Recipe du Jour: European Pecan Cookies

Blog note: I’ve posted an updated version of this recipe.  You can find it here.
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HOLIDAY BAKING SEASON IS UPON US!!!

Sorry to shout, but I love the holidays. I don’t like the weather, but the lights, how everything gets decorated, and the general feeling of happiness that seems to happen in December can’t help but make me smile. And one of my family’s traditions was holiday baking. When I was younger, we gave our neighbors a collection of baked goods: cookies, homemade fudge, mini quick breads. Nowadays, since I don’t really know my neighbors (a side effect of living in an apartment complex), I do the holiday baking as part of my gifts to friends. I have a lot of friends, and not enough cash to buy them all nice gifts, so I bake nice gifts instead.

Last year, I shared my favorite Christmas music. This year, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite holiday treat recipes (especially since my blog appears to be turning into a mostly food blog). 🙂 The first one is a great one to take to parties (assuming that nobody has a nut allergy). The cookie is not super sweet, with a rich buttery flavor punctuated by the nuts. The recipe breaks into steps, since you have to wait on the dough to chill, which is great if you have a few busy weeknights where you can’t afford to mix and bake the cookies all at once.

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 cups flour (not sifted)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt (I leave this out if I’m using salted butter)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, flour, and soda. Add vanilla and pecans. Form into 2 or 3 rolls, using wax paper to shape them. I normally make mine about 1½ to 2 inches in diameter. Keep them rolled in the wax paper and chill overnight. Slice and bake on greased cookie sheet for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F or until light tan. Cool on rack.

Notes:

Watch out on the baking time! These are easy to get too dark, especially depending on how thick you cut them. You want them barely brown at the edges. The last time I took these to a holiday party, all the international participants loved these. I was told that most American baking is so sweet it hurts, so something this mild was much appreciated. I personally like two of them with a cup of tea or wassail after a heavy dinner, when I’m not in the mood for an equally heavy dessert.

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