Category Archives: Cookies

Pecan Sandies

We used to love the popular commercial version of this cookie, but they changed the recipe years ago, like so many other popular foods did, and ruined them. This recipe comes pretty close to what we remember, and it doesn’t use any odd ingredients. It is your basic 1-2-3 ratio cookie, with a few items added to highlight the pecan flavor. They have become one of our favorite cookies.

I roll the dough in balls and press them flat with a glass, but if you want a more perfect round, roll them into logs and slice them before baking.

Pecan Sandies

  • Servings: makes 3 dozen 2 inch cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Ingredients
  • 4 oz sugar—1 tablespoon dark brown sugar plus enough granulated sugar to make 4 oz.
  • 8 oz butter (2 sticks)—I used salted butter
  • 12 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Optional: 1-2 tablespoons milk if dough is too dry to form into balls and press
Preparation
  1. In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in salt and vanilla.
  2. Slowly incorporate flour until combined. As mentioned in ingredients list, the dough could be too crumbly to roll into balls and press, depending on such factors as temperature and humidity. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until dough holds together well, but is not sticky or too wet. Today I only needed 1 tablespoon.
  3. Mix in nuts until well combined.
  4. Form into small balls about 1 inch in diameter and place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
  5. With a flat-bottomed glass or other flat object dipped in flour, flatten each ball of dough to about 1/4-3/8 inch thick. Don’t press them too thin or they will be too crispy.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes or until edges are beginning to brown. Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely.

Chewy Cherry Pecan Cookies

This cookie is pretty much like your favorite chewy chocolate chip cookie, but with dried cherries and pecans.

I have both unsweetened dried Bing cherries and unsweetened dried tart Montmorency cherries; either would make a good cookie, but with all the sugar and vanilla, I felt the cookie could stand the tartness—and it does. I don’t think my pictures do the cookies justice, but maybe a picture never does. My chocolate-loving husband thinks they are great, but he warns you that if you eat too much dried fruit, you’ll get a tummy ache!

Chewy Cherry Pecan Cookies

  • Servings: makes 1 1/2 dozen large cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups dried tart cherries—pour boiling water over cherries to cover. Wait 5 minutes, then drain.
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar or equivalent sugar substitute
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar or equivalent sugar substitute (sugar substitutes may affect final cookie texture)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
Preparation
  1. Beat butter and sugars in bowl of stand mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla until until well combined.
  2. Slowly beat in dry ingredients—flour, soda, and salt—until well combined.
  3. Mix in pecans until combined, then add drained cherries. The cherries will be moist and soft, so overmixing could break them up; it’s better to mix them in with a large wooden spoon.
  4. Scoop dough with a 2 oz scoop onto lined cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. I put 6 on each sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until browned. Cookies will be soft and mounded. Let cool on cookie sheet about five minutes before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.

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Raisin Filled Biscuit Bars

I love a raisin filled cookie, but am not crazy about the process of rolling out and cutting the dough in circles and carefully filling them. I didn’t see why I couldn’t make them as a filled bar, kind of like a date nut bar, but without oatmeal. Instead I wanted a biscuit that was thin, not quite like the soft cookie of a Fig Newton, but thinner and crispier. So, I adapted two recipes:

My instructions, below, vary from the ones in the original recipes.

Raisin Filled Biscuit Bars

  • Servings: 15-18 bars
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Preheat oven to 350°; place parchment paper on the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking pan or a cookie sheet.

Filling
  • 1 2/3 cups raisins
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/3 cup walnuts (next time I would add these)
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Add raisins, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and walnuts if using to bowl of food processor. Pulse until the raisins are chopped finely, but not into a paste.
  2. Pour all into a saucepan and stir in water. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until thick. Cool in refrigerator while making cookie dough
Biscuit (Cookie) Dough
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  1. In bowl of food processor pulse all ingredients, except water, with the dough blade until the mixture is crumbly, but you can still see small chunks of butter.
  2. With the processor running, pour in enough water to bring the dough together. I used all 4 tablespoons of water. You want a soft, pliable, but not sticky dough.
  3. Divide the dough into two halves. Roll each half into a thin sheet 9″ x 13″.
  4. Place one sheet of dough on parchment lined pan.
  5. Spread cooled filling over dough. You don’t need a lot of filling, just a thin layer.
  6. Cover filling with second sheet of dough.
  7. Score top layer of dough lightly to indicate where to cut cookies. Sprinkle dough with decorator’s sugar.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned and crisp. While in pan, use a sharp-edged spatula to cut straight down from scoring marks to cut into bars. Remove bars to cooling rack.

I didn’t add nuts this time, but I think I would next time for a more complex flavor, and I don’t see why you couldn’t use white sugar or some other sweetener in the filling. You could also put an egg wash over the top layer of dough before sprinkling on sugar if you’re looking for more glamour.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

I was totally inspired by Carl’s “Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread” at Needs Baked to make these cookie cups in a muffin tin. I followed all of his inspirations and just made one ingredient substitution. Most of my changes are in the construction and appearance; the original recipe is made in a square pan which I adapted to muffin cups. The layered dessert has three components, a shortbread cookie base, a thick layer of peanut butter filling, and chocolate ganache to both adhere the filling to the cookie and to top the filling.

The shortbread base can be found at the Needs Baked link above and also at Allrecipes. Here are the steps I used to adapt the recipe to the muffin shape:

  • Mix the dough ingredients with a hand mixer until all the butter is well combined and the dough is pliable. Don’t give up when it is just at the crumbly stage.
  • Form the dough into a flat square on a piece of plastic wrap and cut into 12 pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a ball and place in paper-lined muffin cups.
  • Either press the dough down with your fingers or find something in your kitchen that fits the bottom of the cup. I dipped my little cup in sugar before pressing each ball into the cup.
  • Bake according to the recipe instructions, then cool while you make the filling and chocolate.

The peanut butter filling comes from Once Upon a Chef’s “Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares.” I followed the filling recipe exactly, using a stand mixer to mix up the stiff dough.

  • Like the shortbread, form the peanut butter filling into a flattened square and cut into 12 pieces. This turned out to be too much, because the balls were so large that they didn’t leave any room for the chocolate, so I cut them in half. I’ll tell you about the leftover filling later.
  • Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten with your fingers and set atop a thin layer of the ganache (below) on the cookie base. Press it down lightly.
  • Cover the filling with more chocolate to cover. Set in the refrigerator to set up.

The ganache comes from the same recipe as the filling. The only change I made was to use full-fat coconut milk (shaken to mix well) instead of cream, because my husband is lactose intolerant. The microwave instructions in the recipe are convenient.

  • You’ll save a lot of mess if you put your warm ganache in a squeeze bottle so you can control the amount without a lot of dripping where you don’t want it.

As you can see in these final photos, the layers are a little out of proportion, even though I didn’t use all the peanut butter filling. Here’s what I would do next time:

  1. I would cut the shortbread recipe to 1/2 or 3/4 of the original, because it is too thick compared with the filling.
  2. I would make all the filling, hoping to use more of it on top of a thinner cookie base.
  3. I would double the chocolate, making a thicker “glue” layer and a thicker top layer.

So I had about half the peanut butter filling left over. I rolled it into balls and drizzled them with the remaining chocolate. They won’t last.

filling_balls

Thanks Carl!

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