These salty, sweet cookies are a nut-lovers dream. Even I, who am in the camp of “nuts only belong in certain desserts”, think they are pretty amazing. The dollop of frangipane adds another layer to the look and taste. These were David’s favorite of the many cookies I’ve made this month so far.
Requires 30 minutes of chilling time.
from: Bon Appetit
makes: about 2 dozen cookies
2 cups pecan halves
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
dough and assembly
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided; plus more for serving (optional)
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until slightly darkened in color and fragrant, 6-8 minutes. Let cool; set 1 1/4 cups pecans aside for making the dough.
Pulse granulated sugar and remaining 3/4 cup pecans in a food processor until nuts are very finely ground (be careful to stop before they become a paste), 30-60 seconds. Add egg white and pulse just to blend, then add butter, espresso powder, salt, and almond extract. Pulse just until mixture is smooth and combined.
Scrape frangipane into a small bowl and chill at least 30 minutes before using. Make ahead: Frangipane can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled. You will have more than you need, but try slathering leftovers on toasted brioche and baking until lightly browned (sort of like an almond croissant).
dough and assembly
Pulse flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 cup reserved pecans in a food processor until nuts are very finely ground, about 1 minute.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined and no streaks remain. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated, about 1 minute. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough until it’s firm enough that you can scoop it and it will hold its shape, 30-45 minutes.
Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350 F. Place 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Working in batches, scoop out tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into balls between your hands, then roll in powdered sugar, knocking off any excess. Transfer to 2 parchment lined baking sheets as you work, spacing 2″ apart.
Bake until puffed but edges are still soft, 6-8 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and make an indent in the center of each cookie with the handle end of a wooden spoon or a similar heatproof object. Spoon a heaping 1/2 teaspoonful of frangipane into each and top with a pecan half from remaining 1/4 cup. Return cookies to oven and continue to bake until edges are set and very lightly browned, 6-8 minutes longer. Let cool on baking sheets.
Just before serving, dust cookies with more powdered sugar if desired.
Do ahead: Cookies can be baked up to 5 days ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.