This is another installment in the Women in Physics cookie extravaganza. Jen requested pecan sandies, and I was only too happy to oblige. Unfortunately, I made them on a week when she was off gallivanting across California with her parents, so consider this “take 1”. It’s probably good that I have an excuse to make these again because an accidental substitution of normal granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar had a surprisingly strong effect on the cookie’s structure: instead of adorable cookie mounds, they were flat as a pancake. Thankfully, covering a cookie of any shape in sugar is a popular move, so no one cared that the cookies were the wrong shape. Except for me.
This was the first time I could remember even eating pecan sandies, so in case you have suffered from cookie deprivation as I have, let me explain what you’re in for. Pecan sandies are like sugar cookies, but more moist and with the added interest of buttery pecans. Add to that a covering of granulated sugar on the outside that sort of caramelizes during baking. This may be my cookie discovery of the year.
Pecan Sandies (An attempt on the recipe from Buns In My Oven)
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar (for less flat cookies, use powdered sugar)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4-1/2 cup granulated sugar for coating the cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Beat the butter and sugars (not the sugar for coating the cookies) in a medium bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again. If you aren’t as lazy as me, you can mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt) in a separate bowl and add them to the butter mixture, or, if you’re me, you can pile all the dry ingredients on top of the butter mixture and give them a halfhearted stir before beating everything together. Chop up the pecans and add them to the batter too. Finally, roll the dough into balls about an inch wide. Dunk each ball in the extra sugar and roll it around to coat it in sugar thoroughly. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. The edges and bottoms of the cookies will just be golden and the smell will be divine.