A pecan sandie is a classic shortbread cookie with pecans. Its consistency is a bit lighter and softer than traditional shortbread. Chock full of that popular nut and also sweet and chewy, pecan sandies are a perfect combination to satisfy many people's sweet tooths. The name “sandie” is believed to come from its color, and although its origin is disputed, the cookie is thought to have derived from Arab cuisine.
Rich, tasty and flavorful, pecan sandies are pretty easy for a baker to put together, and they do not require a lengthy list of ingredients, which makes them ideal for novice bakers and children. In addition to pecans, the traditional components of a pecan sandie are butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and flour. They are made by mixing the ingredients together, with the pecans being added last, after the dough is formed. It is rolled into a rounded log shape, then typically is refrigerated overnight. The chilled dough is then sliced into individual cookies, placed on a cookie sheet, sprinkled with sugar and baked.
The list of the basic ingredients for these cookies can be different from recipe to recipe. Some call for the use of baking soda or cream of tartar, brown sugar instead of white sugar and vegetable oil instead of or in addition to butter. Most recipes for this cookie are egg-free, but some call for eggs. For a different finishing touch, powdered sugar is sometimes sprinkled on the top after the cookies are baked instead of regular sugar being added before baking. The end result of these modifications is mostly the same, but they can create slightly different textures in the cookie.
Some versions of pecan sandies are enhanced by the addition of non-traditional flavors: coconut, chocolate, maple and caramel pecan sandies are a few examples of new takes on this classic treat. Another technique is using various spices in place of or in combination with traditional vanilla, such as star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg and saffron. Different nuts, such as walnuts, macadamias, peanuts, almonds or cashes, can be used instead of pecans to create other types of sandies.