Mom was definitely the one in the family who loved nut cookies. Before she discovered Macadamia Nuts, her favorite nut was Pecans.
I got this recipe for Pecan Drop Cookies out of the first cookie cookbook I ever bought back in 1989. I have a first edition, first printing. This is my favorite cookie cookbook because it has a wide variety of recipes but also because so many of the cookies are so easy to make. When I made the Pecan Drop Cookies yesterday, I decided to check and see if this book was still available after all these years. To my surprise, I discovered this old book is still easily available in both hardback (which I have) and a spiral bound version at very cheap prices for used, new, and collectible versions. If you’re interested you can check select websites for the book: Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Cookies edited by Gerald M. Knox, ISBN number 0-696-01846-2.
Anyways, back to the recipe. Pecan Drop Cookies are very easy to make, one of the easiest recipes I have. You can dress the cookies up by adding a pecan halve to the center or leave out the nuts entirely. I have made a few nut-less cookies for myself (since I dislike nuts) and it is basically a very nice little sugar cookie. I have made only a couple of tiny changes to the original recipe. The biggest change is that my recipe is doubled so that it makes six to seven dozen cookies. Anything less than that and my family would scarf all the Pecan Drop Cookies down in a day.
This is the number three cookie on my Christmas baking list. Even if nothing else gets baked, the Big Three (Grandma B’s Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Pecan Drop Cookies) always get baked.
Mom’s Favorite Pecan Drop Cookies
2 cups margarine or butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar (evened off)
4 cups all purpose flour (heaping but not too much)
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract or flavoring
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Extra sugar to sprinkle on cookies
Pecan halves to place in center top of cookies (optional)
1). Preheat oven to 375°F.
2). In a large bowl, beat the margarine / butter until soft and fluffy (one or two minutes).
3). Add all of the powdered sugar, half of the flour, half of the milk, and all of the vanilla to the margarine / butter.
4). Beat until thoroughly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
5). Add the rest of the flour and milk and beat thoroughly.
6). Stir in the chopped pecans.
7). Drop dough from rounded teaspoon 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
8). Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of sugar.
9). If desired, lightly press a pecan half in center of each cookie.
10). Bake 8 – 11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are slightly golden.
11). Let cookies cool on cookie sheets for 1 – 2 minutes before removing.
12). Let cookie sheets cool down until touchable before reusing.
13). My version of the recipe will make 6 -7 dozen cookies.
14). Cookies can be stored in an airtight plastic container or tin for up to two weeks. You can also freeze the cookies in the freezer for up to two months. Let cookies thaw to room temperature before eating.
This is a very quick and easy cookie to make. The original recipe calls to sift the powered sugar but I don’t. I don’t even have a sifter any more. When you add the flour, you can heap it a bit but not too much. This is a slightly wet and sticky dough but it is supposed to be. I usually buy two bags of pecan halves (8 ounces per package). This gives me enough pecans to chop up and have enough of the halves to put on the cookie tops and still have a few left over pecans for Mom and Aunt E. to eat. I have made these cookies using both finely chopped pecans (tiny little pieces) and more coarsely chopped pecans (larger pieces). It’s pretty much to your taste. You can also add more or less pecans as you like. You can drop the dough onto the ungreased cookie sheets using just a spoon or you can use a cookie scoop. I use my one tablespoon scoop (since I only have one scoop) but I’m careful not to fill it up with too much dough since the drop size is supposed to be teaspoon size. I just end up with bigger cookies. When I make some pecan-less cookies for myself, I still sprinkle with sugar before baking. To sprinkle the cookies with sugar, I basically put a couple of spoonfuls of sugar in a small bowl and pick up a pinch of sugar with my fingertips and sprinkle it over the cookies. Don’t worry if you get sugar all over the cookie sheets, it won’t hurt anything. Also, the original recipe calls for baking 8 – 10 minutes but I have found I usually bake 10 – 12 minutes (probably due to my slightly larger cookies). I have been baking these cookies every year without fail since 1989. Just about everybody I know loves them and they were one of Mom’s two favorite nut cookies.