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Pecan Sandies

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pecan sandies

Pecan sandies are a store-bought cookie classic, and while we’d never turn up our noses at our old nostalgic favorites, our homemade version is pretty tasty (and possibly even better!). Featuring thick, buttery shortbread studded with toasted pecans and rimmed with decorative sparkling sugar for a little extra crunch, it takes that grocery story favorite to the next level.

Besides the fact that they’re DELICIOUS, one of our favorite things about these cookies is that they’re slice-and-bake or icebox cookies. Once the dough is made, it’s rolled into a log, wrapped in plastic, and refrigerated until firm. When you want to bake, all you have to do is slice that log into coins and pop them on a baking sheet. No messing with a rolling pin, no monkeying around with two spoons. Just slice and bake. And the timeline is flexible: You can bake off all the cookies the same day you make the dough, or leave it chilling in the fridge for up to a week for whenever the cookie craving hits.  

Read on for more tips on these easy cookies. Have leftover pecans? Check out these pecan pie bars—they’re out of this world.

What are pecan sandies?

Pecan sandies are a rich, buttery shortbread cookie, filled with pecans. They’re called sandies because of their signature sandy texture, which comes from the high proportion of butter in the dough. While some recipes call for powdered sugar or cornstarch to emphasize the trademark sandiness, we found that this could make the cookie a little drier than we liked. Our version sticks to the classic butter, granulated sugar, and all-purpose flour to bring you a cookie that’s buttery, crisp, and just sandy enough.

Why are we pre-toasting the nuts?

Technically, the pecans are exposed to heat while the cookies are baking, but they’re also surrounded by cookie dough, so they don’t toast at all during that time. Pre-toasting the pecans brings out their full nutty flavor and gives them a crisper texture—two things that will really make the cookie shine. Tempted to skip this step? Don’t. This cookie is ALL about the pecans, so take the extra 10 minutes to make sure they’re ready to take center stage.

How long do pecan sandies last?

In my house? Not very long. Just kidding! Pecan sandies will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. But honestly, they’re best fresh, and since baking them off is so quick and easy, we highly recommend making only what you think you’ll eat the next day. That way you’ll always get to enjoy them at peak deliciousness!

Can I freeze these?

Absolutely. You can freeze the baked cookies in an airtight container OR (this is our favorite thing!) you can freeze the logs of dough. Just make sure they’ve firmed up in a nice cylindrical shape in the refrigerator before transferring them to the freezer. We’d recommend double-wrapping them to guard against freezer burn. When you’re ready to bake, you can slice them off the log while still frozen and then let them thaw on the baking sheets for a few minutes while the oven warms up.

Made these? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

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Yields: 32 servings
Prep Time: 0 hours 20 mins
Total Time: 0 hours 35 mins
1 1/2 c.

raw, unsalted pecans

1/2 c.

(226 g.; 2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1/2 c.

(99 g.) granulated sugar

2 tsp.

pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp.

kosher salt

1/2 c.

(240 g.) all-purpose flour

1/4 c.

coarse decorative sugar (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, stirring every 5 minutes, until toasty smelling and light golden inside, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, on medium-high speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until fluffy and pale. Beat in vanilla and salt, then fold in flour with a rubber spatula until only a few dry streaks remain. Add pecans and fold to combine. 
  3. Divide dough in half (about 350 g. per half). Arrange each half in the center of a square piece of plastic wrap. Using plastic, form dough into an 8" log. Twist ends of plastic wrap to seal and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove 1 dough log from refrigerator and unwrap. Place decorative sugar, if using, in a small flat container. Roll dough in decorative sugar, pressing to help sugar adhere to sides of log.
  5. Using a sharp knife, slice dough log into 1/2" coins; arrange on prepared baking sheets, spacing 1" apart. Bake until golden brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. Make Ahead: Dough can be made 1 week ahead; keep wrapped in plastic in refrigerator, or freeze up to 1 month.

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