Sunday, December 5, 2010

Praline-Topped Brown Sugar Slices

It is the season for cookie exchanges, mailing tins of cookies, holiday potlucks, and general noshing. It is time to bake lots of cookies. We traditionally bake and mail packages of cookies to our extended family for the holidays, a gift giving tradition I can wholeheartedly embrace. We try a different recipe or two each year, plus the standards that we always include: Noel Balls, festively frosted Sugar Cookies, and some version of Chocolate Chip Cookies, such as yesterday's recipe for Perfect Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. About this time every year, out come the cookie cookbooks and my big black binder, and we deliberate over what we want to bake. Over a couple of days, each family member bakes a batch (or two or three) of their choice, then we divide, package, and mail them off. These Praline-Topped Brown Sugar Slices are our most requested recipe, and my brother-in-law won a cookie contest at his work with these. After reading the following recipe you'll know why -LOTS of butter, cream, brown sugar and pecans. These are obviously not for healthy eating, but for indulgence and celebrating. I just make sure that I'm not left alone for very long with a batch of them.

Praline-Topped Brown Sugar Slices
Adapted from Land O Lakes Recipe Collection #57

1 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter

1 egg
2 T. half and half
2 t. vanilla

Mix well. Stir together, then add on low speed:
3 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt

Stir in:
2/3 c. finely chopped pecans. Divide dough in half and form 2 logs using waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. Heat oven to 375. Cut rolls into 1/4 inch slices with a sharp knife. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 7-9 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Cool completely.

In small saucepan, combine:
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. half and half
Cook med-high, stirring occasionally until it comes to a full boil (3-4 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 1 minute without stirring. Remove from heat.

Stir in:
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
3/4 c. finely chopped pecans (best if toasted, but I have a tendency to forget and burn them, so I usually just skip this step, and they are still incredibly delicious!)
Let stand 1 minute. Working quickly, dab a teaspoonful onto each slice and frost cookies (If it hardens too much, stir in a few drops of very hot water). Cool completely, and share.

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