March 2, 2011

Two ways to pecan

So I was burrowing through the fridge, weeding out unintentional “science experiments” and gathering up candidates for the big “leftovers medley” when I chanced upon an unopened bag of pecans. I must have bought it thinking I would use it, but didn’t. What to do now? ---

I went burrowing through my pile of to-be-organized recipes, and came up with: “rustic maple pecan cookies” by Carole Walter, a gluten-free “Pecan Sandies” recipe from "Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food for Kids" and a Brussels sprouts recipe that included buttered pecans (yum!). I have made the first two recipes but not the last, as the Brussels sprouts season may be over (they can be harvested through June in some places though, so I am going to keep my eyes open!).

The Carole Walter recipe can be found here. I did not make any changes, but I did not have imitation maple extract and did not want to get any, so I increased the vanilla extract to 11/2 teaspoon, and added another ½ tsp of the Fiori de Sicilia extract from King Arthur Flour. Note that if you bake these cookies with your windows thrown open you will soon have neighbors knocking your door down! They smell divine, and taste delicious! Another thing I will change when I make it next time is to toast the pecans before hand, to enhance the flavor of the cookie.

I was happy to discover the Pecan Sandies recipe. I have friends who need to eat gluten-free and most times when I have them over I reach for the Pamela Product’s Chocolate Chip Cookie mix. They are very good indeed and I always stock up on them so we eat them not infrequently ourselves. Still, it is nice to be able to make something different from time to time. I had my friend K in mind when I made these cookies, which from the sound of the recipe, resemble Pecan Crescent cookies. Well, these turned out much better than I had expected! The ingredients are simple and the process pretty straight-forward too. The dough does seem to be rather wet and sticky, so I had to re-flour my hands with rice flour every time after I finish shaping one cookie. The recipe called for the cookies to be shaped into elongated balls but I decided to make them crescent shaped instead. The cookies spread out quite a bit during baking and became flatter. They are also rather fragile, so when I picked them up and tossed them in powder sugar, bits and pieces kept breaking off, so I kept eating them- yeah, they were scrumptious! For the second batch of cookies, I decided to leave the cookies on the baking sheet and dust them over with powdered sugar instead, and then left them to cool completely on the cookie sheet. That worked better!

I did feel the cookies were a bit grainy, though I guess that is why they are called “sandies”! No one else complained about the texture though! I gave K a tin of the cookies and she thought they were simply delicious. My picky husband also thought them good and the texture was fine by him. The girls wished there were more of the cookies. One said to the other, “Mmmmmmm, these were made in heaven!” and the other replied, “Mom made them in heaven!” I hope you will enjoy this recipe as well!

 Gluten-free egg-free Pecan Sandies
adapted from "Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food for Kids"

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2/3 cup potato starch flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (I recommend toasting them first)
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar 
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Place rack in middle of oven.
  2. Beat butter until soft, then gradually add the sugar, beating until light and creamy. Blend in the water and vanilla.
  3. In another bowl combine the flours with the chopped pecans.
  4. Add flour mixture gradually to the creamed mixture. Mix well between additions.
  5. With lightly rice-floured hands, shape one-inch size balls of dough into crescent shapes, flattening a little. Place them at least one-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake cookies in oven for 25-30 minutes, until very light brown. Let cookies sit for 10 minutes on cookie sheet, then sift powdered sugar over the cookies.
  7. Let cookies cool completely on cookie sheet before carefully removing with spatula. 
Make about 40 cookies.


And before I sign off, can I tell you about the series of unfortunate events that occurred in my kitchen last Friday? First, my toddler decided she wanted to help with baking, and before I could say “one”, she had pushed her chair to the counter-top, grabbed one of the eggs (set out to warm to room temperature) and smacked it flat on the counter-top. The lemon pound cake I made nearly burned when I had to run out to help my husband, and when I opened the oven, I discovered some of the batter had managed to seep out of the bundt pan and cooked itself on the oven floor. While preparing to make dinner, I opened the freezer to have a chunk of frozen lamb fall to hit a glass bowl of egg whites (fridge door was open as well and the glass bowl was close to the front) and shatter the bowl. There goes more macaroons, and another glass bowl! Dinner was late, with many interruptions from my toddler and during dinner, after three big gulps of red wine I announced that the kitchen gods wanted me to stop cooking, so I will not even boil water the following day! And with the trend of things, perhaps if I tried to toast a bagel I will manage to set our entire street on fire. And indeed I did not cook at all on Saturday! That was a bit long, but I thought some of you may commiserate! Share your kitchen disasters, if you will!


  1. Pre-children, I made a batch of sweet and sour chicken with baking soda instead of cornstarch - BLECH!

  2. oh no!! I can imagine how crazy it was!!
    And that reminds me of some cooking disasters I've had, argh!

  3. I am so excited to follow you here Janis.. what a beautiful blog...

  4. As the lucky receipient of these pecan sandies, I can testify to their yumminess! :) Thanks J for being such a kind and generous friend. Tonight it's brownie night! Yum!

  5. You are most welcomed, Kelly! So glad you enjoyed the pecan cookies! :-)