COOKIE RECIPE: OLD FASHIONED PECAN SANDIES

My dad has always loved these cookies! Pecan Sandies are a such classic and I had totally forgotten about them until I ran across my mom's recipe. Buttery, pecan goodness- the cookies just melt in your mouth! Making them brought back a lot of memories... I know I keep saying this but cooking with your kids and sharing treasured family recipes creates memories that will last forever. This is a great batter to mix up and keep in the fridge or freezer. Just slice and bake as needed!
 

OLD FASHIONED PECAN SANDIES

Prep Time: 20 minutes     Cook Time: 19-22 minutes

Yield: 3-4 dozen, depending on size

INGREDIENTS

2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (4 sticks /  1 pound of butter)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup Confectioners sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Before you start, know this is a dense dough. If it is crumbly, do not be tempted to add more liquid or butter. Use your hands to shape it; mold it into a log and chill. It WILL turn out.

Cream butter and granulated sugar together for 3 minutes on medium speed of your mixer. Reduce speed. Gradually add the Confectioners sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Increase the speed to medium and add the water and the vanilla and beat well. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour. Turn off the mixer and remove from the stand. Fold in the pecans. Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap. (the dough may be crumbly; don't worry) Shape the dough with your hands and roll into a log. Chill for at least one hour.

Slice into discs. Put them onto the prepared sheet about 2” apart. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit  for 15-17 minutes or until bottom of the cookie is golden. Don't allow it to brown; you simply want the edges to color. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with more Confectioners sugar, if desired.

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RECIPES: MY MOM'S TOTALLY ADDICTIVE HOLIDAY FRUITCAKE COOKIES

One of my favorite holiday traditions with my mom was starting our holiday baking the day after Thanksgiving. We always made spiced fruit cake cookies but we'd have to buy the ingredients over a few weeks so we could afford them. I remember the anticipation of watching the shelf fill up with the candied fruit: pineapple, cherries (yes, even the green ones) and how excited I was when we finally got the last ingredient. I still love those cookies... and they hold so many memories for me. 

I know. You hate fruitcake. I'm pretty sure I don't like most of them but I promise you these gorgeous little fruitcake gems are so addictive and delicious, you will not want to wait a whole year to make them again. These are the same mugs we used for Christmas Eve cocoa way back then.

Holiday Fruitcake Cookies Martie Duncan.jpg

MOM'S HOLIDAY FRUITCAKE COOKIES

Makes about 6 dozen depending on how large you make them.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound candied red cherries

1 pound candied pineapple

1 pound candied green cherries

6 cups pecans, roughly chopped

1 pound dates, chopped

2 tablespoons dark run (optional- but you need to up the orange juice if you omit)

3 cups plus 1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup Crisco shortening

1 cup granulated sugar

slight pinch kosher salt

3 teaspoons baking soda

3 tablespoons milk

4 eggs (room temperature)

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 teaspoon nutmeg

INSTRUCTIONS

The day before: chop the dates into small pieces and put them in a glass bowl. Add rum. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit overnight to absorb the rum. You can leave this step out if you want but I find it makes the dates more delicious and the cookies have more flavor.  

Preheat oven to 375. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Get out 2-3 cooling racks.

Dice the candied fruit into small pieces and place in a very large bowl; I use the top of my cake carrier. Roughly chop the pecans and add to the fruit. Add the dates. Add one cup of the flour. Toss well to coat all of the pieces and break them up so they are not sticking together.

Next, whisk the baking soda into the milk and let it dissolve.

Mix the Crisco into the fruit. Add the remaining ingredients: sugar, remaining flour, salt, nutmeg, eggs, orange juice and milk with baking soda into the mixture.  Mix together with your hands but just until you no longer see the flour. Try not to over mix. The batter will be very dense. Use a small ice cream scoop or two teaspoons to drop the cookies onto the prepared pans, about 1 inch apart. 

Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the wire cooling racks.

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RECIPE: PUFF PASTRY PALMIERS ARE BETTER THAN THE BAKERY!

Who doesn't love those crispy little "elephant ear" cookies you find at the bakery? I am in love with them. But you don't have to go to the bakery anymore. These are so easy and even more delicious when you make them with puff pastry.

Store bought puff pastry, found in the freezer section of the store, will become your best friend once you discover its many uses! No need to go to the bakery for Palmiers, now you can make them at home!

Store bought puff pastry, found in the freezer section of the store, will become your best friend once you discover its many uses! No need to go to the bakery for Palmiers, now you can make them at home!

PUFF PASTRY PALMIERS

INGREDIENTS

1 egg

1 T water

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/8 cup raw sugar

1 t. ground cinnamon

1 box puff pastry, thawed according to package directions but not thawed completely or it will be too difficult to handle

 All-purpose flour

INSTRUCTIONS

Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the two sugars together in a small bowl.

Make an egg wash by beating the egg with the water. Set aside.

Lightly dust the work surface and a rolling pin with flour.  Sprinkle the work surface with 2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture.

Open the first sheet of pastry and unfold it on top of the flour and sugar.

Add the cinnamon to the sugar. Sprinkle about half on top of the puff pastry. Use the rolling pin to lightly roll to press the sugar into the pastry.

Working with the short side of the pastry, fold the top towards the center. Repeat with the bottom of the pastry but leave a 1/4 inch of space in the center.

Sprinkle with more of the sugar and gently roll it into the pastry. Fold the top over the bottom. You will have a 4-layer narrow rectangle. Brush all of the seams with the egg wash.

Using a sharp knife, slice into 3/4" strips. Brush the edges with the egg wash. Place the strips 2" apart, cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining sugar.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack.