Florida Orange Melts
1-2/3 cups coarsely crushed or broken-up vanilla wafers
11/3 cups (about 51/2 ounces) chopped pecans (divided)
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (colored part of the skin)
3 tablespoons thawed orange juice concentrate (do not dilute)
2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
In a food processor, process the vanilla wafers and 1 cup of the pecans until finely ground. Add the powdered sugar and orange zest, and process until evenly incorporated. With the motor running, add the orange juice concentrate, orange liqueur and corn syrup through the feed tube, and process just until well blended. If the mixture seems too soft to handle, let it stand for a few minutes until firm; if it seems dry and crumbly, sprinkle in a little water and process briefly to incorporate.
Finely chop the remaining 1/3 cup pecans. Spread them in a shallow bowl. Shape portions of the mixture into scant 1-inch balls with lightly greased hands. Press the balls into the pecans, turning until coated lightly all over. (If the pecans dont stick well, moisten the balls by rolling them in slightly damp hands.) Let the cookies mellow in an airtight container for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight before serving.
Makes about 24 (1-inch) cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to four days, refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze for up to one month.
Times testing notes: Our nickname for these gems is booze balls. The Grand Marnier is pronounced but delicious. This is a soft cookie because its a no-bake.
Source: The All-American Cookie Book by Nancy Baggett (Houghton Mifflin Co., 2001).
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