Monday, December 27, 2010

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies

I'm sorry. I was supposed to give you this before Christmas, but I just couldn't get to it by then. On the bright side, if you didn't get anything as a gift this year, or you got socks and some lame tie or World's #1 Dad coffee mug, then you can think of this as a special, extra-inning prize. After all, you can still bake them for New Year's Eve festivities.

I've got a plan this year. All the holiday cookies, bars, cakes, muffins, pies, etc become breakfast. Give up that well-balanced nutritional breakfast and replace with the calories of sugars and fats in dessert form! Brilliant!

You do have to plan one day in advance, to freeze the logs for slicing into rounds. That's it. The rest is super duper easy. Don't like pecans? You can sub any other nut you like- walnuts, cashews, pistachios.


Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies
makes about 4.5 dozen

4 C AP flour
1.5 ts kosher salt
4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
6 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1.25 C sugar
2 TB vanilla extract
2.5 C whole pecans

Fire up the hotbox to 350F. Coarsely chop 1 1/2 cups of the pecans and spread them on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or so, until the nuts are fragrant. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt, whisk to combine. Beat together the butter and cream cheese in your stand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat for another minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour and salt until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the toasted pecans.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide the dough in half. Roughly shape each half into a 8-inch log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and place in the freezer until firm, about 4 hours, but overnight is best (can sit in the freezer for up to two weeks and about a month if wrapped and then placed in an airtight container). Preheat the oven to 350F with racks on the upper and lower thirds. Finely chop the remaining 1 cups of pecans. Unwrap one of the logs of dough and roll in the pecans. You're gonna hafta press them nuts real good to get em to stick to the log. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space 1-inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake cookies for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are a lightly golden. Rotate the cookies halfway through, switch the sheets to the other rack and rotate them front to back as well. Let cool on the sheets for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. You can store these at room temp or in the fridge for a couple days, or freeze them for a few months. See you next year!!

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