Cookie Makeover

With my family, Christmas time is the perfect excuse to bake cookies every 7 days of the week. So many different kinds of cookies are in our house by Christmas that it feels like a live-in bakery. Buckeyes, thumbprint raspberry jam cookies, almond biscotti's, double chocolate drops, cinnamon and sugar rugelach... you name it, we have it. But the real prelude to Christmas is when Mom pulls out the first batch of Pecan Sandies from the oven. My Dad's favorite. Also known to many as Mexican Wedding Cakes. So currently our Christmas cookie jar is filled with these little butter balls of nutty sweetness. Literally, they melt in your mouth.  Partially because when all is said and done, you might as well be sucking on a stick of butter. Or at least a tablespoon of it.

But I know not everyone views food like I do. And forgoing these cookies throughout Christmas would be somewhat miserable.

So leaving my martyrdom ways I wanted to find a healthier version for the season. While there is no substitute for Mom's Pecan Sandies, this is a wholesome alternative that I like turn to time to time. Enjoy...

Mexican Wedding Cookie Recipe

1 cup pecans, toasted and cooled to room temperature 1 cup organic unsalted butter 1/2 cup fine grain evaporated cane sugar (I used Alter-Eco brand) A splash of vanilla extract A splash of bourbon (optional) 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry four 1 cup oat flour 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt organic powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Puree the pecans in a food processor until they become a fine meal. You don't want to go so far that they become a paste.

In a mixer beat the butter until it becomes creamy, add the sugar and mix until everything is creamy and lighter in color. The vanilla and bourbon go in next followed but the nut meal. Slowly add the flours and salt and mix until a stiff dough is formed (it was warm out today, so stiff might be a stretch). On a piece of plastic wrap pat the dough into a disk 3/4-inch thick. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. This makes for easy cookie stamping.

Use a 1-inch cookie cutter to shape the cookies and place them on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies begin to brown ever so slightly. Dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen small cookies.

Check out 101 Cookbooks for a great resource for seasonal baking and cooking.