Anna Mintz is a Publicist for Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, and is an editor for The Recipe Club. Originally from Atlanta, she now lives in New York City and loves exploring NYC’s restaurant scene and trying out new recipes in her own kitchen.
When I was asked to help bake goodies for our company’s holiday party, I knew right away that one of the treats I should make would have to be Pecan Sandies from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof (Clarkson Potter, October 2012) by Ina Garten. I love all kinds of shortbread, so I’d had my eye on these cookies since the first time I paged through Ina’s new cookbook.
These classic holiday cookies get their wonderful flavor from demerara sugar, vanilla, and toasted pecans. They’re a perfect combination of buttery shortbread with the warm, nutty flavor of the pecans, and they look so festive! Best of all, they came together pretty quickly, which was a good thing, since I doubled the recipe to accommodate our large crowd. These cookies are the perfect treat for a holiday party or to give as gifts to co-workers or neighbors.
Pecan Sandies Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten
Makes 22 to 24 Cookies
1 cup pecan halves (4 ounces)
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup demerara or turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
24 whole pecan halves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the 1 cup of pecan halves on a sheet pan and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until toasted. Set aside to cool. Place the cooled pecans plus ¼ cup of the flour in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the nuts are finely ground.
Place the mixture in a medium bowl and add the remaining 1 ¾ cups of flour, the salt, and the baking powder. Stir to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla and the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together.
Using a small ice cream scoop or your hands, form the batter into balls about 1 inch in diameter (1 ounce on a scale). Place the balls 1 inch apart on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Press a pecan half into the center of each ball, pressing the pecan halfway down into the cookie. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cookies turn golden brown around the edges. Cool for 5 minutes. Place on a wire rack and cool completely.
Note: The cooled cookies may be stored in an airtight container for several days.