So I actually made these cookies for Christmas LAST year, but I never posted about them..and they are such a wonderful cookie, especially for Christmas, that I felt it was necessary to post about them now!
I truly love Alice Medrich…her cookies, brownies, cakes, everything! have always turned out perfectly for me. (Actually, I recently just made her new almond cake, that I’ll post about soon…) These cookies in particular are one of my favorites because:
1) They’re slice and bake cookies, which are my favorite to make for Christmas since they’re really easy and quick, and are always buttery yet light at the same time.
2) They have an incredible flavor from the cocoa nibs.
3) They have an incredible texture from the cocoa nibs.
4) They’re so cute! They look like little buttons.
Also, the alcohol in this recipe is optional, but I think that the brandy added so much to the flavor, even though you wouldn’t think it from only using 1 tbsp. I think the alcohol extracted some special flavor from the cocoa nibs and pecans and blended it together somehow… So, whatever you have on hand, (rum, brandy, bourbon…), trust me, you want to use it!
I always thought “nibs” was a silly thing to call cocoa bean pieces…and truly wished that whoever named them had picked something a little more…respectable. Especially when I try to tell someone who doesn’t know what they are about them. I mean, it’s hard to believe that something called a “nib” is actually a wonderful gourmet product. But, alas, if you get past the silliness, “nib” is actually the perfect name for these little pieces! The texture really is “nibbly,” if you will… Cocoa nibs are pretty widely used now, but, if you still haven’t tried it, at least find a chocolate bar with cocoa nibs in it and try it! Make it your New Year’s resolution.
So, with all the millions of cookies to choose from for Christmas baking, I hope you will seriously consider this cookie! Especially if you haven’t tried using cocoa nibs in a baked good yet, this is the perfect way to showcase their unique flavor and texture.
Nibby Pecan Cookies
From Alice Medrich’s “Bittersweet”
Makes about 48 cookies
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) pecan halves
2 sticks (8 ounces) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp + 1tsp bourbon (I used brandy), optional
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Toast the pecans for 7-8 minutes until they are fragrant and browned. Let cool and chop into small pieces.
Cream butter, sugar, salt, bourbon (or brandy) and vanilla in a stand mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
Stir in the nibs and pecans and combine. Add the flour and mix on low speed, or stir, just until the flour is incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment and roll into a log about 2 inches in diameter and about 12 inches long.
Wrap the log of dough in parchment and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
To bake the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a sharp knife to cut the log 1/4-inch thick slices. Place cookies at least 1 1/2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating halfway, until cookies are light golden brown at the edges. Let cool on pans for about 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
The cookies taste best the next day, and will keep in an airtight container for at least a month.