Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Freezer Full of Pecans

I have some AMAZING in-laws in Texas- my brother-in-law and sister-in-law live with their families in the DFW area (which is like...almost crazy overwhelming for me to experience after spending the past sevenish years living in my rather rural corner of Tennessee...) but my FIL and his wife live, well...a little off the beaten path.  

Drive an hour into the middle of nowhere.  Take a left.  Lose cell reception.  Drive an hour or so down a rural two-lane road with posted speed limits of 70mph (who knew such a thing existed!).  Get turned around lost a couple of times.  Wonder repeatedly how in the world this part of the world ever became populated to start with.  Arrive at their beautiful piece of property.  That's- without exaggeration- exactly how you get to their home.

I might even be leaving out a couple steps.

Anyway, my in-law's neighbors (yes!  They have NEIGHBORS WAY OUT THERE!!) grow pecans.
Amazing pecans.

I've been the lucky recipient of two huge freezer bags, bursting at the seams with shelled pecans in the last year or so and I've made great use of them.  I keep them in the freezer and break them out often for My Favorite Chicken Salad.  I wanted to bake something yesterday and I stumbled across a recipe for the Best Pecan Sandies on Allrecipes.com.  So glad I did!  I honestly hadn't ever considered making a Pecan Sandy before, and every one that I've ever tried has come from a Keebler package.

Oh my word, these things are so freaking delicious.  These are quite literally the most dangerous baked good I've had in my kitchen since starting my diet, I have ZERO self control around them.  They are the ONLY thing I've ever had in my kitchen I couldn't say no to- keep in mind my daughter is a Girl Scout and I sell gourmet popcorn, so we almost always have some kind of delicious goodie hanging around.  These are just that good!

My picky daughter loves them.  My husband is inhaling them.  My son, who we struggle to get to eat...well, everything...grabbed one off of the counter.

These guys are winners!

The dough has to chill for 4 hours, so they do require a little advance planning, but the actual work involved is small- just throw the ingredients in the mixer, shape into logs and chill, slice and bake.  Super simple.

These are flavorful, they melt in your mouth, and mostly they're just delicious.  Unlike any cookie I've ever made before, for sure.

If you're lucky enough to miraculously find yourself with a glut of pecans like me, make this now!  If not, a trip to the store is definitely in order- these little guys are worth it!

3/4 cup pecans
1 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spread pecans out on a baking sheet.
Bake pecans in the preheated oven until fragrant and lightly toasted, 5 to 10 minutes. Cool completely and chop in a food processor.

2. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy; beat in egg yolk, vanilla extract, and salt. Slowly mix pecans into butter mixture. Stir flour into pecan mixture until dough begins to come together.
3. Roll the dough into a ball and divide it in half. Roll each dough half into a 1 1/2-inch thick log. Wrap each log in wax paper and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet parchment paper.
5. Unwrap dough logs and cut into 1/3-inch thick slices. Transfer slices to the prepared baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven until golden around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes.

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