Award winning Pecan Sugar Cookies
So I'm going to get straight to the recipe here, because I know that's what you came for. But, please, if you want big, soft, fluffy cookies, stick around and read the rest of this post. Also, hold your head at a 94 degree angle when you put the cookies in the oven and then as soon as they're in, hold your breath and rub your belly and pat your head. Kidding. Kind of.
If you read the intro to this post, you're probably thinking, "Well, she's a little dramatic." You might be right. But also, I have found that making the perfectly soft and THICK sugar cookie is a science and things including the humidity of the room you're cooking in play a factor in if your cookie turns out thick. I've previously done a post how to make THE BIGGEST, THICKEST, SOFT AND CHEWY PECAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES IN THE WORLD. If you haven't read that one, you probably should. And you should make those cookies. Because, well, they're the best in the world. I've made them several times and they're always amazing. These pecan sugar cookies, however, are more finicky. I had to make them several times before I figured out how to get them to turn out thick every time. My husband doesn't mind flatter cookies and I'm not sure he was disappointed that I had to make them so many times. I actually made a batch just tonight to make sure I've nailed down all the important factors. I did. I think. So here it goes:
Pre-heat your oven completely
use ROOM TEMPERATURE BUTTER
make them thick
use a light colored baking sheet
line your baking sheet
convection bake, if possible
watch them like a hawk
allow to cool completely
Preheat the oven completely
It's extremely important that they go into an oven that is completely pre-heated. If your oven is still pre-heating the cookies will not have a consistent cooking temperature and bad things will happen. Trust me.
use room temperature butter
I know it's crazy that it makes a difference, but it does. Do not melt your butter and do not use cold butter. It must be room-temperature. Melted butter will cause your cookie to spread and flatten. Cold butter will not evenly incorporate.
make them thick
Everyone who is a firm believer in sticking to recipes exactly might freak when I say this, but you might have to add some extra flour. If it's more humid where you are than were I was when I made this recipe, your cookie dough might need more flour. You want this dough to be quite thick. Like, hard to stir and pulling away from your bowl. If your dough isn't thick, add flour one tablespoon at a time until it's nice and thick. You want your dough balls to be able to firmly hold their shape.
Use a light colored baking sheet
If your baking sheet is dark, the bottom of your cookies will cook a little faster than the tops. And that's all I have to say about that.
line your baking sheet
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. This helps give your cookies some traction so they can hold their shape more easily (IE stay thick). A non-stick baking sheet will cause your cookies to slip and slide and spread.
Convection bake, if possible
We are cooking these cookies hot and fast so that the outside gets a nice shape set while the inside stays nice and soft. A convection oven bakes a little faster and circulates the air more evenly.
Watch them like a hawk
Everyone's oven will be a little different. And these cookies are going into a HOT oven. Once they've been in there for about 7 minutes, turn your oven light on and park yourself right next to the oven. Watch them, and the second they begin to turn slightly golden pull them out. The center might still look gooey. That's okay. That's good, actually. Embrace the gooey. Because...
Allow them to cool completely
Your cookies will continue cooking for about 10 minutes after you pull them out of the oven just from the heat they're retaining. It is extremely important to let this process occur or you will have a gooey mess. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes on the baking pan, then transfer to a cooling rack and allow them to cool for ANOTHER 10 mintues before you take a bite. This will take all the self-control you can muster. It's worth it.