Nutmeg Pecan Sandies
We’re having a bumper pecan year at the Well Fed Community Garden, and we can’t seem to crack them or use them up fast enough. I felt inspired to make a batch of pecan cookies which were promptly devoured by the farm family, but I didn’t feel like the recipe I referenced used quite enough pecans. For the next round of cookies, I came up with this recipe, and I’m pretty happy with it. These cookies are sweet, salty, buttery, and nutty. They’re slightly dry and crisp, like shortbread, but the nutmeg balances out the richness of the pecans and the butter, so they end up tasting very light.
Oven: 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Yield: about 7 dozen small cookies
Time: 1.5 hours total, most of that spent rolling small dough balls.
Equipment: Food processor, large mixing bowl, oven, 4-6 cookie sheets, spatula, cooling rack
2 c white granulated sugar
2 sticks salted butter, cold and cut into pieces
3 cups shelled pecans (pieces are best: they will go through the food processor)
3 c white flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼-½ tsp salt
1.5 tsp nutmeg
Optional: 2-4 tbs water or milk
- Process sugar and 2 c pecans until fairly uniform in texture.
- Add butter a few tablespoons at a time, processing in between additions, until all the butter is incorporated.
- Add salt, nutmeg, and baking soda and process until incorporated
- Transfer dough into a large mixing bowl.
- Re-use the food processor by pulsing the last cup of pecans 2-3 times or until they’re fairly uniform in size.
- Add the rest of the pecans into the mixing bowl.
- Using your hands, mix the flour into the dough one cup at a time.
- Note: The pecans I used for this recipe were incredibly fresh, and I suspect have a higher moisture content than store-bought pecans. This recipe may come out a bit dry if you’re using store-bought pecans. The ideal texture of the dough is that it holds shape when squeezed in the palm but quite sandy and loose in the bowl. If necessary, add the optional milk or water 2 tbs at a time until the texture is right.
- Shape into small balls and place onto an ungreased cookie sheets about 1-1.5 inches apart. I aimed for my cookies to be about ½-¾ inch in circumference. They do not spread much.
- Bake for 12 minutes or until light golden brown on the bottom.
- Gently use a spatula to remove cookies from the baking sheet and place on drying rack to cool.
- When cook, package and/or devour. Especially delicious with coffee or eggnog.
It was family tradition to receive a mixture of whole, shelled nuts in our Christmas stockings when I was a child. It never occurred to me that was because nuts were in season in November and December, and that in times past they must have been a luxury families looked forward to in the colder months when so few things were available to harvest. I’m so glad I’ve had the chance to experience picking up and shelling large quantities of nuts from the pecan tree at the Well Fed Community Garden, putting nut trees on my radar for my future farm.