Monday, June 18, 2012

Cali Bound

Tomorrow night at this time, I will be in the air somewhere over the Mid-west on my way to California!  I have never been further west than Kansas, so I am really excited.  Mark is in his friend Paul's wedding, so we decided to make a week-long vacation out of it (mainly to put as much room in between flights as possible, since Mark is notorious for being horrible on planes!).  I really should be packing tonight... or finding a dress to wear to the wedding... but instead I decided to bake cookies.

I busted out the trust old recipe files and picked literally the very last thing in there: butter pecan cookies.  No clue what it was cut out of... it looks vaguely Martha Stewart-esque.  Butter crunch is one of Mark's favorite ice creams, and he likes pecans, and I figured the flavors must be similar.  I had to toast some pecans before I could start the cookies, which added on a little time, and you have to roll them into balls and roll them through sugar.  This did take a little more time than I wanted, but really they were not bad.... it's just that I should be packing!  I decided to double the recipe because 12 cookies did not seem like enough.  What is strange about the recipe is that there is no rising ingredient: no baking soda or powder. So, they are very flat.  They look flat in the picture, so I guess that's okay, but it felt weird. 

As a non-cookie-lover, I didn't try them, but the 5 people who tried them tonight enjoyed them.  Mom even said she loved them, and we all know that she is a tough critic.  But she loves cookies and especially loves nuts, so this was an obvious choice.  Mark said he got a burned pecan, so be careful when you are toasting them - the ones on the sides toast quicker!

Wish us luck flying to L.A. tomorrow!  See you when I get back!

butter pecan cookies
makes 12

3/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for coating
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  On a baking sheet, toast pecans until fragrant, about 6 minutes.  Let cool completely; finely chop.

2.  With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light, about one minute.  Beat in vanilla, salt, and flour, scraping down sides of bowl, just until dough comes together.  Fold in pecans.

3.  Separate dough into 12 pieces.  Squeeze dough to shape into balls.  Roll in sugar.  Place 3 inches apart on a baking sheet.  Gently flatten with the bottom of a glass, reshaping sides if necessary.  Sprinkle with sugar.

4.  Bak until golden brown, rotating sheet halfway through, about 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with more sugar (I did not do this step).  Cool cookies on a wire rack.

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