December 9, 2013

12 Days of Cookies
( + Pecan Sandies with Praline Filling )

No one's ever going to mistake me for a Southern girl.  I like my cornbread sweet, and my alligators safely behind glass at the zoo.

But man, I love their food.

And while this recipe isn't a Southern classic, I feel like it's at the very least Southern-adjacent.


Southern at heart.

These buttery, pecan-riddled thumbprints are finished with a praline filling that's so good that the only reason it made it into the cookies because it was too hot to lap straight from the pot.

They speak of magnolia-leaf wreaths, palm trees trimmed in white lights, and a holiday that's considerably less white but considerably more temperate.

And for those of us mired down in black ice and burst water mains, this might be just the holiday nibble we need.

Pecan Sandies with Praline Filling
barely adapted from Sheryl
at Lady Behind the Curtain

Unsalted Butter  [ 2 cups ]
Sugar  [ 1 cup ]
Vanilla Extract  [ 4 teaspoons ]
Flour  [ 4 cups ]
Salt  [ 3/4 teaspoon ]
Pecans  [ finely chopped, 2 cups ]

Brown Sugar  [ packed, 1 cup ]
Whipping Cream  [ 1/3 cup ]
Unsalted Butter  [ 1/4 cup ]
Salt  [ 1/8 teaspoon ]
Powdered Sugar  [ 1 cup ]
Vanilla Extract  [ 1 teaspoon ]

Make Cookies:
1.   In a large mixer bowl, beat Butter, Sugar and Vanilla until light and fluffy.
2.   Add Flour and Salt and beat just until blended.
3.   Add Pecans; mix well.
4.   Refrigerate Dough 30 minutes.

5.   Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
6.   Line baking sheets with aluminum foil  [ for easier cleanup ]; spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.
7.   Roll Dough into 1-inch balls.
8.   Place Balls on prepared baking sheets, placing 1 inch apart.  Flatten each Ball slightly.
9.   Bake 8 minutes.
10.   Remove from oven; carefully make an indentation in the center of each cookie with the bottom of the
             handle of a wooden spoon.
11.   Return to oven and bake until bottoms are golden brown  [ about 5 minutes ].
12.   Cool on wire racks.

Make Filling:
13.   In a smallish pot over Medium heat, mix Brown Sugar, Cream and Butter.
14.   Stirring frequently, bring to a boil.
15.   Boil 1 minute, continuing to stir occasionally; remove from heat.
16.   Gradually whisk in Powdered Sugar.
17.   Whisk in Vanilla.
18.   Whisking occasionally, allow to cool for 5 minutes.
19.   Working quickly, use a teaspoon to fill indentations in each cookie.  If Filling cools too much it will firm
             up and become impossible to spoon into Cookies.  In that case, whisk an additional tablespoon
             Whipping Cream into Filling.  Loosened Filling will not set up as firmly, however, as the original

Makes about 90 Thumbprint Cookies.

Another Great Christmas Cookie:
Almond Sugar Cookies

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