Now pecans, one of my favourite nuts has a wonderful history and had their humble beginnings in northern Mexico and the southern part of the United States. From archaeoligical finds, the North American Indian tribes planned their activities around the maturity of the pecan nut. The word pecan actually comes from the Indian Algonquian word 'pacane'. Algonquins were a North American tribe located around the Ottawa and St Lawrence rivers.
It was in the 16th Century that the Europeans discovered this wonderous tree nut that can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes... One of the fattiest nuts (over 70%!), no wonder why they are such an important ingredient in celebratory dishes throughout the Americas.
I remember the days I had my little organic bakery company in Australia. As well as selling at the farmers markets on the weekends at a little too early in the morning (especially in the winter!), I also sold my products to cafes and restaurants around my hometown.
These little melty crunchy pieces of deliciousness were particularly popular in the cafes. Nibbled alongside a hot flat white or a loose leaf brewed tea - it's really a match made in heaven.
Makes 12 x cookies
150g pecan nuts
45g or 1/4 cup of icing sugar
1 tsp good vanilla extract
80g or 1/2 cup plain flour
60g unsalted butter
pinch of fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 180'C
Throw half of the nuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 4 minutes. Take out and allow them to cool before finely chopping them. Reserve the rest of unbaked the nuts for decorating.
In a mixer, or if you are feeling strong - by hand, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until lovely and pale.
Add the chopped nuts and then sift in the flour
Mix well until all combined. Shape into a nice flat disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes or until the dough is nice and firm.
Pull off small pieces of dough and roll into 4cm balls, flatten slightly and then place a whole pecan on top for decorating.
Place on a non stick tray and bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly before enjoying these melty little cookies with a lovely hot cup of coffee.