recipe-a-week #36: pecan logs and christmas cookies

It's 5:30 am, and I'm wide awake. I have been for over an hour, so I've given up and started the day. For the past few nights when I've woken up around that time (to pee, of course - thanks, Baby#2) there's been a strange, low kind of humming or rumbling sound outside that's kept me awake. Kind of like a transport truck idling on the street, or an alien spaceship waiting outside on the roof to come and whisk us away. So when I got up this morning, I went downstairs and opened a window to see if I could figure out what it is. Lobster fishing season started on Monday, and since it sounds a lot like a helicopter, I'm wondering if it might be the Coast Guard or something. That's my best guess. Or it could be a truck idling on the street, but it goes on for a few hours, so I can't see that making any sense. Either way, here I am.

Above is the recipe from Martha's Cookies book for Pecan Logs. I made a batch a few weeks ago, and froze half of the log-shaped dough to use over the holidays when cookies are called for. (I did the same with the dough for the delicious molasses cookies I made last weekend. Thanks to Ingrid for directing me to the recipe - they're yummy!) My mother-in-law makes a similar pecan cookie at Christmas most years, and it was at her house that I first tried them. They promptly made it to the top of my list of favourites. Martha's recipe has more pecans per cookie (I think they're fine with fewer, too), and sooo much butter that I can sense my arteries clogging just looking at them - so they're melt-in-your-mouth amazing. The original recipe is here, which I followed almost exactly, and it follows below. I think that toasting the pecans really does make the cookie 88% better, so don't be tempted to skip that step.

Pecan Logs

Makes about 4 dozen.

  • 2 cups pecans (about 5 1/4 ounces), toasted (I think you could easily use 1 1/2 cups and they would still be delicious)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process pecans in a food processor until finely ground; set aside.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and confectioners sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; mix until well combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and half of the ground pecans; mix until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic; refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
  3. Roll tablespoons of dough into 2-inch-long logs. Roll logs in remaining pecans. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until pale golden and slightly cracked, 14 to 15 minutes. Transfer logs to wire racks to cool, about 5 minutes. Sift confectioners' sugar over cookies before serving, if desired. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.
I've only ever participated in one cookie exchange before, and I'm excited to be invited to another one this week. I don't know what kind of cookies to make, though! There are so very many options. I want ones that are Christmas-y, that other participants aren't likely to have made, and ones which freeze well once baked. I think some serious perusing of Cookies is in order. Since the guys won't be up for another hour or so, I think I'll make myself a cup of tea and do just that. Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12/05/2009

    Yummy!!! I love pecans; it truly is my favorite nut (besides my dh...hah!). I will definitely try this one; thanks for posting!


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