Times-tested cookies perfect for holiday giving.

photoPecan Fudgies

1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) chopped pecans
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels (divided)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup all-purpose white flour
1 cup (about 3 ounces) shredded or flaked sweetened coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or coat with nonstick spray.
Spread the pecans in a small baking pan and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 9 minutes, or until nicely browned; be careful not to burn. Immediately turn out into a small bowl and let cool; set aside.

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, microwave 1-1/2 cups of the chocolate morsels and the butter on high for 1-1/2 minutes. Stir well. Continue microwaving on 50 percent power, stirring at 30-second intervals. Stop microwaving before the chocolate completely melts and let the residual heat finish the job. (Alternatively, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter over lowest heat, stirring frequently; be careful not to burn. Immediately remove from the heat.) Let cool to warm.

Thoroughly stir the condensed milk, egg, vanilla, and salt into the chocolate mixture until well blended. Stir in the flour, pecans, remaining 1/2 cup chocolate morsels and coconut, if using, until evenly incorporated.

Drop the dough onto the baking sheets by heaping tablespoonfuls, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, or until barely firm when pressed in the centers; be careful not to overbake. Reverse the sheet from front to back halfway through baking to ensure even browning. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let stand until the cookies firm up slightly, about 5 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks. Let stand until completely cooled. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to one month.

Makes about 30 2 1/2-inch cookies.

Times testing notes: Make two batches of this recipe; they’ll go that fast. A good make-ahead cookie because it freezes well.

Source: “The All-American Cookie Book” by Nancy Baggett (Houghton Mifflin Co., 2001).

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