Monday, April 22, 2013

Chocolate Butter Pecan Sandwich Cookies


Do you ever find yourself categorizing things in your life into the categories "worth it" or "not worth it"?  I'm constantly re-examining and eliminating non-essentials or re-working things so they work better for me.

For example stretchy pants;  I've been debating this very issue for the last 20 years.  They are totally "worth it" when it comes to being able to stuff yourself silly and not have the blood flow cut off to your brain as your jean waistband strangles your waist.  Yet on the other hand they are "not worth it" when it comes to alerting you that said waist is spreading faster than cold cookie dough in a hot oven.

Part of the problem stems from the fact life just gets faster and faster and I just get slower and slower.  I want to milk as much out of life as I can and try to find ways to fit it all in without anything squeezing out on the sides. (That last sentence seems somehow shamelessly puny.)

Oh to hell with the waistline, these cookies are so worth it, even though I had to re-write the recipe for you guys because I thought the original was a little hard to use.

Slightly adapted from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
Chocolate Pecan Cookies
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup toasted, cooled, and finely chopped pecans

Brown Butter Pecan Filling
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup toasted, cooled, and chopped pecans
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Chop 1 1/4 cups pecans in food processor and place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 6 minutes. Let cool.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and cream together on medium-high speed until very pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.

3. Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, egg, and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed until combined. Stir in the nuts.

4.  Chill the cookie dough for 1 hour or longer before shaping.

5. When you are ready to shape the cookies preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Portion the dough using a 1/3 ounce cookie scoop or about 2 teaspoons dough per cookie. You should get about 36 cookies. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets or silpats. Use your fingers to press them flat, about 1/4” thick.

6. Bake the cookies, one sheet pan at a time, until the cookies are cooked through and set, about 7 minutes.

7. Remove the pan from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing the cookies to finish cooling on a rack prior to filling.

8. To make the filling, first brown the butter. Put the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt and then continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the butter solids are browned and smell toasty, about 3 minutes or more. Watch carefully so the butter does not burn. As soon as the butter is a dark golden brown, remove it from the heat and pour it into a small bowl.

9. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the brown butter, pecans, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and pulse until a thick paste forms, scraping down the bowl a few times.

10. To make the cookie sandwiches, turn one cookie flat side up and spread with about 2 teaspoons of filling and then top with another cookie, pressing gently. Repeat until all the cookies are sandwiched together.

On the home front, it's been yet another crazy week in which we added two more members to the family.  My brother and sister-in-law brought home twins from the hospital.  I made these cookies to help celebrate the twins arrival.  Being the Aunty to 19 nieces and nephews; so "worth it", especially when a teeny-tiny newborn wraps their little fingers around yours to greet you.

Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing Recipe


Enjoy,

Gina

13 comments:

  1. Ohmygoodness--double-decker delightful!

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  2. Yes, yes and yes. Yes to always questioning "is it worth it", yes to stretchy pants. and YES to these cookies!!!!

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  3. These cookies definitely look worth it, wish I had a few for my Monday snack! And stretchy pants? Hello, daily uniform!

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  4. Gina,
    Your cookies are amazing, and a wonderful celebration for the twins. The cookies are definitely worth it.

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  5. These cookies are definitely worth it!

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  6. Ohhhhh! Those milk bottles are so cute! I've never made with royal icing but that's something I'm a little bit interested in it (I know mine wouldn't be neat for sure! <- no patience!). I need to make sandwich cookies one day. As you can imagine, I haven't made one...and I want to eat it!! Your cookies look perfect as always. Too bad I don't have baker neighbors around here.

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  7. I'm with you - time to go shopping for sweatpants and ingredients for these cookies :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  8. Those cookies with the butter pecan filling are callingggggg me...

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  9. Oh man, stretch pants and cookies are both definitely in the "Worth It" column for me too. It's no wonder we're friends :) I would like to try these chocolate pecan cookies in person so I will soon be calling for another blogger friends brunch (worth it! ;)

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  10. Only form looking on your recipe I feel like running. I know that as soon as I make it, I'll eat most of it.

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  11. Twins! Congrats! And these cookies definitely are "worth it" - they look wonderful. Really nice - thanks.

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  12. These cookies are in the "worth it" category. I better grab my stretchy pants before I bake a batch;) Congrats on the new twins in the family. I have younger brother twins and it was so much fun:)

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