Monday, September 21, 2009
What's For Tea?
Short and sweet today. Lots to do and the clock is ticking.
Usually I'm a soft and chewy cookie kind of gal. Dry crumbly cookies remind me of the nasty things you get at the grocery store. Yuck. Nothing says fresh like a warm, soft, gooey cookies.
I've decided, though, that there is a time and place for the dry, crumbly, sandy-textured cookies. Tea time is a good time and place for them. They won't get chocolate smudges on your white gloves, and, if no one is looking, they are great for dunking into your tea.
This cookie has a complex flavor with toasted pecans and the echo of chocolate from cacao nibs competing for first place. Buttery and ever so crunchy, they've won a place in my cookie jar.
Plus, they have the ease and convenience of make the dough today, slice and bake tomorrow. You can even bake some for now and freeze some of the dough for later. Beautiful!
Nibby Pecan Cookies
- adapted from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich
1 cup (3-1/2 oz) pecan halves
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
generous 1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp bourbon (optional, I didn't use it)
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1- Preheat oven to 325 deg. F.
2- Spread the pecans on a cookie sheet. Toast them in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly colored. Let cool, then chop. (Turn the oven off.)
3- Combine the butter, the sugar, salt, bourbon, if using, and vanilla in a medium bowl and, using a large spoon or an electric mixer on high speed, beat until smooth and creamy but not fluffy (about 1 minute with a mixer). Stir in the pecans and cocoa nibs. Turn off the mixer and add all the flour at once. Beat on low speed, just until the flour is fully incorporated, or stir in by hand.
4- Form the dough into a 12-inch log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. (The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. If you put it in the freezer, be sure to label it so you know how to bake it.)
5- When you are ready to bake, position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 deg. F.
6- Using a sharp knife, cut the cold dough log into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place the cookies at least 1-1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
7- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the cookies are light golden brown at the edges, rotating the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking. Let the cookies firm up on the pans for about 1 minute before transferring them to a cooling rack with a metal cookie spatula. Let cool completely. For best flavor and texture, store the cookies in an airtight container for at least 24 hours before serving. The flavor improves as they sit. They can be stored airtight for at least 1 month.