Christmas really snuck up on my this year. Thanksgiving happened, and then BAM! Everyone was posting pictures on Facebook of their Christmas trees while I still had all my fall decorations up. I am now a little bit more prepared for the upcoming festivities, but the preparations have definitely kept me on my toes.
I am also a card carrying procrastinator, so naturally I left myself just two days to get all of my cookie baking and decorating done (and now about one hour to finish this entire post). All told, I made 6 varieties of cookies and one set of mini rum cakes for the people on my cookie list. These pecan lace cookies were a new addition this year, and I think they may be sticking around.
I remember these cookies from the grocery store down the street from where I grew up. The bakery’s policy was to give one cookie per day for free to each kid who asked, and this one was always my favorite. Sadly, they weren’t well labeled, so I never knew what they were called. When I saw the contestants make brandy snaps on The Great Holiday Baking Show, I got super excited because the cookies looked a lot like what I remembered from the grocery store. The internet helped me to figure out that the ones I was thinking of are actually called pecan lace cookies, but that they are pretty much the same cookie that you use for brandy snaps.
I followed this recipe pretty closely, but added in the same spice mixture I use in gingerbread cookies to give it some kick. I wanted to create the flavor of gingerbread cookies dipped in eggnog, so I used the ingredients from this blog post for the eggnog ganache, but cooked them the way I usually make ganache instead of following the directions. Next time I make these, I will increase the nutmeg in the ganache because I couldn’t really taste it (feel free to weigh in in the comments if you make it as is and think it’s just fine).
But that’s enough of my chatter. Let’s get right down to it. You will need the following ingredients:
For the cookies:
- ⅔ cup cake flour
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1½ tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
- a pinch of salt
- cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
For the eggnog ganache:
- 16 oz. white chocolate chips (or roughly chopped white chocolate from a block)
- 5 oz. heavy cream
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- 1½ tsp. dark rum (optional)
For baking ambiance:
- While I did have all sorts of different Christmas music playing throughout my many hours of baking, I kept coming back to Cee Lo’s Magic Moment by Cee Lo Green. Say what you will about him, but the man makes a mean Christmas album. I suggest checking it out if you haven’t already.
Let’s get baking!
If your pecans didn’t come pre-chopped, do so now. You will want them fairly fine so that you don’t have giant chunks of pecan in your cookies.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, pecans, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Set this aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and salt. Heat the ingredients over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the sugar is fully dissolved (this should take about 7 minutes).
When the mixture is nice and syrupy, remove it from the heat and fold in the dry ingredients.
Transfer the goopy mess to a medium bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it until firm (at least 2 hours).
When your “dough” is ready, preheat your oven to 350°F and line large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Form the dough into teaspoon-sized balls and arrange 6 of them on each cookie sheet. DO NOT be tempted to put more than 6 on a sheet, or they will come out looking like this:
To reiterate, 6 on a cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies until they turn golden brown, approximately 9-10 minutes. You may want to turn your cookie sheets halfway through baking so they brown evenly.
Remove the entire sheet of parchment paper from the cookie sheet with the cookies still on it and leave it on a cooling rack. These actually cool rather quickly because they’re so thin, so you don’t have to worry too much about running out of space. I found that mine were completely cooled and hardened by the time I’d made two more batches. Still, you should let them sit overnight before you slather them in ganache if you can stand it.
Speaking of ganache, you should probably make that once your cookies are hardened and ready for decorating. 😉 To do so, start by pouring the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl or glass measuring cup. In a small saucepan, whisk the nutmeg into the heavy cream. Heat the cream on medium-low heat until it comes just to a boil. Remove it from the heat once you start to see the bubbles.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes.
After your 5 minutes are up, whisk the chocolate and cream until it’s completely smooth. If you find that you have lumps that just will not go away, you can heat the mixture in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time, whisking well after each set, until it does your bidding. When the ganache is smooth, whisk in the rum (if using).
Let the ganache sit until it is thick and tacky. This is a good time to pair cookies based on size and shape if you haven’t done that already.
When all of your components are ready, spread a layer of ganache on the underside of one cookie from each pair. Top with the remaining cookies to make sandwiches.
Alternatively, you can dip the cookies halfway into the ganache. However, if you do this, you probably want to serve them as soon as the ganache has hardened, as I found that mine went soft overnight. To avoid this, you could also try freezing them.
Serve the cookies once the ganache is hardened, or store them in an airtight container.
You can download the printable PDF recipe here: Pecan Lace Sandwich Cookies