SMS – Pecan Shortbread Cookies (no sweet potato bread)

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Better (waaaay) late than never, right?

I don’t know how it happened but I managed to forget to post about these. I baked them and photographed them on time… I just didn’t remember to blog about them. Woopsy! I must have been hella busy because baking and my assignments are usually on my mind.

Anyway, these were good. Not GREAT but good. I had to dunk the cookies in powdered sugar THREE times to make sure that I didn’t end up with another case of the missing powdered sugar.

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I much prefer my go-to pecan sandies over these.

Speaking of powdered sugar… I never quite know what to call it. Powdered sugar? Confectioners sugar? They are the same thing but I noticed that I flip flop between the two. What do you call it?

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Thank you to Lara of The Lab for choosing this recipe. Click here for the recipe and here to see the other SMS bakers and their lovely renditions of these cookies.

Up next week: Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Pie (which, I’ll have you know, I’ve already made and photographed! Now to blog it, before I forget again)

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TWD – Pecan Pie

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I hate pecan pie. Loathe even. Ha!!! What a way to start a post, eh?! Let me explain. Please?

Pecan pie was something that IF it was brought to a gathering (which was a rarity in itself) it was store bought. Yah. Enough said, right?!

Burnt pecans, gummy tasteless pie crust, cloyingly sweet filling whose texture is either grainy or slimy. I tried it, I did. And then… I stifled my gag reflexes the best I could.

Tasty.

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So you can understand my reluctance to make a pecan pie and then feel obligated to at least TRY it. On top of that, I was short on time (which is why I used a frozen pie crust, eep) and short 1/4 cup+ of corn syrup and just about freaked out because I was sure I didn’t have anything on hand in order to substitute. Thanks to Google I substituted it for clover honey. I left out the espresso powder, the chocolate, but left the cinnamon (I’m starting to think I have a problem…)

I cut a piece to photograph and instantly I noticed the difference in the filling. It was semi-solid and wonderfully aromatic. I squeezed my eyes closed and took the plunge. The dynamic that the honey gave the pie was LIFE changing.

I’m happy to report that I no longer have a fear of pecan pie. Well, at least when I make it 😉

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Thanks to Beth of Someone’s in the Kitchen with Brina for choosing this recipe. Head on over to her blog for the recipe.

SMS – Apple Orchard Pecan (and almond) Crumble

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Sometimes my train of thought makes no sense to anyone but me. And it ALWAYS makes perfect sense in my head. It’s that when I write it down that I realize how randomly scattered my thoughts are and I must find the link that connects them all.

I wrote it down and then edited it and then deleted it only to attempt it again. Without any chance of you understanding what the hell I was talking about. So I warn you… this might make NO sense 😀

I’m going to link celery to crumbles. Stay with me….

I had these vivid flashbacks of eating a red version of celery with sugar as a child —> I set out to find what this “red celery-like” fruit/veggie/whatever was —> Fall upon a rhubarb crumble recipe and have an epiphany —> Aha! Its friggin rhubarb —> Scour the internets for a ridiculous amount of rhubarb recipes in light of said epiphany —> Run to numerous stores over the course of a few months searching for rhubarb and find none. NONE! —> Finally give up the witch hunt for rhubarb and sulk, sadly —> Pick up frozen bag of blueberries and almost fall to my knees with joy of finding a bag of rhubarb —> Purchase ramekins for personal sized crumbles for the rhubarb —> Never make said crumble —> Pine incessantly over wanting crumbles —> Reads this week’s SMS recipe —> REJOICE in crumbly euphoria.

Don’t look at me like that… I told you. I waaaaarned you. It makes NO SENSE. Mention crumble and I somehow come up with celery. But this is what runs through my head when I hear the word crumble. It makes sense to me. That’s all that counts, right? RIGHT?!

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This crumble is quick to put together (provided you are an expert apple peeler and your nuts are already chopped) and tastes better the next day at room temperature (strictly my opinion). I am sad to report that there was NO VANILLA ICE CREAM or caramel drizzle ANYWHERE in my apartment, therefore my “perfect crumble” dreams…. crumbled. *sigh*

I think my crumble topping went south somewhere because it was more of a uniform-melty-nutty-caramely-crunchy-MASS than what I imagined. BUT maybe that’s what all of you came up with… or maybe I’m just a complete moron who can’t read and thinks of celery when “crumble” is mentioned. 😉

Please visit Cristine’s delightful blog, Cristine Cooks for the recipe. Visit the SMS blogroll to see how the other bakers fared with this crumble.

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Please excuse the pictures. It was night-time and there was obviously NO NATURAL LIGHT to speak of.

Pecan Sandies

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.

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