Pecan Cookies with Chocolate

Cookies, Recipes

I am still in search of the perfect cookie… Last week I attended a five-days long advanced training at university. Because of my lactose-intolerance and fructose-intolerance, I sometimes have a hard time finding agreeable food at the cafeteria or in restaurants. So I decided to take some home-made cookies with me, just in case – I do not like being hungry!

Here they are, the Pecan Cookies with Dark Chocolate (lactose-free):

PekanCookies 1

 and the Pecan Cookies with White Chocolate (not lactose-free):

 PekanCookies 2

I was right with my skepticism concerning cafeteria food. As suspected, the food was not ideal for me. I wasn´t starving, though, rather the opposite – I felt stuffed by all those grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato-mozzarella-wraps! Not even the lactase pills helped. I think next time I´ll bring home-made granola with me instead of cookies, and buy lactose-free joghurt at the supermarket!

Of course I still ate the cookies, despite feeling stuffed. The cookies had that irresistible “have-one-more” taste…

PekanCookies 3

The cookies also passed the quality-test at home: My teenager-son emptied the cookie tin in no time. He then called me while I was in that advanced training and told me he wanted more cookies. So. It seems that with this recipe, I might be one step closer to the perfect cookie!

To my surprise, all my test-eaters preferred the lactose-free variety with the dark chocolate to the original white-chocolate-variety.

PekanCookies 4

Ingredients:
1⅛ cup (250 g) soft butter (lactose-free, if you are very sensitive to lactose)
½ cup (100 g) sugar
1⅛ cup (200 g) brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla sugar
4 cups (400 g) flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
¾ cup (100 g) pecans, chopped

For lactose-free cookies:
7.2 oz. (200 g) dark chocolate, lactose-free, coarsely chopped (e.g. Lindt 70%, Merci 72%)

For cookies with lactose:
7.2 oz. (200 g white) chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preparation:
In a small bowl, combine flour,, salt and baking powder.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla sugar with a hand mixer or the kitchen machine until fluffy. Add one egg and beat it in for at least one minute, then add the second egg and beat in for another minute.

Add the flour mixture and beat until you get a smooth batter. Do not overbeat.

With a wooden spoon, fold in the chopped nuts and the chopped chocolate.

Separate the batter into two portions and press each portion into a log of about 6-7 inches (15-18 cm). The diameter should be 2-3 inches, depending on how big you want your cookies. I prefer large cookies!

Wrap the logs into cling foil and store in the fridge for about two hours or more. The cold logs will be firm.

Now it´s time for baking the cookies: Cover baking sheets with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 340° F (170° C).

Remove the cling foil. Cut the logs into slices of about an inch. If necessary, press the slices into a round shape. I did not manage to make my logs as round as planned, so I had to shape the cookies by hand. This was quick and easy and no problem at all.

Put the cookies onto the baking sheets. Make sure you leave enough space between them; they will rise and spread. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until they are quite flat and golden brown at the edge.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a short time, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes about 24 large cookies.

 PekanCookies 5

Adapted from:

Tarek Malouf (2013), Kuchenglück. Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke Verlag.

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Pecan Chocolate Pie

Cakes, Other, Recipes

I love pecans, only they are really hard to get in Austria. When a friend of mine flew to the United States last spring, I asked him to get me a big bag of pecans. He did! So this spring and summer I had a lot of fun trying different pecan-recipes.

I held on to the last pecans in that bag for a long time. They were just enough for one more recipe, and I simply could not decide upon one – there were too many recipes I still wanted to try. I also did not want to use up my entire supply of pecans. Where would I get more?

Well, last month I found an answer to that question: a local supermarket now has pecans! They are expensive, but at least they are available. I immediately bought a bag and am happy that I now know where to restock.

I used a part of those new pecans and the rest of the pecans I got in spring for this Pecan Chocolate Pie. I made the pie in spring for the first time and liked it very much. It has an intense chocolate- and pecan-aroma. There is also a special taste to the pie because of the golden syrup or the sugar beet syrup, which is what I used.Pekan Schoko Pie 2   Pekan Schoko Pie 1

The pie is just right for fall. It will warm you from the inside, and it will make you happy!

Ingredients:

Dough:
½ cup (110 g) soft butter
2 ¼ cup (225 g) flour
¾ cup (80 g) sugar
1 egg

Filling:
½ cup (110 g) soft butter

1 ¼ cup (225 g) fine brown sugar

⅓ cup (110 g) golden syrup or sugar beet syrup

3 eggs

A bit more than 1 cup (260 g) pecans, coarsely chopped

16 pecan-halves for decoration

½ cup (85 g) dark chocolate, lactose-free (Lindt 70%, Merci 72%), coarsely chopped

Pekan Schoko Pie 3

Grease a pie plate (the one I used is 11 inches) with butter.

Preheat the oven to 300° F (150° C).

With a handmixer, combine the soft butter and the flour until you get crumbs of about pea size.

Add sugar, then the egg, until the mixture forms a dough.

Place the dough onto a clean surface and knead it through once.

Lightly cover the surface with flour. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 14-inch circle, about 1/5 of an inch thick. Put the dough into the pie plate. (If the dough is very soft, roll it into a small disk first and put it into the fridge for about 30 minutes before rolling it into a circle.)

With a knife, cut off the excess dough so that you get a nice and tidy edge. Poke tiny holes into the dough with a fork.

Put the pie plate into the fridge and chill for 45 minutes.

Remove the pie plate from the fridge. Cover the dough with parchment paper or wax paper and fill the pie with pie weights. I keep a jar of chicken peas in my kitchen which I use for this purpose only.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Put a baking sheet into the oven.

While the crust is cooling, prepare the filling:

In a small pot, melt butter, sugar and golden syrup at low heat. Remove from the oven and let the mixture cool a little.

Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.

Add the butter-sugar mixture and combine until the mixture is smooth.

Spread chopped pecans and chopped chocolate in the pie crust.

Carefully pour the filling over the pecans and the chocolate. With my pie plate, the form will be filled to the brim. Decorate with the pecan halves.

Put the pie onto the hot baking sheet. This will allow the pie to bake evenly. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the heat to 280° F (140° C) and bake for another 20 minutes. The pie will be a bit soft in the middle, but will firm up when cool.

If you feel like adding some more calories, enjoy the pie with whipped cream – delicious!

 Pekan Schoko Pie 4

Adapted from: the hummingbird bakery (2011): Süße Sünden, München: Dorling Kindersley.