Pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith reimagines classic pecan pie into irresistible cookie bites.
For more about Hedy Goldsmith's desserts visit sweethedy.com.
- 6 ounces unsalted butter
Sticky Pecan Topping
- 4 ounces brown butter, at room temperature (see above)
- 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream (36% fat)
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (organic, if possible)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 ounces pecan halves lightly toasted (2¼ cups)
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (8 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- One 16-ounce package frozen puff pastry (two 8-ounce sheets per box, each 9 1/2-by-9 1/2 inches) or homemade, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
- All-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Make the Brown Butter:
In a saucepan, melt the unsalted butter over low heat until the milk solids fall to the bottom of the pan, about 7 minutes. The butter will have turned golden brown. Immediately pour the brown butter into a heatproof bow; Allow to cool to room temperature.
Make the Sticky Pecan Topping:
In a medium saucepan, combine the brown butter, brown sugar, heavy cream, maple syrup and salt; set over low heat until butter is melted. Increase the heat, bring to a full boil for 5 to 6 minutes; be careful to not let it over boil. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla and stir in the nuts. Let cool to room temp, and then chill overnight. This will help thicken up the caramel.
Make the Cinnamon Filling:
Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and cayenne. Set aside.
Assemble the Cookies:
Unfold each piece of puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the pastry ever so slightly to 10 by 10 inches. Brush off any excess flour from each side.
Divide the cinnamon sugar filling between the two squares of dough, spreading it to the three edges and leaving 1/4 inch at the top edge (for sealing the dough). Lightly roll over the sugar to ensure an even layer. Began rolling up the pastry from the edge closest to you, toward the top of the dough. Make sure the roll is very tight, especially the first part—it needs to be compact. Paint the top edge with the egg white to seal the roll. Once sealed, gently roll the log to make it perfectly round. The diameter should be 1½ to 1¾ inches. Freeze the rolls until firm, 1 hour or overnight. (Properly wrapped the rolls can be kept frozen for 2 to 3 weeks.
Preheat the oven to 375˚. You'll need three sheet pans lined with parchment paper and a cooling rack that fits the pan.
Remove both logs (or bake only one) from the freezer. Cut each log into 1/2-inch discs. You should get 20 slices from each roll. Arrange the slices on the prepared sheet pans spaced 2 inches apart (they will spread). Lay a sheet of parchment over the cookies and place the cooling rack (feet side up) on top. We want to force the cookies to bake flat; we're denying the puff pastry to puff.
Bake one sheet pan of cookies at a time (keep the other sheet pans in the refrigerator until baking). Check after 10 minutes. The cookies should be beginning to evenly brown on the tops and bottoms. Rotate the pan and continue to bake until golden brown, another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully lift off the rack and the parchment. Let cool before removing the cookies from the pan. Continue baking the remaining cookies. Trim the sugar from around the edges.
Once the cookies are cool, arrange them on a cooling rack with a parchment lined sheet pan underneath to catch drips. Remove the pecan topping from the refrigerator and stir until well incorporated. Place 1 small spoonful of the pecan topping on top of each cookies. These are best eaten right away.