter
There are millions of recipes for pecan sandies out there on the Interwebs, and I have no idea which is the most traditional or revered. All I know is, if you say you’re bringing pecan sandies to my house and show up with anything other than these, I may or may not leave you standing out in the cold. Just sayin’ …
It goes without saying, but I made these a one-bowl cookie. Also, Martha doesn’t call for toasting the nuts, but I think they add a more complex pecan flavor to the cookie. Since they’re the star of the show, it’s worth taking the extra time to stick them in the oven, but I’ve had the cookies with toasted and untoasted pecans and they’re irresistable either way.
– 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
– 1/3 cup granulated sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2/3 cup whole or chopped pecans
– 1-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
– pinch of salt
– powdered sugar for dusting
1) Toast the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet for 10-15 minutes at 350˚F (your toasting time will be longer if using whole pecans, much shorter if using chopped ones — watch the oven like a hawk), tossing the nuts halfway through so that they toast evenly. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
2) Grind the nuts finely using a coffee or spice grinder. You can use a food processor, the nuts won’t be as finely ground and you’ll get small pieces of pecan in your cookie. I much prefer the finer grind, but that may also be because I only have a coffee grinder and not a food processor — if you don’t have a coffee grinder, use the processor by all means.
3) In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
4) Add the pecans, flour and salt. Beat until combined, about 1 minute. The dough will be extremely sticky.
5) Flour palms and begin rolling the cookies into 3/4-inch balls. Place on a lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake at 350˚F until the edges are just beginning to brown, 20-25 minutes.
6) Sift powdered sugar on top of the cookies while still warm. Allow to cool before sharing. Or eating an entire batch yourself — I won’t tell.