While baking these little White Pecan Cookies from Fany Gerson's My Sweet Mexico I thought they were going to be almost identical in texture to the Amaretti I had made a few weeks ago. Sure, there was the almond versus pecan factor, but a nut is a nut, right? As it turned out, these cookies couldn't be more different from their Italian cousins.
The two and a half cups of pecans that are ground for the cookie batter pack a serious nutty crunch and adds a weight to the cookies, making them much more substantial than the airy amaretti. Baking at a low temperature and then leaving the cookies in the still warm oven for an additional hour leaves them dry and incredibly crisp in the center and lovely glossy white on the outside. The nuts give these cookies a great rustic texture while the meringue keeps them light and melty.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of My Sweet Mexico to give away this week.
Reprinted with permission from My Sweet Mexico: Recipes for Authentic Pastries, Breads, Candies, Beverages, and Frozen Treats. Copyright © 2010 by Fany Gerson, Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.
- 2 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup superfine sugar
Preheat the oven to 225°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease lightly.
In a large bowl, combine the pecans, flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar at medium-high speed until they are foamy and start to thicken but have not quite reached soft peaks. Gradually and slowly add the sugar. Continue beating on high speed for a few minutes, until thick and glossy. Add one-fourth of the pecan mixture and fold carefully so that the eggs don’t lose their structure and volume. Repeat, incorporating the remaining pecan mixture in three more additions. Using two small spoons or a piping bag fitted with the flat tip attachment, form little mounds on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 1 hour, turn off the oven, and leave the cookies in the oven for another hour. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.