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Saturday, December 12, 2015

TASTE BUDS: Toasted Pecan Snickerdoodles & Christmas Cookie Party

Today I had my gigantic mom group over for our annual cookie exchange party. Last year we ended up with billions of cookies so this year I had everyone bring only 3 cookies to give per person attending. And we still ended up with a huge slew of cookies each. We had 18 moms, a few husbands, many of us with two kids now. My house, it was FULL to the brim with light and laughter. I had lots of yummy christmasy food prepared. Cheese swirl Christmas bites, caprese wreath bites, cocktail shrimp, and my famous Carolina pecans. And then a few others brought some yummy food to share.

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Speaking of Famous Carolina Pecans, I tried something new this year with my cookie recipe. I made cookies out of my ground Carolina Pecans. And let me tell you they were DIVINE!!!!! Seriously people, this brought my snickerdoodles to a whole new level of awesome. A new Christmas tradition for sure.

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    RECIPE: TOASTED PECAN SNICKERDOODLES
INGREDIENTS
For the toasted Pecans:
1 egg white
½ tablespoon water
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup whole pecans
1 cup quick one-minute oats
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Rolling Mixture:
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 225. Combine egg white and water in a large bowl and whisk until foaming. Gently stir in the pecans until coated. Put the sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large Ziploc bag. Add the nuts and toss until they are coated. Spread nuts on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 80 minutes. Every 20 minutes stir the nuts so they are evenly cooked. (this step can be done the day before)
2. Melt butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium to medium-high heat. Once the butter is completely melted it will begin to bubble and boil rapidly – whisk occasionally. Once the butter begins to foam rapidly and rise, start whisking constantly. The foam will die down. Butter has become brown with a wonderful nutty fragrance. Immediately remove butter from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool.
3. In a food processor add toasted pecans and the oats. Pulse until the oats and pecans are smooth and combined. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and whisk in the flour, baking powder and salt until well combined.
4. Next add the sugar and brown sugar to the cooled brown butter and beat on medium to medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2-3 minutes until well combined. Add the flour mixture and mix by hand until just combined – be careful, do not over stir.
5. Use a tablespoon to form dough into balls, then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes until edges just start to turn golden brown.
6. Remove cookie sheet from oven and press a toasted pecan into the top of the cookie. Let cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

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