In the last month we said goodbye to 2015 and welcomed a new year. My family’s holidays were low key, and that usually means that I baked quite a lot.
While shopping with a friend, a few weeks before, I was in a local store and I saw Tish Boyle‘s new book: Flavorful. As I said before, I think she is an exceptional baker, and her recipes have guided my creations for years now. I immediately ordered the book at my library, and as soon as I received it I started experimenting.
I have always had a preference for butter and nut cookies. They are not too sweet, and I personally enjoy the flavor of toasted nuts in them. Here is the recipe for these tender and rich cookies. They require some planning, since the dough needs to be refrigerated for a couple of hours. Please know that if you decided to skip the cream cheese filling, these cookies would still be delicious, nevertheless.
Gluten-free Pecan Cookies
Pecans 1 cup (100 gr)
Sugar 2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons divided (158 gr)
Simona’s Flour Mix 2 and 1/4 cup (350 gr)
Salt 1/4 teaspoon
Butter, at room temperature 16 Tablespoons (226 gr)
Egg 1 large
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pecans on a lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, checking and stirring after 5 minutes. Let them cool and turn the oven off.
Place the cooled pecans and 2 tablespoons of sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until the pecans are finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in the flour and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 2/3 cups (133 gr) of sugar and beat at high speed until very light. Reduce the speed to medium and add the egg, mixing until blended and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and add the pecan mixture in three additions, mixing until blended. Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a 5-inch square. Wrap each square and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm enough to roll.
Once again, preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap one of the squares and roll the dough out to a thickness between 1/8 and 1/4 inches – I usually wrap the dough in plastic wrap to roll it out without using extra flour. Using a 4-inch flower shaped or round cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can. After arranging the cookies on the baking sheet, use a 1/2 inch pastry tip, or a cupcake corer, to cut a whole from the center of half the cookies.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until they are lightly browned around the edges. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet. Gather the dough scraps, flatten them into a disk, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before re-rolling.
Repeat the rolling, cutting and baking process with the remaining square of dough, and dough scraps.
Cream Cheese Filling
Butter at room temperature 4 Tablespoons (56 gr)
Cream cheese at room temperature 1/2 cup (113 gr)
Confectioners’ sugar, sifted 1/2 cup (64 gr)
Maple syrup 1 Tablespoon
Vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then the maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat until the filling is very smooth and light, about 5 minutes.
Assemble the sandwich cookies
Spoon a tablespoon-sized dollop of the filling onto each whole cookie and spread it to within about 1/4 inch of the edge. Top with a cookie with a cut-out center, pressing it down lightly.
Refrigerate the cookies for about 20 minutes to set the filling before transferring the cookies to an airtight container. Store the cookies in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.