ELINOR KLIVANS' BUTTER PECAN MELTAWAYS
Super-Size Butter Pecan Meltaways
This is the large version of those tender nutty cookies coated in powdered sugar that are often called Mexican Wedding cookies or Russian tea cookies. It is also the slice and bake fast version. The square-shaped cookies are quickly cut from a chilled block of dough. A food processor-mini or regular size-works well for grinding the pecans.
Makes 18 cookies
Cookie making 15 minutes
Cookie baking 325 degrees F., two baking sheets at about 23 minutes each
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups ground pecans
3 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting over the cookies
Into a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and set aside. In a large bowl and using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during the mixing. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated and the dough looks smooth. Mix in the pecans to distribute them throughout. Form the dough into a 6-by-2 1/2-by 2 1/2-inch block of dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours or overnight until it is cold and firm.
When cold, the 6-inch long block of dough will be sliced into square cookies.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Unwrap the cold dough. Use a large sharp knife to cut the dough into eighteen 1/3-inch thick and 2 1/2-inch square shaped slices. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. These cookies do not spread a lot. Bake one sheet at a time until the edges and bottoms are lightly browned, about 23 minutes. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheets. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Push the cookies close together on rack. Sift the 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar over the tops to coat the cookies evenly.
Serve at room temperature. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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