Surely, at this time of year, it must be all right to take a detour from tea breads, and move into the realm of cookies, wouldn't you say? I love cookies, but I don't enjoy baking them all that much. I don't mind mixing the dough, but the baking process seems to take forever. In and out of the oven with the cookie trays, the cooling racks . . . and they seem to me to be a bit persnickety with the oven temperature and the time in the oven. They certainly aren't very forgiving if you become distracted . . . But, ahh . . . they are so wonderful!
There's something magical about cookies, especially Christmas cookies . . . So, instead of tea and bread, this week my husband and I enjoyed a fresh cup of coffee and a cookie plate, featuring Butterballs, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cranberry-Chocolate-Chip Biscotti made by my sister-in-law, Angela!
Angela is a wonderful cook. Everything she's ever baked for us has been delicious, and I'm not just saying that so she'll read this and send us more biscotti (but if you want to, Angela, Lee loves the ones you made with pistachios). She sent us the biscotti for Christmas and I hid it from the kids. Am I a horrible mother? See, the thing is that my kids do not have a very sophisticated palate and it seemed a waste to let them eat these scrumptious morsels, when they'd be just as happy with Oreos . . . and I did let them eat the homemade Chocolate Chip cookies, which is what they always ask for anyway . . .
8 tablespoons (1 stick) sweet butter, softened
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup shelled pecans, chopped moderately fine
¾ cup confectioner's sugar
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease one or two cookie sheets.
- Cream butter. Beat in honey; gradually mix in flour and salt, then vanilla. Add pecans. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
- Form balls by hand, the size of quarters. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Remove from oven; as soon as cool enough to touch, roll in confectioner's sugar. Allow to cool and roll again in sugar.
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FLASH UPDATE ON THE COMPUTER SPEAKER: My son, John, is taking it with him back to school. I'm glad that it's going to be put to use, but this can be such a horrible setback! The last thing a pack-rat needs is to be emboldened by someone actually needing something they've picked up. They can't wait to say: "See?" "I knew it was a good thing to bring home!" It makes it ever so much more difficult to discourage them . . .