Of course, now my kitchen looks as though a hot-air balloon filled with confectioner's sugar collided with a grove of pecan trees, but hey, it's Christmas!
- 2 sticks of butter, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped very fine or ground in a food processor
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar for dusting and rolling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Toast the pecans first. Place whole or halved pecans on an ungreased sheet pan and toast in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring a few times until the nuts are light brown and fragrant. Don't let them burn.
- Let cool in a bowl and set aside. Grind them in a food processor when they have cooled.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with vegetable shortening spray, or do what I do and place your Silpat baking mat on the sheet.
- Using a stand mixer or heavy duty hand mixer with the beater attachment, beat butter on medium to high speed about 2 minutes or until fluffy. Make sure that there are no clumps of butter.
- Add the confectioner's sugar and beat again, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently.
- Add the vanilla extract and salt and beat again.
- Turn the mixer to low. Slowly and carefully, add the flour and ground pecans to the mixing bowl 1 cup at a time, scraping the bowl after every addition. It should go without saying, but remember to turn off the mixer when you scrape the bowl!
- By now, the mixer will have started to slow down. Don't over mix, just mix only until the dry ingredients are blended.
- Using a cookie scoop, ice cream scoop or teaspoon, measure out a 1-inch piece of cookie batter, and roll them between your palms, shaping them into 1-inch balls.
- Place on prepared pans leaving a little room between cookies to allow for spreading.
- Bake in 350 degree over for 14 minutes or until cookies are almost firm and the edges are slightly browned. Let them cool just enough to handle.
- Measure out 1 cup of confectioners' sugar into a large bowl. Sift the sugar if necessary to remove all lumps.
- Working with about 5 - 6 warm cookies at a time, roll them in the bowl of confectioner's sugar until they're completely coated. Place on a clean parchment covered cookie sheet.
- When the cookies are all coated, start over again, and roll them in powdered sugar a second time. Shake off excess and place on cookies sheets.
- Yields about 4 dozen cookies.
- I like to place these in mini-muffin papers.
- If the butter hasn't all been whipped up, some of the cookies will spread out a bit when cooking. They still taste great.
- I always seem to make an unholy mess with the confectioner's sugar every time I make these. I think I saw one recipe that called for you to fill a brown paper bag with the sugar and putting the cookies in there a few at a time and gently tossing them around in the bag. It might be worth a try.