Just in case anyone got crazy and dreamed up some meaty cookie, I indicated "vegetarian" under dietary restrictions. As it turned out, I was matched with other vegetarians (The Hungry Hutch, The Food Poet, and MarocMama), which I thought was a great way to do it. Especially for those that require gluten free or nut free, who better to trust than someone else who requires the same.
It was hard to decide what to make, taking into consideration that a sturdy cookie would be needed for shipping and one that would remain fresh in transit to both California and New York. I settled on this recipe because it said "store at room temperature up to 10 days, freeze up to 2 months."
I recommend the Progressive nut chopper because the base has measurements up to 1 1/3 cups. I've used this chopper regularly for 4 years now and have had no issues.
The ingredients for this recipe are likely ones that you have on-hand with the exception of half-and-half. Butter is an essential ingredient in this recipe, so use a good quality one such as Organic Valley.
I get annoyed with recipes that call for half-and-half because it's not something we normally buy and this recipe only needs 3 tablespoons! Oh well, I made the most of it and used the remainder in my favorite cranberry nut muffin recipe.
Once you've browned the butter, this recipe comes together really quickly. I would definitely recommend it as a fairly easy cookie to add to your holiday baking lineup.
I packaged my cookies in Wilton clear party bags (4 x 9 1/2"), which was a nice size. I packed 6 in each bag, giving each person 6 plain cookies and 6 decorated in red & white coarse sugar.
I stacked the cookies and surrounded them in bubble wrap. Oh and I included a recipe and business card so the recipients knew who to blame if they received a crumbly mess of cookies :)
It's been fun receiving packages from my fellow cookie swappers over the past week. I received Mexican hot cocoa cookies from Diana at The Dreamery Blog. She created such a cute package decorated with a letter K and snowflake.
I also received peanut butter & cinnamon dark chocolate kiss cookies from Laura at Eating The Beats. She blogs about food and music, and as a bonus included a Chelsea Wolfe CD which I really appreciated.
My final package contained gingerbread cookies from Shawn at The Healthy Helping, and some really cute Christmas confetti :) I loved the creative touches with each package and was wishing I had done something more creative, or at least included a handwritten note.
A big thanks goes out to Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen for organizing such a fun cookie swap. It was very well run and I'm looking forward to participating again next year!
Browned Butter Pecan Sandies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (36 cookies)
- 1 cup chilled butter, cut into chunks
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons half-and-half
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup coarse sugar (optional)
- 36 pecan halves
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. After butter has melted, adjust heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly (it will be foamy) with a high-heat rubber spatula.
- Add chopped pecans and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer butter-pecan mixture to a large bowl. Cool about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile heat oven to 350 degrees and cut parchment paper for 3 baking sheets.
- After butter-pecan mixture has cooled add powdered sugar, brown sugar, half-and-half, vanilla and salt. Mix until smoothly incorporated, then stir in flour. If mixture is too dry to form balls, add one more tablespoon of half-and-half.
- Roll dough into 1" balls (I use a small Oxo scoop). If desired, roll ball in decorative coarse sugar.
- Place 12 balls on each parchment-lined baking sheet, then press a pecan half firmly into each. If the edges crack, push the cookie back together with your fingers.
- Bake cookies for 11 minutes, just until the edges start to brown. Then slide the parchment paper off the baking sheet onto a cooling rack.
- Store at room temperature up to 10 days. Freeze up to 2 months.
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