Three posts in less than two weeks. Weird, huh? Someone needs to take my temperature. I have a feeling it would probably register anywhere from 350 F to 375 F because the holiday baking bug bit and it keeps biting – leaving welts of butter, flour, sugar and eggs all over me. How cheesy can I get? Oh, believe me, there’s more cheese where that came from.
Before I get to these cookies, I need and want to touch on the Sandy Hook shootings. I’ve had such pain in my heart since learning of it, and I can’t watch anything about it without choking up incessantly. Little children are precious, flawless gems, untainted by the harsh realities of what can be a cruel world at times. They show us the goodness of human beings. Killing them is killing human goodness.
Sleep escapes me because I keep picturing all of those little, innocent children shot dead in such an aggressive, hateful manner. They were seedlings that never had a chance to sprout, bright-eyed links to the future, broken, because they were shot dead by a man who was probably mentally ill, but no one ever did anything about it, or so it seems. We don’t know what inner demons this man was battling, but It begs the question – what could motivate someone to do something so heinous, so heartless, so cruel, so despicable?
We may never know.
I’m not going to spout off about gun control or mental illness, but I am going to direct you to a fund set up by United Way of Western Connecticut called the Sandy Hook School Support Fund to help the families of the victims through their grief. Whether it be therapy or grief counseling of some sort, at this time, it’s at least a little something to make life easier for them. It’s not going to bring back their little angels or loved ones, but it’s something and I think we’ve all felt some form of helplessness since it happened.
UPDATE: The Daily News has put up a list of Sandy Hook funds you can donate to and linked them, from The Red Cross to personal family funds. This gives you a lot of options to help and show your support.
It’s really hard to write about cookies after that, but I will write about cookies, a cookie or three for each little angel.
These are thumbprint cookies laden with toasty, buttered pecans and filled with white chocolate feuilletine. Some of you may have heard of feuilletine, and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know exactly what it is.
Feuiiletine (foo-ye-teen – from the French ‘feuille,’ meaning ‘leaves’) is made from very thin, crispy, sweet crepes, sort of like wafers. They’re crushed, then usually added to creamy desserts for texture, although there are other preparations they also heighten perfectly. Aside from the texture, they also add a delicate caramel undertone. If you can’t find feuilletine nearby, which is like a 99.9 % probability, you can order it HERE, or make it yourself.
If you don’t want to deal with feuilletine, which can be pricey, although I think my link is a great price for it, corn flakes, placed in a ziplock bag and pounded into smaller flakes, are a decent substitution. Corn flakes will give you a crunchier filling since they are not as delicate as feulletine, which gives you a delicate crispy filling.
Crispy – Crunchy? Yes, there is a difference.
However, flavor wise, corn flakes don’t hold a candle to feuilletine. But, the good news is..I split the melted white chocolate and added feullitine to half and crushed corn flakes to the other half. They were both very good and got a big thumbs up from those who tried them. So, go French or go Kellogs. Either way is perfectly fine.
Another alternative that comes closer to feuilletine in flavor is crushed sugar cones – the ones you buy for ice cream. The texture isn’t feathery crisp like feuilletine, but it’ll give you a corn flake crunch with more flavor.
Update – a reader pointed out that those rolled Piroline or Pirhouette cookies that you find in most supermarkets, would be a great substation, and I could not agree more. But, you need to find the ones without filling, just plain rolled wafers So, out of all three, the rolled P cookies, crushed, would be as close to feuilletine as you could get.
Wow, how could I forget the cookie part? You know those melt-in-your-mouth pecan balls or crescents coated in powdered sugar? That’s what these cookies are, with a thumbprint and minus the powdered sugar coating, and even more buttery and toasty.
Buttered, toasted pecans are my new thing.
I always toast nuts before adding them to sweet or savory preparations because toasted nuts have so much more flavor than nuts that aren’t toasted. However, when it comes to pecans, I can’t stop coating them in melted butter before toasting them. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop doing that with pecans because toasted is great, but butter toasted is better. You get that lovely, rich, brown butter flavor in addition to the toasty – you know, like good ole’ butter pecan ice cream. It simply can’t be beat.
So, to sum up these cookies, as a friend put it -” ..it’s crispy, creamy chocolate in a nutty, buttery, toasty cookie, and OMG, it does melt in your mouth!”. Try these with milk chocolate or dark chocolate if you don’t like white chocolate, or make them using a variety of chocolate-feuilletine fillings.
I hope you try them. I hope you like them. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2½ cups flour
- 1½ cups chopped pecans
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 8 ounces white chocolate, melted
- Abut ¾ to 1 cup feuilletine or crushed corn flakes or crushed sugar cones or crushed Piroline cookies, the ones without filling. (see note below)
- Stir together chopped pecans and ¼ cup melted butter. Spread in an even layer on a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake at 350° for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring them around once half way through. until pecans are toasted (you’ll be able to smell them). Keep checking and stirring so they don't burn. Remove from oven, and let cool.
Alternatively, In a pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add pecans and cook until toasted and fragrant, about 4 to 5 minutes. Spread across sheet of foil or parchment to cool.
- When pecans are cool, in a medium bowl, combine with flour. Set aside.
- In a large bowl beat together the 2 sticks of butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the flour-butter pecan mixture until combined. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Roll the dough into 1½ - inch balls and place on baking sheets..12 per sheet - about two inches apart. Refrigerate both sheets with the dough balls for 10-15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place one sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and press your thumb into cookies to make a deep indentation. Place back in the oven for 7 - 9 minutes. then remove and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with second sheet of dough balls.
- Melt the white chocolate in w bowl over a pot of simmering water..making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir in the feuilletine or crushed corn flakes, then spoon into the centers of the cooled cookies, about a heaping half teaspoon per cookie. Let set and then enjoy!
One more thing! I have a little upcoming treat for all of you! I melted about a pound or more of white chocolate and added a lot of feuilletine, since I was experimenting. Check back in a few days to see what I did with all that leftover white chocolate feuilletine!