The first time I had ever heard of pecan sandies, I think my stomach turned. I imagined something along the lines of dried bite sized mud pies with nuts. There was just something about the thought of putting sand in my mouth that turned me off to them. But as time went on and my curiosity for baking heightened (throw in some coaxing from my fiancee, Tony and Gma J.) I decided to give them a shot. I wasn’t going to be the one eating them anyhow so as far as I was concerned this was a win-win! I. Was. Excited.
I measured, I pulvarized, I cut, I baked, I waited. Impatiently.
They smelled amazing. Once the first batch was done, I ripped one off the cookie sheet and popped it (effortlessly, might I add) into my mouth and I swear I heard angels sing! They are crumbly, melt in your mouth goodness with an amazing texture I can’t find words to describe. If you ask me, the turbinado sugar gives this cookie such a depth in texture. And the best part, you ask?
They work EVERY TIME!
They yield quite a few *ahem* cookies but honestly, WHO complains about 12 dozen bite sized cookies that just melt in your mouth?
I think I just heard a slew of crickets chirp.
(Just a little backstory: Tony can’t stand nuts in baked goods. Ever. No exceptions. Until this cookie. He has finally dipped his toes and is enjoying every minute of it. Only with these cookies though, naturally.)
Pecan Sandies Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes just shy of 12 dozen, one-inch square cookies
1 cup pecans (I always use 1-1/4 cups)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt (I used 1-1/8 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 2 tablespoons turbinado (raw) sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts out in one layer on a baking sheet and bake them, stirring occasionally, until they are well browned, 10 to 13 minutes (they will smell toasted and nutty). Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.
In a food processor, grind the nuts with 1/4 cup of the flour. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Sift together the remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour, the salt, and the baking powder, and add it to the dough, mixing until just combined. Stir in the nut mixture. *Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Roll the dough between two sheets of wax paper to 3/16 inch thick (a rectangle approximately 10 x 14 inches). **Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1-inch squares. Sprinkle the cookies with the turbinado sugar. Place them 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets (do not reroll the scraps). Prick the cookies with a fork and bake until pale golden all over, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
(*When it comes to refridgerating the dough, I do things a bit differently becuase this just works for me. My directions: As soon as the dough comes together, I take one sheet of wax paper, put the dough in the middleof it and put another sheet of wax paper on top. Then I roll out the dough into the above mentioned rectangle. I find that my dough won’t crack and the rolling pin just glides as opposed to rolling out the cold dough which for a novice like me, is a hassle. I carefully place it in the refridgerator and leave it for at least 3 hours.
**Pick up at the cutting instructions.)
From personal experience, these cookies will hold up amazingly for at least a few days as long as you put them in a closed container or ziplock bag. Leaving them out (at least here in Houston) can turn them mushy. Blegh.