All you need is five ingredients for this nut-based cookie, suitable for Christmas — or any time really. These were introduced to me by Jane Carr in Camden. They are pretty darn tasty, as long as you toast the pecans a little, just until you can smell the rich odor of roasted nuts. Jane made her cookies a very generous size, but I scaled mine down a little.
Like the walnut crescents two weeks ago, there are moments in mixing these cookies when you think they will never make a dough you can handle. But beat them long enough, and they will form a ball off which you can pluck bits to roll between your hands, dredge in sugar, then flatten and bake.
If you want a more festive look for these plain brown cookies, you can use coarse granulated sugar, or sprinkle them with little sugar snowflakes or stars. They have a delightful shortbread-like texture and would go beautifully with tea or hot, spiced wine.
Because Jane kindly put me up overnight, we had a couple of these cookies for breakfast. What a great start to the day!
Yields about 40 cookies
¾ cup pecans
½ cup butter
⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of flour
Granulated sugar for rolling
1. Heat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a heavy pan or skillet, toast the pecan pieces until they are fragrant.
3. Cream the butter and sugar, then add the vanilla.
4. Add the flour and nuts, and beat until it forms a ball of dough.
5. Pinch off balls of dough and roll them between your hands, roll them in sugar and place on the cookie sheet.
6. Flatten with the bottom of a glass.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until they are browned and firm.
8. Cool and store.