Chasing Delicious | Winter Days and Cinnamon Pecan Butter Cookies
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Winter Days and Cinnamon Pecan Butter Cookies

My curious, gold-rimmed hazel eyes dance about the barely green landscape hoping to catch a dragonfly as it bumbles about lone flowers and swaths of grass. Greens are traded for tall brown pillars as my eyes move up towards the sky following long gangly branches. I now look for a cardinal performing his majestic mating call and dance or perhaps a great white egret mid-flight.

Light, brisk winds carry waves of golden-brown leaves through the air. Their death, earlier in the season, is a meir trick as they appear more alive than ever, taking flight, trying to reach their old home high in the branches. Some red and green leaves catch my eye as they swirl around me in a vortex. I can’t help but smile.

A shuffle in the branches alert me to a pair of frolicking squirrels, mid chase. Sticks clack together as another brisk burst of wind shake the trees into their own majestic dance. Finally, my eyes dart up to the pristine blue sky in awe at the beauty of the blue canvas I haven’t seen for nearly two weeks.

The waving, flowing greens of the small greenbelt pull my eyes back down to the earth. The grasses, which never loose their green, still share beautiful, petite flowers. While far less bountiful than the colors spring or summer brings, I am still captivated by spots of surprising color hiding in a sea of wind-tossed green.

Each little yellow and red or pink and purple flower stands amongst the lonely green grass as if to say, “winter may be here with it’s cold, deadly touch, but it will never catch me.” My ecstasy-filled eyes finally find a suitable plot of flower-dotted land. I pull out an old, trusted blanket and let the wind flap it open. It dances, like the leaves caught in the cool air just moments earlier, before I pull and tease the blanket back to the earth. I open a basket, letting it share it’s hidden, edible gems. More ecstatic eyes join me, and soon smiles make way for tantalizing delicious treats.

We wrap up in more blankets and sweaters, and even light coats. We munch on deliciously crisp and buttery cookies and sip on warm black tea. We pretend the beautiful day is not cold but a wonderful warm summer day. We bask in our vacation from winter hoping this rare, sunny, blue winter day will signal more to come, but we know the rain and clouds will return as winter roars to life. And just as that thought begins to bring chills to our skin we run out of pecan-laden cookies and sweet warm tea. Dancing blankets are packed up; an empty basket is packed with dishes. We all say goodbye to the lovely day.

My lustful eyes hesitate, keeping me in place for a few more moments. The sun recedes behind the trees taking with it the last of the warmth from the day. A wave of floating leaves seems to follow the sun towards the horizon. Then the trees stop dancing. No more squirrels can be seen playing. A lone egret passes overhead once more but quickly disappears into a tree. Long shadows hide the colors of flowers and bright green grass. Suddenly, winter seems to have returned.

I finally say goodbye to this early winter day, ready to find solace in the warmth of my house where I will wait patiently for the next beautiful, winter day.

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Cinnamon Pecan Butter Cookies

This recipe will yield 2-3 dozen cookies. It is adapted from a Bo Friberg recipe.

Difficulty: Easy

Tools

Food processor
Stand mixer or a bowl & spoon
Parchment paper
Baking sheets

Ingredients

5 ounces unsalted butter, at room temp.
2 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
4 ounces pecans, finely ground
4 ounces all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ounces whole candied pecans (I used cinnamon-dusted and honey-coated pecans)

Instructions

1.Preheat an oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Process the 4 ounces pecans in a food processor until they are finely ground. Set aside.

3. Mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the ground pecans.

4. Add the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon to the mixture and mix until a dough is formed.

5. Roll the dough into a rope with a  1″ or 1 1/2″ diameter. You may need to refrigerate the dough before rolling to firm it up.

6. Refrigerate the roll until the dough is firm, about 1 hour.

7. Slice the dough into 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick cookies (roll the rope a quarter of a turn after each cut to keep a flat side from forming). Place the cookies on a baking sheet, leaving space for each to expand. Let them soften a bit, for about 15 minutes.

8. Once softened, press the whole candied pecans into the center of each cookie, pressing each pecan all the way into the cooking until it reaches the baking sheet.

9. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes until they are just golden brown.

10. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

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Enjoy!

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AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Founder of Chasing Delicious, and author of Haute Dogs, Russell's works have been featured in Southern Living, Men's Fitness, Redbook, TRADHome, and Real Simple magazines and on various sites including Lifehacker, Fast Co., Business Insider, The Kitchn, Live Originally, Quipsologies, Explore, and Fine Cooking. Follow Russell on Twitter @rvank and Instagram. Get more delicious @chasedelicious.

32 Comments

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  • Amy

    These sound delicious! Butter cookies are always so satisfying, I love how they melt in your mouth. The cinnamon and pecans are perfect for this time of year!

