Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flammable Christmas Cookie

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Tuesday brought rain, rain and more rain. So I pulled out the cookie recipes, laid out the butter to soften and made almost 400 Christmas cookies. All the dough needed to chill after it was made, so I made one batch after another and chilled it with the recipe so today I could begin baking. Then mid way through the day came the small meteor fire, and I knew I would have to blog the flammable Christmas cookie before I could go into full detail on all the others.
Mexican Wedding Cakes are one of my favorites. Pecans are a Southern favorite, and who doesn't like a cookie rolled in powdered sugar that looks like a Christmas snowball? So I made a huge batch of dough from my favorite recipe and I tossed it in the fridge to chill. Today I baked them, among a few hundred others.

I know evenly matched cookies bake more evenly, so I meticulously weigh every hunk of dough, and think a half ounce is the perfect size. I chop the dough off with my bench scraper, weigh it, and then form it into balls. I bake them on a Silpat lined cookie sheet and I always move the sheets from top to bottom and turn them around halfway through the cooking time.
The problem arose when I slid a sheet in the oven a little too quick. One of those balls of dough fell off the back end. About half way through baking I THOUGHT I smelled something burning, and brushed it off. After another 7 minutes, I knew I had a problem. I peeked way back in the oven, and beneath those 3 racks of cookies was a fire ball. Who knew butter and pecans were that flammable?This is the real world folks. I make mistakes too. Sometimes they are funnier than yours, and I always snap photo evidence.

So I snapped a quick picture and grabbed a wooden spoon, but I couldn't quite reach it. I had no choice but to remove all the cookies, all the racks and reach in. I found a pair of tongs that had a good reach and moved the little fireball forward for another, clearer photo. Then I tossed it in my dish washing water to a great sizzle! Of course I had to put it with the finished cookies for the final photo, I'm fairly certain you can pick it out! Safe baking to you all. Tomorrow I will blog about all the other delicacies that I made.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

1 cup pecan pieces or halves
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 sticks (2 cups) butter, unsalted, softened
1 teaspoon good vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour, sifted

Confectioners Sugar for covering finished cookies.

Grind the nuts until they are quite fine in a food processor. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract to butter mixture, and add flour and nuts on low speed until incorporated. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
Cut dough into equal size pieces, I like 1/2 ounce, and roll into balls. (Flatten slightly on cookie sheets so they don't roll away)
Bake on Silpat lined sheets at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Remember to move the sheets around halfway through baking time. Cool on racks until just warm and toss in confectioners sugar until covered. Re roll cookies when cool and before storing in an airtight container at room temp for up to 2 weeks.

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