Season of the Cookie: Buttery Pecan Rounds

The buttery pecan round has a lot going for it: a short ingredient list, easy to make, and most importantly, it allowed me to preserve my anti-social status for the entire weekend.

If I pick something to make on a Saturday or Sunday, inevitably there will be one pivotal ingredient I’m missing at home. That means I have to haul my potatoes to the Rock and Roll Ralphs on Sunset Blvd. – a whole four blocks away – then stand in line for what always seems like four of five minutes longer than I can or want to tolerate, just for that one item. And more often than not, I end up immediately behind the customer who refuses to accept that their coupons have expired, wants each of their 75 items bagged separately, in both paper and plastic, waits until the very last minute to start searching for their ATM card, or – God forbid – wants a carton of cigarettes which means the checker has to leave the register, disappear from sight, and traverse down several hundred stone-carved stairs into the supermarket catacombs where the tobacco products are now required to be kept.

Some have told me in my life that I lack patience. I usually tire of them before they reach the end of the sentence and turn back to the television.

For a while, I was able to zip in and out of Rock and Roll Ralphs on weekends thanks to the (then) newly-installed “self-checkout” lanes.  At first, they were rarely used because I think most people were afraid of them. Last night, MG and were watching the fantastic 1948 Ray Milland film noir The Big Clock, and MG pointed out the need for those chirpy little elevator operators who were necessary when elevators were still new enough that people weren’t completely sure how to successfully use them (“Watch your step… this elevator is going up… the doors won’t shut unless you’re completely in the car… we’re arriving at another floor… please step out when the doors open… this elevator has reached the top floor and now goes down.”) Were it not for these operators, MG accurately pointed out, many people would never have had the courage to step into an elevator, and of those that did, hundreds would have probably accidentally decapitated themselves.

Thankfully, Rock and Roll Ralphs didn’t feel the need to hire a peppy typing school graduate, wrap her in a brass button uniform and pillbox hot and have her provide hand-holding instructions on how to self-check.  The new lanes remained mercifully empty, and for a long while I was able to tear through the place like a thief in the night.

But those glory days are long gone, and now the savvy and the stupid alike are lining up for the self check-out lanes. Some still don’t understand that the UPC code needs to be placed in a position where the scanner actually has a shot at reading it. Many seem reluctant to place actual cash into the payment slot.  And if someone ahead of you has to stop and search for the produce code on their rutabagas using the keypad and search functions, forget it.  You better grab yourself a copy of In Touch and make yourself at home.

They really ought to either require a passing grade on a basic IQ exam for anyone who intends to check their own groceries, or at least set out some lawn chairs for everyone else that’s made to wait.

Some have told me that impatience is a sign of untreated anger.  I tell them to stick it.  I’ve got cookies to make.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to experience any of the above-mentioned grocery store dramas thanks to Cookie Season’s Buttey Pecan Rounds. That’s how low maintenance they are. Check out the ingredient list – a little flour, a little coarse salt, a single egg yolk, some pecans and some brown sugar and… bam! You’re in business!   The smell of pecans toasting in your oven will also bring you some peace of mind and may even possibly lower your blood pressure.

So, if you’re a new baker, or just don’t have a lot of time, or fear you may be nearing the end of your rope with people who remove all their groceries from their cart onto the conveyer belt and just abandon the cart, leaving it for you to push aside, here’s the cookie recipe for you.

Buttery Pecan Rounds from Martha Stewart

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped toasted pecans (about 2 ounces)
  • Pecan halves, for decorating

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Sift together flour and salt into a small bow and set aside.

Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg yolk until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Mix in chopped pecans.

Using a 1 1/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 3 inches apart. Press 1 pecan half into the center of each.

Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.


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6 thoughts on “Season of the Cookie: Buttery Pecan Rounds

  • September 19, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Easy recipe and they look great! I tend to always get in the shortest line with the longest wait. Patience is not one of my virtues either.

  • September 19, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I am with Penny. The cookies look delicious and I do so love the smell of pecans. I also am with her (and you) about patience at the grocery store. You really have to be in the right mental place or you may go postal

  • September 20, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    OK Gary. You really have to watch Dirty Dancing. Some think it is a throwaway plot and movie, but Damn! the dancing. My 4 year old granddaughter was enthralled (Probably not the best judge) but the girl loves to dance. Patrick Swayze is at his prime. Rent it and let me know what you think, even if you don’t like it.

  • September 22, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Gary, I so enjoyed reading the story of Rock & Roll Ralph’s. I felt your frustration and believe me, those people shop in other stores too. When we lived in the islands, a certain segment (not locals) thought they could push ahead of you in line. Unfortunately they did not understand English or very little and tempers could boil over easily.

    However, those cookies are well worth a trip to Ralph’s and wait in line for an ingredient just to have one bite.

  • September 22, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    @Penny – sometimes the manager tries to be helpful and directs me to another line… which then of course turns out to take longer than the one I was already in. I have no luck with that kind of thing.

    @DT – I have gone postal. It’s not pretty and usually MG has to be there to witness it.

    @Shellie – more cookies to come. I just finished some great banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I took to work, and they were gone in a flash

    @Sam – thanks for reading… and relating!

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