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The all time family favorite

We LOVE this cookie!!! It is work, but it is worth it! For melt in your mouth pecan heaven, this is the cookie for you. There is not much sugar in the dough, hence the double rolling in powdered sugar. Many cultures have variations of this cookie and they may change the nut to almonds or walnuts, but we love pecans. And the finger shape is a bit more elegant than a fat ball as some folks do.

Unbaked pecan crisps on baking sheet.

Unbaked pecan crisps

My mom always made a double batch and it was never enough for all 8 of us. I make a double batch for just the 4 of us, so you can imagine. Mom would enlist my brother Mark and me to help her with the rolling in powdered sugar. Our trick was to purposely break them while rolling – so they were no good and we just had to eat them. That was believable to her, especially in the first rolling while they’re still warm. But she caught on and would just giggle under her breath, unless we started “breaking” too many!

This is the single recipe. I hope it will become your family favorite too!

Baked pecan crisps on cooking sheet.

Baked cookies cooling for 5 minutes

¾ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup of pecan halves, ground in a food processor
2 cups flour
¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter very well. Add sugar gradually and beat well. Add vanilla. Sift the flour and salt together and then stir in the ground pecans and add this mixture gradually to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix thoroughly. The dough may be crumbly but gather it together with your hands and the warmth from your palms and all the butter in the dough will enable it to hold together.

Pecan crisps.

Finished pecan crisps

Gently squeeze it. Shape dough into finger lengths. Place on greased or Siltpat lined baking sheets about 1” apart. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Then while still warm, roll in sifted powdered sugar. Cool cookies on rack and then roll again in the sugar until they have taken all that they can hold.

Truly Southern Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is my all-time favorite dessert! My father was a correspondent banker for a large bank in St. Louis, and his territory was the Southeast area. He traveled all over doing business with smaller banks in the region. And as he became close friends with many of these folks, we used to visit them on family vacations.

I learned to water ski on Lake Norfork in Mountain Home, Arkansas at Powers and Louise Fowler’s weekend lake house. They had a really fast powerboat (Powers liked speed) as well as a pontoon party barge, (Louise loved a party). One time, when I was about 12 years old, for some reason, I was with my parents alone. None of my other 5 brothers were with us and we visited the Fowlers.

So my mom says, “Louise, you make the best pecan pie and it’s Mary’s favorite. I wondered if we could have your recipe.”

Mrs. Fowler said in her lovely Southern drawl, “Well honey, why don’t we just go and make Mary one right now, and of course you can have the recipe!”

Cocktail in hand, she got up, went straight into the kitchen and made me a pecan pie right then and there.

And I have been making them for years. These days I use less sugar and Karo syrup as I like things less sweet. If you like it really sweet, go with the full cup measurements.

3 eggs beaten (take out early to be at room temperature)
1 scant cup of packed light brown sugar
1 scant cup of Karo light syrup (I know it’s not good for you – just close your eyes, just this once OR you can                                                          substitute 7/8’s of a cup of raw agave syrup)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs with a whisk, add in all remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a 9” pie crust, which has not been pricked, but has been baked for 5 – 10 minutes, weighted with beans or rice in parchment paper.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes. Test with a knife or toothpick in the middle – should come out clean and the center slightly set. Cool completely before cutting and serving. Bake this in the morning before your feast.

Serve with whipped cream sweetened with a touch of powdered sugar and some vanilla. I use 1/2 pint of heavy cream, 1 tbs. powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla and beat until soft peaks form.

For me, this is the perfect ending to a Thanksgiving meal!

Pecan pie.