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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chocolate Butter Pecan Sandwich Cookies

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For as long as I can remember, my dad has loved all things pecan. I remember hitting up our favorite custard shop in Wisconsin whenever butter pecan was the flavor of the day. I remember when we gave him 40 gifts for his 40th birthday, and one of them was chocolate covered turtles. The birthday cake my mom makes him every year, without fail, is Italian Cream Cake, heavily studded with diced pecans.
Today is actually my dad's birthday and while I know he has no complaints about digging into a giant slice of Italian Cream Cake, I wish I could have gifted him with these today as well. Birthdays are always a sad reminder that we don't live as close to all of our family members as we wished we did!
While my dad didn't get to enjoy these a few weeks ago when I made them, I know that he would of and I have plans to remake them for him sometime. These cookies have a double dose of pecans--present in both the dark chocolate cookies and the brown butter filling. The chewy cookies are the perfect match for the filling, which you'll be tempted to eat with a spoon! Make these for the pecan lover in your life! Happy Birthday Dad, I love you very, very much!

One Year Ago: Raspberry Jam Squares
Two Years Ago: Coconut Almond Apricot Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Three Years Ago: Crockpot Pulled Pork (from pork chops)

Chocolate Butter Pecan Sandwich Cookies
from the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

for the cookie filling-
-6 tbsp unsalted butter
-1 cup toasted, cooled, and chopped pecans
-3/4 cup powdered sugar
-1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
-1 tsp kosher salt

for the cookies-
-3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark)
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp (1 stick plus 1 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
-3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
-1 large egg at room temperature
-1/4 cup toasted, cooled, and finely chopped pecans
-1 tsp pure vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp kosher salt

1. To make the filling, put the butter (6 tbsp) in a small saucepan over medium to medium-high heat. Allow butter to melt and then continue to cook, stirring constantly, until butter begins to brown and smell nutty (about 3 minutes or more). As soon as butter is a dark golden brown, remove it from the heat and pour it into a small bowl (butter burns quickly!).
2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the brown butter, pecans (1 cup), powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Pulse until a thick paste forms. Put the filling in a small bowl, cover, and chill while you make the cookies.
3. To make the cookie dough, sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
4. Beat butter with sugar, creaming for 3 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat to incorporate. Mix in the pecans, vanilla, and salt.
5. Add the dry ingredients on low speed in 3 or 4 additions, mixing just until combined (don't overmix!). Chill dough for at least 1 hour before using. 
6. Preheat oven to 375F. Drop dough (about 2 tsp in size) on parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake pans for 7 minutes, or until cookies are cooked through and beginning to set. Don't open the door while they are baking. Allow cookies to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
7. Cool cookies completely before filling. Remove filling from fridge to soften. To make a cookie sandwich, spread about 2 tsp of filling on the flat (bottom) side of one cookie. Top with a second cookie, pressing gently, to form a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling.