Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pecan sandies will make your family go nuts

Like many people, I get into food ruts where I make the same things over and over again. Chex mix and sweet potatoes at Christmas; ham and asparagus for Easter; turkey and pea salad for Thanksgiving.  I have so many wonderful recipes, but too often I fall back on a small group of favorites and neglect many other great ideas.

This year, my youngest son was interested in baking cookies and making candy, so I pulled out some books and pondered various options. Sugar cookies -- of course. Peanut butter balls -- my husband's favorite. Bourbon balls -- why not? And then I came across a recipe for Pecan Sandies.

This is one of the easiest cookies to make, and you use common ingredients you probably already have on hand. My grandmother and mother made these often when I was a child. I have no idea why I got away from making them, but I pulled out the recipe, set to work and within an hour had a batch of sandies behind me. And my family went nuts (ha, I mean, pecans!). Even my daughter, who is not a pecan fan, gobbled these up. I've made two batches (of about 45 cookies each) and I think there are four of them in a container in the kitchen. Try this recipe; it is easy and basically foolproof!

2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans, chopped
Powdered sugar, for dredging (about 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix well. Add half the flour and mix well, then the remaining flour and mix completely. Add the pecans. This batter will be very stiff. Form the cookies into small balls or fingers (2 inches long) and place on an ungreased cookie sheet (the butter in this dish will keep them from sticking). Bake for 15-20 minutes until the bottom of the cookies brown slightly.

Be careful with this cookie -- there is no leavening so they do not rise. The tops do not brown. Just follow the directions and check the bottoms after 15 minutes. Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Put the powdered sugar in a small bowl and turn the cookies around in the sugar. Or put the sugar in a small bag and shake the cookies, a couple at a time, inside the bag. Store in a covered container. This recipe makes 40-45 cookies.

This recipe is simply fantastic!

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