Pecan Chews with Small Batch Bourbon

Season’s Greetings! Feliz Navidad! Merry Yule! Joyeux Noël!

Whatever it is you are celebrating this winter, I’m pretty sure it is an occasion where family and friends and cookies are involved.

Pecan Chews with Small Batch Bourbon~ Erin's DC Kitchen

I love doing traditional Christmas cookies this time of year. I’ve already posted some of my family favorites which I make literally every year, here and here and here. Um, what is there not to love about adorable little holly wreaths laced with marshmallow creme? Or buttery, flakey little cookies sandwiched with a whipped frosting tinted holiday colors? Nothing, that’s what.

But, my dear husband requested something “new and interesting”. I promptly informed him I would be making the traditional cookies as I always do, but suggested he pick out a recipe or two from my Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies special issue magazine and I would make it for him.

Pecan Chews with Small Batch Bourbon~ Erin's DC Kitchen

He zeroed in on these delightfully chewy, nutty and very grown-up cookies. These drop cookies come with an extra boost of holiday cheer from a key ingredient– small-batch bourbon. Not only are they yums, but small scale distilleries are all the rage right now (God, is that saying even used anymore? Apparently yes, and by me) so these cookies are a perfect gift for the boozy trendsetter in your life.

Okay, to the recipe!

Pecan Chews with Small Batch Bourbon

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • scant 1/4 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup small batch bourbon, we used Four Roses
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans*

Combine flour, salt, spices and 1 cup of the chopped pecans in a bowl, set aside. In a small saucepan, warm the molasses and butter over low heat, stirring often until the butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool, then stir in the bourbon. I highly recommend not adding the bourbon when the mixture is too hot, it is will immediately cook off the alcohol. Take your time to let it cool, and you will be rewarded with a finished product that actually tastes a little boozy. 🙂

Next, whisk the brown sugar into the molasses-bourbon mixture and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and chill the dough for 1 hour or more. The dough needs to be nicely chilled because it is too soft otherwise which makes rolling the dough into balls difficult.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Using a tablespoon size scoop of dough, roll it between your hands to shape a ball, then roll the ball into the remaining 2 cups of chopped pecans. Here is a picture of the pre-baked balls.

Pecan Chews with Small Batch Bourbon

Place on a baking sheet, allowing a little room between the cookies to spread. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes– cookies are done when the edges are browned and they have flattened out. The center may look slightly undone, but it is fine as long as the edges are browned. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a wire rack, as the warm cookies are very floppy. As the cookies cool completely, they will firm up, but still stay deliciously chewy inside.

*Note: To toast pecans, spread whole pecans in a single layer onto a cookie sheet and bake in 350° oven for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once the nuts smell fragrant, take them out of the oven, the oils in the nuts allow them to scorch quickly.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Enjoy!

– Erin

Peanut Butter Thumbprints

Sigh. Is the busyness of the holidays catching up with anyone else? I’m feeling exhausted as I write this, and the mental list of things I need to do before heading to my parents is causing a bit-o-anxiety.

Peanut Butter Thumbprints

I had a thumbprint for dessert. It didn’t bring me inner peace…. but it was tasty.

Anyways, you aren’t here to listen to me complain- you are here for recipes!!!

Yesterday I posted a new cookie recipe I added to my arsenal; today, I’m going back to a traditional family one. These thumbprints have the right amount of peanut butter and a chewy, yet melt in your mouth texture. I find some p.b cookies to be dry and have a weird, crumbly mouth-feel that is off putting. Don’t worry about that here, just worry about how many ‘extra’ Hershey Kisses you’ll be popping while mixing up the dough.  I recommend not skipping the step of rolling the dough in sugar. This makes the cookies a little sparkly and contributes to the pleasant texture. Just some friendly advice 😉

Peanut Butter Thumbprints

Peanut Butter Thumbprints

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 18-24 unwrapped Hershey kisses
  • small bowl of white sugar for rolling dough

Preheat oven to 375°. In an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar for 3 minutes. Add in peanut butter, egg and vanilla and continue beating on medium speed for another 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  With the mixer running on low, gradually add in the dry ingredients to the wet.

Using a small spoon, scoop out dough and roll into 1 1/2 inch (or so) balls. Roll the balls in the white sugar, then place on a lined baking sheet.  Bake for 6-7 minutes, until the cookies are lightly cracked on top. 1 or 2 minutes into baking, quickly remove the cookies from the oven and gently press down a Hershey Kiss on each, put back in the oven and finish baking.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Question of the Day: How do you cope with holiday stress?