Brown Butter Makes the Sandies Just Dandy: Homemade Pecan Sandies

I don't think I've ever tasted an actual Keebler Pecan Sandies cookie. We certainly ate our share of supermarket cookies when I was growing up -- mostly Danish butter cookies in the blue tin and many varieties of Pepperidge Farm cookies in the stand-up white paper bags. But when it comes to Keebler products, we pretty much skipped all of the cookies and stuck to Club and Town House crackers. However, my lack of familiarity with the cookie didn't stop me from wanting to try Stella Park's Homemade Pecan Sandies recipe from Bravetart. I love crispy cookies and Stella describes them as "crispy to the core, from the sturdy snap of the first bite to the pop of toasted pecans. The initial crunch gives way to a shower of sandy crumbs, which get their melting richness from brown butter."

Brown butter is central to this recipe, and in this case you brown the butter and let it cool until it turns opaque (but is still slightly warm). Then you stir in sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and a cold egg yolk; and fold in a mixture of flour and finely chopped toasted pecans. You can use the dough immediately. I portioned it out with a #50 scoop (getting 25 cookies) and flattened each cookie before baking.
As I was moving the cookies from the baking pans to a rack to cool, I could tell that they were going to be sandy. My fingertips came away with a fine layer of crumbs with every touch. And when I bit into a cooled cookie, it was probably the sandiest-textured cookie I have ever eaten. These cookies were phenomenal. I loved the rich buttery flavor, the texture and taste of the pecan pieces, and -- as Stella so eloquently described -- the firm crunch of each bite that dissolved into a mouthful of sandy crumbs. The cookies are small and dense but pack so much deliciousness to the square inch. I served them at our recent wine dinner and one of the guests who attended sent a thank you note afterwards declaring that the cookies were the highlight of the evening.

I love, love these little nuggets of buttery-pecan goodness. I can't say how they compare to the original Keebler cookies, but I have to believe that these are way better. Stella says the cookies are also wonderful with cashews instead of pecans and I'm looking forward to trying that variation as well!

Recipe: "Homemade Pecan Sandies" from Bravetart by Stella Parks. Note that there is an error in the cookbook: the volume measurement for the butter is incorrect.

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