  • sarah

    Pretty photos- I love those sneaky bits of color that show up in the winter. Lovely cookies too!

  • Mi Vida en un Dulce

    Your photos are so beautiful, I started feeling some kind of cold down here…and we are in Summer!!!
    The cookies look perfect also, I like pecans, it’s the kind of nut we can find here very easy, expensive, but popular.

  • del.icio.us 12/28 8:43 | Chantler 411

    […] Cinnamon Pecan Butter Cookies | Chasing Delicious These deliciously crisp cookies are filled with scrumptious butter flavor and the sweet, nuttiness of pecan. http://chasingdelicious.com/ — Wed, 28 Dec 2011 16:24:12 -0800 […]

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Just what I need in my life… more butter. I think I’m made up mostly of butter… then water… then some other stuff. But mostly it’s butter.

    These cookies look divine, though. I can’t resist them.

  • Liz

    Oh, boy, these cookies would be perfect with my evening tea! Yummy!

  • Cassie

    Beautiful cookies, Russell! And I love those shots of the sky and trees…so artistic.

  • Luciana

    Beautiful! Love your photos and these cookies look absolutely delicious!

  • The Café Sucré Farine

    Beautiful post and fabulous sounding cookies – wish I had one right now!

  • kelly

    Wonderful story….Your vivid detail captures my imagination….I have certainly enjoyed reading your blog…Can’t wait to try your cookies too!

  • Ann P.

    Very pretty photos! The butter cookies sound delicious and simple to make, too!

  • sippitysup

    Nobody sets the scene like you. I love the warm contrast of ‘gold-rimmed hazel eyes’ against the crisp description of winter. GREG

  • Reeni

    You magically transported me right there with you, munching on these delectable treats and sipping tea to keep warm!

  • Beth Michelle

    Beautiful photos! Such a lovely picnic, especially with these delicious cookies!

  • Kiri W.

    Very pretty treats! I love cinnamon in my cookies, and a pecan always adds a wonderful flavor as well.

  • Tina@flourtrader

    Out of all the different nuts available, pecans do rank pretty high on my list when it comes to baked goods. These gems are definitely something I would enjoy with a cup of tea. Kudos to you out and about in the chilly air, your pictures here looks like the outing was well worth it. Eloquently written post, I enjoyed the read!

  • Becky

    I love your writing as the words just flow off the page, and describe perfectly the type of “winter” we are having in Chicago Land, green grass and no snow. We know it’s coming, but when?

    And then there are those delightful cookies to munch on during winter.

    Congrats on the Top 9 today!

  • Kristi Rimkus

    What a beautifully written blog post. You tell a wonderful story. Congratulations on the top 9, and I hope you have a terrific New Year. :)

  • Snippets of Thyme

    Russel, this is just beautiful. Isn’t Texas a pretty nice place to be during these blustery days? I do miss the snow terribly but I love being able to get out there and feel the wind here. I just came back from a really foggy walk and your words resonate perfectly with everything that I experienced too! Beautiful.

  • Ally

    Stunning photography. Brilliant recipe.
    http://www.allykayler.blogspot.com

  • Angie@Angiesrecipes

    I haven’t baked anything with pecans this year…now you have me at some buttery pecan cookies.
    Happy New Year, Russel!

  • Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi)

    So pretty. This post made me feel warm even though you are describing winter. Lovely :)

  • Jon

    Great Post! Amazing pictures and delicious looking cookies. You work never ceases to amaze me. I love when you shoot film…..I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll keep saying it, you should definitely keep shooting film because you’re a natural at it. You had me at cinnamon.

  • Julie

    You’ve demonstrated that winter is a wonderful time to get outdoors and a Happy New Year!

  • Viviane Bauquet Farre / Food and Style

    Russel, this is a beautiful piece (and photos!)… of course the recipe is fabulous too! Wishing you and yours a sensational New Year!

  • Jenny @ Savour the Senses

    Gorgeous photos! Makes winter look so nice! haha Happy New Year!

  • Elyse @The Cultural Dish

    I love the flavors in these cookies – they sound delicious!

  • Sommer@ASpicyPerspective

    Gorgeous photos! I would (Almost) give up my resolution for one of those cookies. ;)

  • Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen

    Oh how I wish it was warm enough here to have a winter picnic! I bet those cookies taste incredible with a cup of afternoon tea! :)

  • lisaiscooking

    I have to say, I’m enjoying the mild winter we’ve been having so far. I’m even enjoying the rain some days. These cookies and a cup of tea would be a perfect pairing for a winter afternoon. Happy New Year!

  • Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    I love your photos from outside and the cookies sound wonderful!

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