Candy Cap Pecan Cookies
These have a Vermont meets Italy sort of flavor. The strong maple flavor of Candy Cap mushrooms is couched in a buttery rich, crumbly shortbread cookie. They're great.
Makes 2 dozen 1½inch cookies
½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons powdered Dried Candy Cap Mushrooms (nearly ¼ cup finely ground in a mortar or a cleaned coffee grinder)
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
¼ cup toasted Wild Pecans, finely chopped
flaky sea salt (like Malden) for topping the cookies
Position a rack in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F for both toasting the pecans and baking the cookies.
Place the pecans on a cookie pan and bake until toasted, approximately 15 minutes or until they are heated through nicely, but just on the verge of turning golden and releasing their intoxicating, warm aroma. Let cool, then chop, finely. You'll be cutting these cookies from a log, so avoiding large chunks of nut is helpful in forming a nicely shaped cookie.
Beat together the butter, the sugar, the brown sugar, the candy cap powder, the vanilla and the salt until thoroughly incorporated and creamy. Add the flour and the toasted chopped pecans and beat until just combined, but don't overbeat. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and briefly blend again.
Turn the dough out onto a sheet of waxed paper and form into a log approximately 1¼ inches thick. As you form the log, be sure to apply steady, subtle pressure to the dough so the log has no air pockets or less-dense areas. Refrigerate the dough for at least 45 minutes.
Once the dough is chilled and firm, remove from the refrigerator, unwrap and with a very sharp, cool knife, cut into 1/8 - 1/4 inch-thick cookles. Arrange the cookies on a parchment or silpat-lined sheet 1 inch apart.
Sprinkle the pre-baked cookies with the sea salt sparingly, holding the salt high above the cookies for even distribution.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the the edges of the cookies just begin to turn golden. Cool the cookies on racks.
Store the cookies in an air-tight container in a cool place for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.
Tips and Techniques
These cookies are a shortbread, so they'll be tender and fragile just after they emerge from the hot oven. Let them cool on just the paper or silpat atop a cool surface for five to ten minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Holding the hot from the oven cookie sheet with one hand above a cool surface such as a clean counter or table top, just take a corner of the parchment or silpat with the free hand and pull the hot baking sheet out from beneath it.
Substitutions and Variations
You can use cultivated pecans, which are also so declicious. I think you'll fine that the difference between wild pecans and what we already love will delightfully surprise you. This cookie is a special, buttery rich and flavorful treat. Making them that much more special is worth the effort.
There simply is no substitution for the essence Candy Caps lend to recipes. This recipe is still delicous without the Candy Cap powder.