Homemade Pecan Treasures make great last minute gift giving

by Mike

I love to cook and especially to bake, so I love the holiday season for making cookies and special breads to give as gifts. Here are a couple of ideas that make great gifts.

Pecan Sandies

This recipe makes a shortbread-like cookie with the great combination of cinnamon and pecans.

1 Cup butter, cut in pieces
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/4 Cups Flour
1 Cup Pecans chopped fairly fine
granulated sugar (about 1/3 cup for coating)

In a mixer, combine butter, sugar, water, and vanilla. Mix 30 seconds to creamy
smooth. Add cinnamon, mix in the flour by hand in increments, then add nuts. Dough will be very stiff.

Roll dough in 1" balls, roll the balls in the granulated sugar, place the
sugared balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and criss-cross the tops with a
fork. Once pressed down, cookies will not spread much.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 mins, or until the bottoms are lightly golden

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Note: A trick for making more evenly-sized cookies is to divide the dough, wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap, and roll/squeeze it out into a 1" diameter cylinder, then slice into evenly sized pieces before rolling the pieces into balls.

Honey Pecan Spread

1 Cup honey
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Cup finely chopped pecans

Place about 1/2 of the honey in a small 1 pint decorative canning jar. Add the lemon juice and cinnamon, stirring to combine. Add the nuts, stirring to coat. Top off with more honey, and carefully stir to integrate. Pop a decorative top on the jar and it is ready for gifting (or eating!)

Best after sitting for a couple of days for the flavors to harmonize. Serve on bagels or pancakes. It can also be poured over a block of cream cheese and used as a spread on crackers.

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