Copyright: Carole Walter, 2003
1 1/4 cups pecans
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided, spooned in and leveled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons strained confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon cold water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups strained confectioner's sugar, spooned in and leveled, for coating
Make the Dough:
1. Place the pecans and 1/4 cup of the flour in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse 5 or 6 times, then process 8 to 10 seconds or until the pecans are chopped medium-fine. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour and the salt and pulse 2 or 3 times, just to combine.
2. In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium-low speed until creamy and lightened in color. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the 2 tablespoons of confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon cold water, and the vanilla and continue to mix on low speed. Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed.
3. Add the flour-nut mixture in three additions, mixing just until combined. Do not overmix. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
Bake the Cookies:
4. Position the shelves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the pans with baking parchment.
5. Form the dough into 1 1/4 inch balls and set about 2 inches apart on the pans. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or just until cookies begin to brown lightly on the bottom. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes, then carefully loosen with a thin metal spatula.
Sugar the Cookies:
6. Place the 1 1/2 cups of confectioners' sugar in a large, shallow dish. While the cookies are still warm, roll in the sugar, coating each heavily. Handle gently; they are very fragile. When the first coating of sugar is complete, roll the cookies a second time. Place on wire cooling racks and let air-dry for several hours.
Store in an airtight container, layered between strips of wax paper, for up to 3 weeks. These cookies may be frozen.