These are one of my all-time favorite cookies, and I’m betting they’re an obsession with you, too. Pecan Sandies. Not the ones made by little elves (although they’re not bad). No, these homemade biscuits are the real deal. With lots of butter and ground pecans.
They are crumbly and sandy like the name implies — and utterly irresistible. Seriously, the only thing that prevented me from inhaling this whole batch (aside from the extreme guilt of having to admit my gluttony to you) was that I was serving them to company that night.
I found the recipe in the Cook’s Illustrated Cooking School Cookbook, and tweaked it according to my tastes. I added a little more salt which I think amplifies the sweet, buttery nature of the cookie.
If you don’t want as much salt, you can cut the amount in half — but don’t eliminate it — the cookies would taste flat and uninteresting without it.
This is a soft dough (even after refrigerating) and my knife tended to press it down into more oblong shapes than the round ones I was going for. The cookbook suggests rolling the dough as you cut to prevent flattening it out.
My counter space was limited and if I rolled it anymore, it would wind up in the sink — so you’re just going to have to live with my long-ish cookies. Anyway, the shape doesn’t affect the flavor (thankfully) and these are worth the effort!
- 2 cups pecans
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pick out 32 of the prettiest pecans (unbroken, etc) from the two cups and set aside. Lay the rest of the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes until fragrant and browned. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
Place the toasted pecans, brown sugar and confectioners sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt and process to combine.
Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles wet sand and the mixture begins to ride up the sides of the bowl. Add the egg yolk and process until combined.
Cut a 15" long piece of plastic wrap and place on a work surface. Transfer half the dough to the plastic wrap and roll it into a log shape, about 2" in diameter. Roll up to seal in the plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place cookie dough logs in the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours until firm.
Adjust oven racks to upper middle and lower middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working with 1 dough log at a time, remove from plastic wrap and use a sharp chef's knife to cut the dough into 3/8" slices, rotating the log as you go so that the log doesn't become misshapen, from the weight of the knife. Place rounds 1" apart on the cookie sheet. Gently press a pecan half into the center of each cookie.
Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes -- one cookie sheet on the top rack and one on the bottom. Swap the cookie sheets around (bottom sheet to top rack and vice versa) and bake another 10-12 minutes until cookies are browned and crisp.
Cool cookies for 3 minutes on a baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.