Confession: sometimes I dare myself to cook things just to see if I can do it good enough to not totally embarrass myself. Tonight I was thinking of my sweet sis-in-law, Sonya, and her delectable lace cookies, and I said “Hot damn, let’s do it!” My first try was hideous. FrankenCookie hideous. But not one to give up easily when it comes to food, I persevered and pulled off a pretty good batch of delicate pecan delights.
I modified a recipe from What’s Cooking America (thank you, Linda Stradley!) and got to work.
What I used:
1/2 cup ground pecans
5 TBSP salted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 TBSP granulated sugar
2 TBSP dark Karo syrup
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
What I did:
Preheat oven to 300. Ovens vary, so keep this in mind with your own oven. I recommend erring on the side of caution and going lower with your first batch of cookies and then making adjustments if necessary.
Place 1/2 cup of pecan pieces in a plastic bag and crush with a large spoon until they are ground fine. Or use a food processor. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and corn syrup together until the sugar completely dissolves, stirring often. Increase the heat to medium-low and stir until the mixture starts to bubble slightly. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the flour and salt until mixed well. Then, stir in the ground pecans and vanilla extract. It should look almost like pralines.
Place small teaspoons full of batter, 3-inches apart, on prepared cookie sheets (about 6 per sheet). I reiterate “small” here because the cookies will spread quite a bit and you don’t want them to run together.
Bake the cookies about 6-8 minutes, until they are evenly brown, thin and have stopped spreading. In my oven, that was six minutes, TOPS. Past six minutes I got FrankenCookie (on the left, below). Yuck to the twenty-fifth power. But right at six minutes, I got beautiful results (on the right, below). Play around with your oven and do what’s best for you.
I recommend NOT allowing the edges to get too dark. It made my cookies too crisp and brittle on the edges when I tried to remove them from the cookie sheet. A uniform color across the cookie worked best for me.
When you remove the cookie sheet from the oven, allow the cookies to cool about three or four minutes and then attempt to lift them very gently with a spatula – the thinner the spatula the better.
Let them cool completely on a rack or on any flat surface. If you want to make shapes with them, such as decorative cylinders, work them while they are still a little warm.
This recipe made about 24 relatively large cookies. I would go smaller next time – a true teaspoon’s worth per drop – and probably get about 36 small cookies out of it.
If you are using only one cookie sheet, your batter may stiffen between batches – that’s perfectly fine. It will actually make it easier, I find, to measure out smaller drops, which results in better cookies.