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Few things are as satisfying as homemade cookies. Whenever I’m baking a batch, I can hardly keep the old man out of the kitchen. He keeps sticking his head through the door to ask if they’re done yet. Once I take the first pan out of the oven, he gets second-degree burns on his fingers and on his tongue because he can’t wait for the cookies to cool enough to be handled and eaten without pain. Despite the injuries, he never learns. I guess he’s decided it’s worth it in order to enjoy the warm, soft experience of homemade cookies straight from the oven. Go figure. The grandkids are almost as bad, but at least with them, I have more power. Hubby and the kids can just about make a meal from warm cookies and a cold glass of milk. Yeah, I know that’s not a healthy meal, but generally make cookies only during the holidays, so it’s sort of a seasonal splurge that occurs mostly around Christmas. I bake lots of goodies then, for our family Christmas party and to give as gifts. We have a couple of wealthy pals who can buy anything they want. What could I possibly give them? I struggled with this for a couple of years before I decided that a basket of homemade cookies, candies, cheese spreads, and jams and jellies were my best bet. The list of goodies changes somewhat from year to year, but pecan sandies are almost always part of my gift baskets.
Pecan Cookie Recipes
Pecans can be added to practically any cookie recipe with good results. Their natural flavor goes well with chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, and peanut butter. Pecans are great in oatmeal cookies, too. The nuts can also add flavor and an interesting texture to otherwise bland cookie recipes. Try turning some of your cookie recipes into pecan cookie recipes. You can do this by incorporating chopped or broken nuts directly into the dough, or by rolling the unbaked cookies in ground or finely chopped pecans. Or, if you like, you can make your cookies according to your recipe and then top each cookie with a pecan half.
Easy to Make Cookies
If you want to add pecans to your cookie recipes but don’t really have time for anything complicated, bake a batch of easy to make cookies. How? Start with a roll of refrigerated dough. Try sugar cookies for starters. Make sure your dough is firm, and spray your hands lightly with cooking spray. Tear off a small amount of dough and roll it into a ball that’s a little larger than one inch. Place the ball on a cookie sheet and press a pecan half into the center of the top. Now do the same thing with the rest of the dough and bake according to package directions. As the cookies bake, the pecans will toast at the same time. If you like the results, try other flavors of cookie dough to create pecan cookie recipes. Be sure to try chocolate cookie dough and peanut butter cookie dough. I haven’t tried this with chocolate chip dough, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work just as well.
If you want to get fancy, bake a batch of easy to make cookies like the ones I’ve suggested. When the cookies are cool, dip them in milk chocolate, semi sweet chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate. I’ve used the bars and the round wafers, and I’ve found that the candy coating in wafer shapes is easier to use. They melt more quickly and more consistently in the microwave. Once the coating is melted, just dip the cookies in and place the dipped cookies on a sheet of waxed paper to cool and harden. For even fancier results, you can top the dipped part with colorful candy sprinkles while the coating is still soft. By the way, you might want to coat only half of each cookie with the candy coating.
Here’s another idea for some easy to make cookies. Use the method I describe above for pecan cookies make with sugar cookie dough, but omit the nuts from half. Do your best to make all the cookies the same size. Once the cookies have baked and cooled, melt some dark chocolate or some semi sweet chocolate in the microwave. Spread a little of the chocolate on the cookies that don’t have nuts, and top each with a cookie that includes a nut. Voila – delicious sandwich cookies!
Easy Cookie Recipes
Okay, so you don’t want to use pre-made dough, but you still want some easy to make cookies. Got it. Actually, my recipe for pecan sandies, found below, is one of my easy cookies recipes. You don’t have to roll out the dough, and you don’t have to create shapes with cookie cutters. Even so, the pecan sandie cookies will be prettier than drop cookies, which often have “rough” edges and turn out in irregular shapes. Something else you won’t have to worry about is “running.” That’s the term I use when cookies spread so much that they run into each other. This pecan sandy recipe doesn’t rise, so you know how the finished cookies are going to look. And because the dough is stiff, the sandies won’t spread like most other homemade cookies do. Just be sure to keep the dough chilled. In between pans, keep the dough in the refrigerator.
Pecan Sandies Recipe
This recipe for pecan sandies is practically foolproof. As long as you follow my directions, you’ll get tasty results that are also attractive. Each pecan sandy will be nice and round, and the cookies will have a uniform size. Be careful not to overcook. A pecan sandy won’t brown like most other cookies, and the bottoms should be only very light brown. Of course, the appearance of the cookies won’t affect the flavor, but I like for my pecan sandies to look nice because I often include them, along with other homemade cookies, in gift baskets that I give to friends for Christmas.
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- 2 cups butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dredging
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chopped or broken pecans
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Cream together butter, one cup powdered sugar, water, and vanilla until fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture.
- Add pecans.
- Chill dough until firm, then shape into one-inch balls.
- Place balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, about an inch apart.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.
- Shake or roll cookies in powdered sugar.
You can made sandies cookies with different types of nuts. I’ve used chopped almonds and chopped walnuts several times, and I used to have a friend who used peanuts. I think sandies cookies would be great with macadamias, too, but I haven’t tried that…yet. Just give me time! Of course, sandies don’t have to include any nuts at all. That’s totally up to the cookie maker. You can use my recipe for pecan sandies and leave out the nuts, if you wish. You’ll still get some tasty homemade cookies.
If you like, you can also use other ingredients to “jazz up” your pecan sandies recipe. Have you ever tried adding chocolate chips? If you want to try it, I strongly suggest using mini chocolate chips instead of using the regular chips – about one cup. Whether you use milk chocolate or semi sweet chocolate chips is a matter of taste. We usually prefer the semi sweet chocolate chips, especially if I’m going the roll the baked cookies in powdered sugar. The sweet milk chocolate chips and the powdered sugar make the cookies a little too sweet for me. If you decide to use the milk chocolate chips, hold off on rolling the whole batch of cookies in powdered sugar. Roll just one or two, then taste them. If you decide at that point the taste is right, go ahead and roll the rest of the homemade cookies in powdered sugar. If not, you haven’t “ruined” the entire batch of pecan sandies.