"Entertaining with Grace"
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon flaky kosher salt or vanilla sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (optional)
16 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 -2 cups chopped and toasted pecans
Mix the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, on low speed, until the mixture is completely smooth. * Baking tip: Doing this step adds pockets of air that aerate the batter and dissolve the sugar crystals in the water in the butter, removing grittiness and ensuring that whatever you're baking will have the right texture.
Add and mix in the vanilla and vanilla paste, if using.
Add and mix in the flour and salt, mixing until all ingredients are completely mixed.
Add and stir in the toasted pecans.
Finish mixing the dough by hand, kneading it slightly, to get the pecans incorporated and so the dough is smooth. Baking tip: I always like to use my hands when I make any type of pastry because I think you learn to feel what the texture should be! I make pastry dough entirely by hand and it always turns out light, airy and perfectly flaky and tender.
Using your hands form the dough into round logs. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and chill the dough until firm, which will take at least 1 hour. (The dough can also be frozen at this point, for future use.)
To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. Baking Tip: You can use a silicone baking mat, but parchment paper ensures the cookies will be crisper. Slice the cookies into even coins and place them on the baking sheet(s).
Bake until the cookies are golden brown, about 10- to 12-minutes. But check midway since everyone’s oven is different.
Let the cookies cool on a baking sheet, then serve or store in an air-tight container until ready to eat. The cookies are so good you’ll be lucky if they even make it off the baking sheet to serve!
This is a recipe I got from one of my favorite insta-follows, @davidlebovitz which I adapted a little bit to make easier for boat life.
Note: Since I don’t have a stand mixer on the boat, I just mixed it in a bowl with a sturdy spatula and it turned out just fine! The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for a week or frozen for several months. I almost always double whatever I’m baking so I can freeze one to have on hand for future entertaining.
I like using vanilla sea salt and organic vanilla bean paste for a bit of extra flavor and you can find on Amazon: