These cookies are a unique breed. They aren’t crunchy like a biscotti. They aren’t chewy like a chocolate chip cookie. They aren’t aggressively sweet. Rather, these puffs are light bites of layered sweetness. They are soft to a fault, melting in your mouth almost as soon as they touch your tongue. Their sweetness comes less from the scant amount of sugar within the cookie, and more from the topping of powdered sugar added after baking. These cookies were a revelation to me, and they helped make the depths of winter feel a little less dim.Jump to Recipe
This recipe is inspired by both Pecan Puffs from the classic Joy of Cooking cookbook, and by Smitten Kitchen’s pecan sandies. The version in the Joy of Cooking is described as “rich and devastating”; ours are somewhat rich, but are light enough that they won’t knock your socks off. The pecans in these cookies are ground, so while you get to appreciate the deep nutty flavor, they shouldn’t upset any “texture eaters” in your household.
The real trick to attaining layers of deep pecan flavor is to roast your pecans. Spread out your pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes. Watch them closely and do not overbake! Even a short time too long in the oven will result in sadly burned and unpleasant pecans. Despite the riskiness of this procedure, the flavor it provides is absolutely worth the reward.
If you were using diced pecans, lovely. If you were using whole pecans, that’s fine too. Once your pecans have cooled, transfer them into a blender or food processor. Grind them very briefly, until they have achieved the texture of coarse flour. (Again, don’t leave them for too long! Too much grinding will turn the pecans into a paste, and the texture of your cookies will be slightly off.) Once your pecans have been ground, stir in your flour.
In seprarate bowl, use an an electric mixer to cream together your butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla before mixing in the pecan/flour mixture. Mix until completely combined.
Place tablespoons of batter on a greased cookie sheet. Bake cookies at 300 degrees F for 30 minutes. After they are baked, dust them with powdered sugar while still warm. If you would prefer a glaze instead of a simple powder on your cookies, return the dusted cookies to the oven for 3 minutes before allowing to cool.
Your cookies are now ready to enjoy! Let me know if you try this recipe by tagging #WhiskAverseBaking on social media, or by leaving me a message in the comments.
- 1 cup pecans
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Optional: Spread pecans on a cookie sheet. Once the oven is preheated, bake the pecans for 3-5 minutes, until they smell nutty and maple-like. Watch closely and do not overbake; they will burn easily!
- Place cooled pecans in a food processor and grind them into a powder. Combine pecan powder with flour.
- In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in vanilla before adding the flour pecan mixture. Mix until completely combined.
- Place tablespoons of batter on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 300 degrees F.
- While cookies are hot, dust with powdered sugar. If a glaze is preferred, return sugared cookies to pan and place in hot oven for 1 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.