Sunday, April 3, 2022

Butter Toffee Pecans

 Butter Toffee Pecans

These pecans have been a bit of an obsession for me for a few years. I don't really think they're actually like the Savannah's Candy Kitchen glazed pecans that I've missed since the pandemic closed their Atlanta Airport location, but they ARE much like the butter toffee pecans I bought at H.E.B. on our trip to Houston. This is good enough for me.

The sweet candy coating is thick in some spots and barely there in others--just the way I like it. These butter toffee pecans are so flavorful and rich, that just a few satisfy my sweet tooth.
When I made this batch, I used toasted pecans, but next time I will use raw ones because the candying process made these pecans almost a little too well done. Still tasty, but not quite perfection.

I suppose this method of making candied nuts would work on other nuts. The recipe below is sort of a conglomeration of different recipes I found on Pinterest. Since I tweaked and borrowed from so many recipes, though, I'm writing down here what I did so I will be able to recreate these the next time I want to make them, which could be a while. (My memory isn't as sharp as I'd like it to be sometimes.)

So there you go, my rambling preface to these delicious nuts. (Insert sound of a middle school boy giggling.)

Butter Toffee Pecans

  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups raw pecan halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I used Morton's brand)

Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large non-stick pan/skillet set over medium heat (err on the low side here, so as to not burn the sugar), melt butter and then add the sugar and water. Stir gently with a silicone spatula and bring to a simmer.

Once it's simmering and it seems the sugar is melted, add the pecans and stir to coat.

Continue to stir and coat for a while. The water will evaporate and the sugar will get grainy and look terrible.

Sprinkle the salt evenly over the sugary pecans, and continue to stir.

Eventually, the sugar will start to melt and get shiny. Keep stirring until most of the sugar has that shiny appearance and there is only a little bit of grainy-looking sugar left in the crevases of the pecans.

Pour pecans onto the prepared parchment-lined baking sheet and use the silicone spatula to spread the nuts out and separate the ones that are stuck together. At this point you can either use two silicone spatulas, or get two forks out for this job. See what works for you.

When pecans are mostly separated, allow to cool completely before tasting. Serve/eat or store in an airtight container until ready to serve/eat.

Makes a little over 2 cups of butter toffee pecans (honestly, I haven't measured)

Butter, sugar, and water
Add pecans to liquid.
Sugar will look grainy before it gets shiny
Nuts start to clump together as sugar melts.
Stir until all nuts are shiny.
Pour nuts onto parchment lined pan.
Nuts are separated and cooling.
Shiny, crisp, sweet, and delicious

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies

Macadamia Nut Shortbread

These delightful shortbread cookies are a variation on another shortbread cookie recipe. To the previous recipe I added more sugar in the form of granulated white sugar and a little salt. I really like the results. These cookies are buttery, crisp, tender, and just sweet enough. 

If you don't have macadamia nuts, pecans or almonds would work great too.
If you decide to make these, be sure to use fresh, quality ingredients because the simplicity of the ingredients ensure you will taste each one. Today I used Kerrygold butter, and I think it really made these more delicious. 

Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups real butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (shaken to level)
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour (shaken to level)
  • 1 scant cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup finely chopped roasted macadamia nuts, or other preferred nut
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar for rolling
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter, powdered sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and mix.
Add the flour, cornstarch and salt, and mix just until combined.
Mix in the nuts being careful to not overmix.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in sugar and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 
Flatten with a greased cookie stamp or flat-bottomed glass.
Bake for 11-13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. 
Remove shortbreads to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 5 dozen 2-inch cookies

Dough ready to scoop

Dough balls rolling in sugar

Before baking

Fresh out of the oven

I have to give most of these away.

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