In Louisiana it’s pronounced “prah-lean”. Here in Savannah they say “pray-lean”. But the yum factor is universal. If you aren’t familiar with pralines, they are pecans cooked in a caramel-like syrup. The mixture is scooped out into mounds and left to cool and harden. The result is a super sweet pile of chewy nutty yumminess.
It’s hard to do a week on Louisiana inspired desserts and not mention pecans. But here’s my problem – The Man does NOT do pecans. And his big sweet tooth would be severely disappointed if I put a piece of Bourbon pecan pie in front of him (I know, it’s crazy…). But despite his aversion to the innocuous pecan, The Man can’t deny a cookie….and he does like pecan sandies….So let’s jazz up a batch of sandies with some praline pecans!
When brainstorming over this recipe, I had considered driving to the Candy Kitchen and picking up some pralines to use. Making pralines is sticky business, and I wasn’t sure I was up for it. But picking them up at the store had two major drawbacks – first, it would make this difficult for anyone who didn’t live near a praline store. Second, an actual praline has too much of the candy around the pecans – I really just want the flavor and the pecans….too much caramel candy would affect the cookie texture.
So I found a Paula Deen recipe for Praline Pecan Morsels. Perfect – baked in the oven, lightly coated pecans, only three ingredients, and no candy thermometers required! After 20 minutes in the oven, 20 minutes of cooling, and 5 minutes of chopping (I had to get them fine enough so as not to offend The Man!) I was ready for cookie making.
While looking into cookie recipes, I noticed that they were all pretty similar. The only big difference among recipes was the sugar – brown, granulated, powdered, or a combination of 2 were all used. So which would make a good Praline Pecan Sandie? I went with a combo of brown and powdered. The brown sugar to compliment the flavors of the praline, and the powdered to keep a light texture in the cookie.
Once you get your cookie dough combined, you’ll think you must have missed something – this is the crumbliest cookie dough I’ve ever seen. But with a little pressure and the warmth of your hand, these cookies actually rolled together pretty easily.
I use a small ice cream scoop to dish out even portions. Then roll them into balls. These cookies don’t spread much, so an inch apart is plenty.
To press or not to press? I say press. But some recipes left their dough in balls. The choice is yours. If you want to flatten them into disks, use the bottom of a glass to press slightly (you don’t want them pressed thin). I greased the bottom of my glass. Martha Stewart said to use water. I’ll leave that up to you :)
And in case anyone is wondering – The Man LOVES these cookies. We are having a few people over to watch the Super Bowl, and he has already hid them in the back of the fridge….
UPDATE! So Mr. I-Hate-Pecans devoured the first batch of cookies in a matter of days. Then he practically begged me to make a second batch! This time around I made a few changes. First, I used granulated as opposed to powdered sugar. I also made the cookies much bigger (I got 24 this time, instead of the 34 I got originally). And finally, I used the food processor to chop up the praline pecans. I was happy with the results of all these changes. The cookies were slightly softer/chewier. And the food processor saved me about 5 minutes of hand chopping. If I make these again (who am I kidding, I will definitely be making them again!) I will go with the bigger cookie!
Praline Pecan Sandies
- 2 C. flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1/2 C. powdered sugar
- 1/2 C. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 c. Praline Pecans, finely chopped
In a bowl, whisk together flour and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla. Reduce speed of mixer to low, add in flour. Mix until just combined. Dough will be crumbly. Fold in pecans.
Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into balls and place on parchment paper 1 inch apart. Lightly press balls to flatten into disks. Bake cookies at 350°F for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges.
Recipe adapted from Real Simple
- 1 C. whole pecans
- 1/4 C. packed brown sugar
- 2 T. heavy cream
Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Line a baking dish with parchment paper, and pour the pecan mixture out into a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F until coating is dry and slightly crystallized. Stir after 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen