Friday, March 27, 2009
Learning the Keeblers' Secrets
My mother tells me that at a very young age, my diet was quite healthy. I ate wheat germ, "organic" produce, and did not touch a grain of sugar. Even my baby food was made by hand! Then I began spending summers with my grandmother who introduced me to cane sugar. She baked my birthday cakes (as did my mom) and cookies. I spent summers eating pints of Bluebell Pecan Pralines & Cream ice cream while watching Sanford and Son late nights. I'd return home at the end of those summers a little chubbier and asking for those things my grandmother supplied me I'm sure.
Somewhere along the way I met the Keebler Elves and fell in love with their Pecan Sandies. I can still remember how they felt on my tongue; dry to the touch, they crumbled between my teeth, crunchy and crumbly. Making sure I trapped each crumb between my lips (and those that escaped, into the palm of my hand where they were quickly transported to my mouth), I tasted the butter and nuts as I inhaled. Years later, I've eaten so many different cookies and cakes I can't remember (except for the German Chocolate Cake which is still a favorite of mine), but I'll always remember those sandies.
Last year, we had a group come in to our hotel wanting Pecan Sandies for one of their breaks. My chef asked what they were (his background is French pastries) and I tried to explain them to him. For the recipe, I turned to someone who hasn't let me down in the cookie department: Martha Stewart. My mom and I have baked cookies from her holiday cookie edition magazines for many Christmases, mailing and delivering them to friends and family. Pulling out my well worn copy, I wrote the recipe in my notebook, took it to work and made a sample for Chef. He liked them enough and I was reunited with an old favorite.
Now I keep a container of these cookies in my freezer, pre-scooped and ready to be popped into the oven for a quick trip down memory lane. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Pecan Sandies (adapted from Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies)
1/2 pound butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 ounces pecans, finely ground
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
Mix the ground pecans with the flour and salt, and add to the butter mixture. Beat on low to mix, then increase to medium for about 1 minute.
Using a scoop, portion cookies with bottoms. Freeze on sheet pan, remove, place in freezer safe container, or bake 8 minutes, flatten slightly, turn, and continue baking, 8-10 minutes depending on the size, until lightly browned around the edges.
Remove from oven and dust with confectioner's sugar. Let cool (if you can!) and serve.
Posted by Erin at 12:56 PM