"I am still convinced that a good, simple, homemade cookie is preferable to all the store-bought cookies one can find."
I've been going through my cookbooks lately. This recipe comes from a cookbook my sister Melanie bought me, called, Retro Desserts. It is written by the pastry chef from Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and Bolo in New York City, Wayne Brachman.
It is a book that is witty and well written with a sense of humor. Beautiful pictures throughout as well.
These are called pecan sandies, but they could also just be called pecan shortbread. They are quite delicious and everything you want from a shortbread. Full of butter, with the toasted nuts adding great flavor. These cookies are just delightful. Perfect for afternoon tea.
I did make a few changes from the recipe in the book. For example, he says to use unsalted butter, but doesn't call for any salt. So naturally, I added salt. His recipe doesn't call for a nut on top, so I added it. I felt they would be plain without it, and I like people to know what they are eating. And lastly, he wants you to make the whole shebang in the food processor, only toward the end I started running out of room and the bottom of the dough wasn't getting incorporated with the top (I have a standard sized Kitchen Aid model.) So I threw it all in the stand mixer and all was good.
I really enjoyed his addition of rum in these cookies. It adds something wonderful, and a touch I wouldn't think of adding myself.
Pecan Sandies or Pecan Shortbread
1 cup (111 g.) pecan pieces, toasted
plus 1/2 cup (50 g.) pecan pieces for top of cookies
2 cups (300 g.) all purpose flour
1 cup (203 g.) granulated sugar (next time I'm going to try it with brown sugar)
1 cup (2 sticks) (230 g.) unsalted butter at room temperature- or use salted and a bit less salt
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. rum (optional, but recommended)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Using a food processor, process the 1 cup pecans until they are fine crumbs. (But don't go too far, or else you will have pecan butter.)
If you have a large food processor, you can go ahead and add first the dry ingredients, flour, sugar, and salt. Then add the liquids, egg yolk, extract, rum and last add the butter in pieces. Mix until the dough comes together.
Or alternately, take your ground pecans, mix it with flour, sugar and salt, in a large bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer. Then add the egg yolk, extract, rum and butter and mix it until a dough forms.
The dough will be soft.
Roll half the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper or wax paper, (if you use parchment you can go ahead and use it to bake the cookies on also, but if you are using wax paper you can't, it will melt in the oven) to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Repeat with the other half. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, 190 degrees Celsius, or Gas Mark 5.
Peel off the paper and cut into 2 inch circles. Place one of the reserved pecans on top by pushing it in to the cookie. Place them on cookie sheets lined with the parchment you just used, or Silpat liners.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the edges of cookies are tanned. Cool on wire racks, then transfer to airtight container when cool.
Makes about 40, 2 inch cookies