European Pecan Cookies

Blog Note:  I know I’ve been away for a while.  A long while.  I have no excuses.  But I do enjoy blogging, so I will work to get back into the swing of things.  You can also check out my Instagram (linked in the margin) where I’ll try to post little tastes of my daily life that don’t merit whole posts.  On to the recipe!

Blog Note 2: Apparently, I had posted this recipe to the blog years ago. This version has more detailed directions, so I decided to post it anyway. 
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I’ve been working on digitizing some of my recipe cards, because I often find myself searching my online recipe stash instead of thumbing through cookbooks or cards.  I figured I would also share them with you.  This one I got from my grandma, though she just called them “Refrigerator Cookies”.  I renamed them to European Pecan Cookies.  It’s a funny name, because pecans are natural to North America.  But I feel like the cookies have a more European sensitivity to the taste: they are not too sweet and they go great with coffee and tea.

Like many of my grandmother’s recipes, there are quirky notes in places that don’t make sense to me.  For example, her notes say that the flour is “not sifted”.  I never sift my flour unless a recipe says to.  However, she doesn’t give any guidance on how thick to slice them, which seems especially crucial. Don’t fear though, I took notes the last time I made them so that if you attempt them, you won’t have to experiment too much.

I recommend using the pecan “bits” or tiny chopped pecans that you can find in the store.  I find that if I chop them myself, they’re irregular and there’s a lot of pecan dust.  I haven’t found it hurts the cookies too much, it just feels messy and time consuming when I could just spend a little bit more to make it easy.

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Ingredients

  • 0.5 lb (2 sticks) butter
  • 0.5 cup packed brown sugar
  • 0.5 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugars together.  Add in the egg.  Then add baking soda, salt, and flour.  Then gently stir in the vanilla and pecans.
  2. Roll into 2 even rolls in wax paper. (I use a couple cheap silicone cookie sheet liners.)  Chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Pull one roll from the fridge.  Slice into 1/4″ slices and place on a cookie sheet about 1.5 inches apart.  Return the roll to the fridge while baking.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cookies are light tan with a slighter darker color around the edges.  Cool on the pan for minute or two before moving to a rack to cool completely.
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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.