Real cookies must be baked at home.
Whenever we make Chocolate Caramel Pecan Sandies, the kitchen fills with the most delicious aroma that comes from baking with butter, and we are reminded of what the late Richard Sax said about homemade cookies. On his list of great moments in cookie history in Classic Home Desserts (Chapters, 1994) Sax wrote, “Cookie fans know that real cookies must be baked at home.”
When we first saw this recipe, which came from the American Dairy Farmers, we linked the word “sandy” to shortbread, the buttery Scotch cookies often rolled in a circle, cut into wedges and scored with a fork. But when we took a closer look, we noticed in addition to shortbread ingredients (butter, flour and sugar), there were finely ground pecans and an egg. This made them more like sables, the crumbly French cookies made from dough that’s often shaped in logs and sliced — like old-fashioned icebox cookies.
Fleur de sel, or sea salt, may seem like an unusual ingredient in a cookie recipe. Coarser grained and not as salty as regular salt, fleur de sel is hand-harvested from ponds along the coast of France and does the same magic for Chocolate Caramel Pecan Sandies that salted nuts do for ice cream.
These cookies, drizzled with melted caramel candies and bittersweet chocolate, are not the same as the ones you buy in a package in the supermarket, and they are irresistible. When you eat the last one, you’ll start unwrapping caramels for the next batch.
—By Jean Kressy, a food writer in Ashburnham, Mass.
It's hard to improve on pecan sandies—but chocolate and caramel get the job done.