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The holidays are over but at least here in Colorado winter is gonna keep going for a few more months and comforting, buttery cookies that complement Irish coffees sipped after dinner will continue to be in need. Which brings me to today’s recipe. It’s a simple vanilla cookie brushed with a chocolate ganache and sprinkled with chopped pecans that are soaked in a rum/sugar/butter/cinnamon/cardamom mix. The cookies are delicate, buttery and crunchy and provide the perfect canvas for the cinnamon and citrusy cardamom as well as the (subtle) rum flavor in the pecans. Happy snowy and cozy winter evenings!
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons rum
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Mix granulated sugar, cinnamon and cardamom together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Set aside.
- Add rum, brown sugar and butter to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add the pecans, then turn the heat off.
- Stir the pecans with a rubber spatula until they are evenly coated and all the liquid has been soaked up by the nuts.
- Sprinkle the spice mix over the nuts and stir them around.
- Distribute the nuts onto the parchment or wax paper and separate them using a fork.
- Let the nuts sit to dry for 3 hours.
- Beat butter and granulated sugar until well combined and creamy.
- Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Add the flour and the salt and beat until the dough starts to form clumps.
- Gather the dough into a ball with your hands, then flatten into a disc, cut into two pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Roll out one of the two disc halves between two sheets of plastic wrap.
- Cut out the cookies and bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet until they start to brown (12 to 15 minutes).
- While the first batch bakes, roll out the second disc, then bake.
- Let the cookies cool completely.
- Add cream and chocolate to a bowl and warm over a pot of simmering water.
- Stir until everything is well combined and no chocolate clumps remain.
- Brush the chocolate onto the cookies, then sprinkle with the nut mix.
Food Photography and Styling: These winter cookies are meant for after dinner when it’s dark outside so I tried to mimic dinner table light and a general dinner table atmosphere in this photo. I kept everything extremely simple because with any more propping going on in the frame and a less closeup composition the individual components in these cookies were difficult to fully see, they all started to blend together into a mush. As I’m sure you guessed, I used my strobe to light the set.
Nikon D600, 105mm, f/8, 1/125 sec., ISO 100. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight, 35″ x 58″ Softbox.