Welcome to Day 3 of our 12 Cookies of Christmas. Today's cookies are Pecan Sandies. I love Pecan Sandies, probably because they are buttery little cookies, loaded with nuts and sprinkled with a bit of confectioner's sugar. They melt in your mouth and are the most amazing treat with a cup of tea. The other reason why I (especially) like them is because they came from one of my newest cookbook's Bouchon Bakery from Chef Thomas Keller. Jeff and I are a big fan of his ad hoc at home cookbook and when I saw he had a pastry/dessert cookbook coming out I pre-ordered it. What I find interesting about his cookbooks is that there is a story, a cooking lesson and a recipe. You truly learn to cook with him.
When I came across his Pecan Sandies for My Mom, it struck a cord with me. Keller's tells about his mother's struggles to raise 6 children and her baking Pecan Sandies. It was about realizing what our parents do for us that molds us into who we are today.
" So much of who I am today is tied to who my mom was, the choices she made, the way she worked, and how she lived her life. What success I have today, I owe to her." Thomas Keller
Our passions, many times, evolve from our past. My passion for baking and cooking came from that of my grandmother and my mother. They weren't chefs or master cooks, but they evoked a passion in me to continue doing what they did for us. Jeff and I both try to make sure there is a meal served when our kids are home and whenever I have the opportunity to make desserts from scratch I do. There is nothing better than something as simple as a homemade cookie.
So, during the holidays, think back to tradition, to those times when cooking and baking was part of the family structure. Bake some Pecan Sandies for My Mom and sit down to enjoy the simple pleasures.
Ingredients for Pecan Sandies for My Mom:
1 3/4 cups + 1 1/2 teaspoons of flour
3/4 cup of coarsely chopped pecans
4 ounces of unsalted butter, at room temperature - (we used salted butter)
3/4 cup + 1 3/4 teaspoons of confectioner's sugar
Additional confectioner's sugar for dusting
1. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (convection) or 350°F (standard).
Line two sheet pans with Silpats or parchment paper.
2. Toss the flour and pecans together in a medium bowl.
3. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium-low speed until smooth.
4. Add the 3/4 cup plus 1 3/4 teaspoons of confectioner's sugar and mix for about 2 minutes, until fluffy.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
5. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, until just combined.
Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there.
(NOTE: I found the dough a bit dry but worked it into two large balls before I begin rolling individual balls.)
6. Divide the dough into 1 1/2-tablespoon portions, roll into balls, and arrange on the sheet pans, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between them.
Press the cookies into 2-inch disks.
7. Bake until pale golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes if using a convection oven, 20 to 23 minutes if using a standard oven, reversing the positions of the pans halfway through.
(NOTE: Sandies baked in a convection oven will not spread as much as those baked in a standard oven and will have a more even color.)
8. Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
If desired, dust with confectioner's sugar.
The cookies can be stored in a covered container for up to 3 days.
Written by Tricia White