Pecan Praline Cookies
Makes about 20 Cookies
Toasting the pecans adds a lot of flavor; don't skip this step. You can chop the nuts in a food processor or by hand.
Beat with electric mixer until light:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
Add and beat thoroughly:
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
Whisk together, then add and beat to incorporate:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out on a lightly floured counter to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with your favorite Ann Clark cookie cutter, then transfer cookies onto a cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or silicone liners. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until very lightly browned around the edges. Let cookies cool slightly on cookie sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Ice with Praline Icing, (recipe below), and serve.
Be sure to have everything ready ahead of time and work quickly, because this icing becomes firm quickly.
Set a wire rack over a cookie sheet and set aside.
Sift 1 cup confectioners' sugar into a medium bowl. Place about 20 pecan halves (one for each cookie) in a small bowl. In a small sauce pan bring 1 cup packed light brown sugar, 6 tablespoons heavy cream, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, and a pinch of salt to a boil over a medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour the brown sugar mixture slowly into the confectioners' sugar while stirring, and continue to stir until smooth. When cooled just enough to touch, dip a cookie into the icing, then place on the wire rack and top with a pecan half.