National Pecan Cookie Day

I am quite sure that nearly every traditionally favorite cookie variety has an official day by this point. Pecans work fabulously in cookies and bars, delivering nutty goodness without any bitterness. I love a pecan cookie that borders on shortbread… slightly crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth soft and chewy inside.

Today I gleefully serve up pecan cookie recipes representing both yesterday and today. I start with the one I used back in the 1980s.

Buttery Pecan Rounds

½ c softened butter

2/3 c packed brown sugar

1 egg yolk

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 c sifted flour

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

½ c finely chopped pecans

Pecan halves

Cream butter and sugar until light. Add egg yolk and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients and stir into batter.  Add chopped pecans. Drop teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet and top each with pecan half. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 350°F.

Butter Pecan Cookies

Lately, I prefer to toast the pecans a bit for an even nuttier flavor. I still love the praline yumminess that brown sugar delivers, but I prefer to use a Swerve or Truvia-type substitute or even golden monkfruit.

1½ c coarsely chopped pecans

2 T butter

1 c butter

2 c + 2 T flour

2 T cornstarch

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

½ c granulated monkfruit or sugar or sweetener

1 c packed dark or light brown sugar substitute or golden monkfruit

2 lg eggs (room temp), beaten with 2 tsp vanilla extract

Garnish options: Pecan halves and extra coarsely chopped pecan pieces or Heath toffee bits

Sauté chopped pecans in 2 T butter in skillet over med heat 3-4 min, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, over med-high, bring the 1 c butter to a boil, stirring constantly, till particles at bottom turn golden. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch, baking soda & salt together; then whisk into the cooled browned butter. Quickly whisk in vanilla & eggs thoroughly. Then stir in dry ingredients, mixing till no flour streaks remain visible. Stir in the toasted pecans. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, pressing down to eliminate air pockets on the door. Refrigerate 3 – 4 hours. Scoop dough in 3 T balls and place 2” apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Press 1 pecan half into center of each (& more chopped bits around it, if desired). Bake in middle rack of oven at 350°F for 9-12 min, just till edges start turning golden. (Centers may appear uncooked, but they will firm up as they cool.) Let cookies rest for 5 min on the baking pan before cooling on wire rack. Makes about 1½ dozen.

KISS Tips: Browning butter is easiest in a light-colored skillet for the sake of visibility. Do not let it burn. Pour in large mixing bowl & let cool about 8-10 min. If you must chill your dough for more than 4 hours, be sure to bring to room temp for 30 minutes before forming cookies. Store airtight at room temperature. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have also been known to add some coarsely chopped macadamia nuts and/or chocolate chips.

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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