Friday, November 11, 2011

Old-Fashioned Spiced Pecan Cookies

Wednesday afternoon Julia came home from school to find her favorite thing, cookie dough, waiting for her.

"You always bake on Wednesdays, don't you?" she asked. Well, yes, usually by then whatever I've baked on the weekend is gone. And the blog, not to mention the family, must be fed.

I explained this to her, with the caveat that I probably wouldn't bake quite so much once I had finished with the cookbook.

That announcement led to mixed feelings for both of us: less baking will probably be better for the waistline but worse for the tastebuds.

But let me talk about these cookies: this is a standard molasses/spice cookie, on the chewy/cakey side, with crunch provided by lots and lots of pecans. Mine would have been better had my Trader Joe's pecans actually been fresh (expiration date is in 2012 and they've been in the freezer since I returned from California, but they're somewhat on the rancid side. Grrr...). But still, they're good cookies, and apparently the dough is good enough for me to have received a text in the middle of the day: "Please don't bake all of the cookies!"

Here's the recipe.

Old-Fashioned Spiced Pecan Cookies

1/2 c. (4 oz.) butter, room temperature
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1-1/2 t. ginger
1 t. finely ground white pepper
3/4 t. cloves
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 c. (7 oz.) dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 c. (2.75 oz.) molasses
1/4 c. (2 oz.) cold or lukewarm coffee (1/4 c. water + 2 t. instant coffee)
1 c. (4 oz.) sifted flour
1-1/2 c. (6.75 oz.) sifted whole wheat flour
1-1/2 c. (6 oz.) toasted chopped pecans
About 36 pecan halves, toasted

Beat the butter with the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, cloves, salt, and nutmeg until soft and fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar and beat for 2-3 minutes at medium-high speed. Scrape down and beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the molasses and coffee. Stir in the flours and then the chopped pecans. Transfer the dough to a smaller bowl or a Tupperware and refrigerate overnight. Hope that there will still be dough in the morning.
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Line 3 cookie sheets with foil, parchment, or silicone. Scoop out 36 balls of dough and place them on the cookie sheets, then use wet hands to roll them into nice round balls. Top each with a pecan half. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed. Cool on racks. These keep well and go nicely with a cup of tea.

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