Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cinnamon Pecan Cookies

Pecans are such a great holiday treat. I love sugared pecans and when I worked for an antique store back in South Carolina we carried wonderful sugared pecans for the tourists. Of course, I think those of us working at the store bought nearly as much as the tourists! I adored the rum soaked sugared pecans.

These delightful cookies are chock full of pecan flavor and topped off with sugar and spice. It's really the best of both worlds - a cookie and sugared pecans all in one! This is a very easy cookie to do and you can really kick it up a notch by using brown butter instead of butter right out of the package. Brown butter is very easy to do, just put the butter in a sautee pan or small pot and allow it to melt over medium-low heat until it just begins to brown and turn a golden color. This gives the butter a lovely nutty flavor. Then allow it to cool slightly before adding it to the dish.

I also found that using my coffee grinder to grind half of the pecans into a meal gave a nice texture and boosted the pecan taste in the cookies. The remaining 1/2 cup I chopped very fine so that the nuts would be visible within the cookies.

These Cinnamon Pecan Cookies are a combination of a brown butter pecan shortbread that is an old Southern favorite and an updated quasi-healthy recipe I ran across in a magazine recently. The flavor is delicious and I found these great with a glass of milk or cup of coffee (or cocoa). Thankfully, our mornings here in the desert are getting rather chilly so it really feels like Fall - even if there are no leaves to turn colors. The Cinnamon Pecan Cookies are perfect with a warm drink on the patio to wake up in the morning!

1/2 cup brown butter (or unsalted butter, softened)
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Beat butter, 1/2 cup sugar and brown sugar on medium speed in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and whisk together. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat on low speed, just until combined. Stir in pecans.

Divide dough in half and shape each portion into 5-6 inch rounded log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350°. Remove dough from refrigerator and allow to stand at room temperature for 3-5 minutes. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in shallow plate or dish. Roll logs in cinnamon sugar and cut into 1/4-inch thick cookies. Dip each top and bottom of cookie in cinnamon sugar and place on parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake one batch of cookies at a time until lightly browned (about 10-12 minutes). Transfer to wire racks to cool.

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