PECAN COOKIES TWO WAYS

Time for Christmas cookies!  Here are several versions:

1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 pound pecans, divided

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the flour and baking soda in a small bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk or fork.

Set aside 1 cup of the nuts. Place the rest in a food processor and add the brown and granulated sugars and salt. Process for 1 minute, until the nuts are finely ground and the mixture has a few small clumps. Cut the butter into chunks and add to the processor. Add the egg and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture forms a mass. Add the flour mixture and pulse until mostly incorporated. Add the reserved nuts and pulse just until the flour is no longer visible and the nuts are coarsely chopped. Remove the dough (it will be slightly crumbly) and press it together. Divide it in half and form two 8-by-2-inch logs. Wrap the logs in foil and refrigerate at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. Slice the chilled dough 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick, pressing the edges together if the dough crumbles, and place slices at least 1 inch apart on ungreased pans.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges, rotating the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time. May be kept in airtight container for at least 4 months.

Variation:

1.  Sandwich the cookies with a favorite jam or spread like nutrella

2.  Place a little icing (use can icing) on top of cookie, crush 1/2 C of pistachios, dip icing side of cookie into pistachio crumbs.

3.  Microwave store bought chocolate dipping sauce according to directions.  Dip one side of cool cookie into chocolate sauce.  Place on wax paper and let cool in refrigerator.  Chocolate will harden.

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