Bouchon Bakery (Artisan), by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel, is a beautiful cookbook meant for the determined home cook. Recipes are detailed and often entail more steps than your average recipe. The pâte 'a choux, for instance, requires a separate cookie dough to be made that is sliced thin and baked on top of the choux dough to ensure a crisper crust. Yet Keller and company writes so convincingly of the special qualities of these cream puffs that I know I will endeavor to make them. Indeed his passion and enthusiasm for his craft is what makes this book such a joy to own, whether you plan merely to read it and ogle the photographs, or to determinedly cook your way through the book.
Out of a cookbook of minor masterpieces and happy memories (could I really make his hands-down perfect macarons in my own kitchen?), I chose a humble cookie to try. Trust Thomas Keller to take the common pecan sandie cookie to the next level. He and his chefs make their own Nutter Butters and Oreos too, and were it not for the time it takes to make these masterpieces at home, you might altogether give up on the originals. The pecan sandies are made in memory of his hardworking mother, who kept the Keebler variety in her cupboard for a quiet treat at the end of a long day—that is, when her brood of six hadn’t already discovered and devoured them. I was moved by his recollection, so thought I would make them in her honor as well.
The recipe is one of the easiest in the book, and within 45 minutes, I had crumbly, buttery and deeply satisfying homemade sandies to eat.
Pecan Sandies for My Mom
(Measurements are offered in grams and standard U.S. measures. Keller is a big believer in home cooks adopting weighed measures for their precision, and I hope this catches on. )
250 grams or
1 ¾ cups + 1 ½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
80 grams or
¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans
170 grams or
6 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
90 grams or
¾ cup + 1 ¾ teaspoons powdered sugar
Additional powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325° F (convection) or 350 ° F (standard). Line two sheet pans with Silpats or parchment paper.
Toss the flour and pecans together in a medium bowl.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium-low speed until smooth. Add the 90 grams/3/4cup plus 1 ¾ teaspoons powdered sugar and mix for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there.
Divide the dough into 30-gram/1 1/2 –tablespoon portions, roll into balls, and arrange on the sheet pans, leaving about 1 ½ inches between them. Press the cookies into 2-inch disks.
Bake until pale golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes if using a conection oven, 22 to 25 minutes if using a standard oven, reversing the positions of the pans halfway through. (Sandies baked in a convection oven will not spread as much as those baked in a standard oven and will have a more even color.)
Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
If desired, dust with powdered sugar.
The cookies can be stored in a covered container for up to 3 days.
Makes 1 ½ dozen cookies
Marissa Rothkopf Bates is the creator of www.sugarandspouse.com