• Sun, Dec 26 2010

12 Days of Christmas Cookie Recipes: Brown Sugar Pecan Sandies

If you didn’t get around to all the holiday baking you’d hoped, good news: The 12 days of Christmas officially began yesterday, so you’ve still got an excuse to keep making cookies like these Pecan Sandies. The other good news is that these are extremely simple to make (you don’t even need cookie cutters), but they taste and look like you’ve labored over them over your entire holiday weekend.

To grind the pecans, use a food processor, but watch to make sure they don't become buttery.

Roll the dough inside of a ziploc bag until you create a rectangle of even thickness.

After chilling, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares.

Use the end of a fork to press holes into the cookies.

The cookies shouldn't brown during baking, but they'll become fragrant and look a tinge darker than when you started.

Brown Sugar Pecan Sandies

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground cloves
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup finely ground pecans*

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt and cloves.

2. Beat butter and brown sugar together in a stand mixer with paddle attachment until mixture is very smooth. Reduce the mixer to lowest speed and add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add pecans and stir only until combined. (Don’t over-mix.)

3. Use a spatula to transfer the dough into a gallon-size ziplock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9×10 1/2-inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick (try to make it as even as possible from edge to edge). Place in refrigerator and chill for at least two hours, or up to two days.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Place the plastic bag on a cutting board and cut it open, leaving dough on cutting board. Use a measuring tape to cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares.

6. Place the squares on baking sheets. Using a large fork, press the fork all the way into the cookies so that it touches the baking sheet, repeating twice for each cookie (creating eight small holes in the tops of each cookie).

7. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Don’t worry if the shortbread looks pale; it shouldn’t brown on the outside.

*Use a food processor if you have one; be sure not to blend too long as nuts can become buttery. Chop as finely as possible if you don’t have a food processor.

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