Since moving to California, when people first find out I’m from Georgia most respond in the same way: “What happened to your accent?” I don’t really know; as far I can tell I’ve never had much of an accent. Once when I lived in Atlanta, a shopkeeper asked me where I was visiting from… she thought I was a Yankee! I think my accent has always been closer to Californian than Georgian. Still, my Southern accent comes out ever-so-slightly when I’m really tired — and with certain words. Words like syrup, pecan, and Christmas (I discovered that last one listening to a voice memo I left myself about a certain somebody’s Christmas present. It was funny. The rest of the memo was accent-free or had a California lilt, but that one word Christmas came out with an extra half-syllable and smelled like pecan pie).
In the spirit of my Christmas Southern-ness, I went flipping through a couple of cookbooks that made their way from Georgia with me and found praline cookies in Mrs. Wilkes’ Boarding House “Famous Recipes” cookbook. This little book is filled with some real gems (my mouth is watering just thinking about the squash casserole and cornbread). Man, I really want some good fried chicken right about now.
(adapted from Mrs. Wilkes’ Boarding House “Famous Recipes”)
Thin and crisp, these cookies are a perfect homage to their namesake. The best bites are the ones that include the pecans so next time I might increase the amount of pecans to 1 1/2 cups and not chop them as small.
Makes 3 dozen.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- In a medium bowl, mix together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
- Gradually add flour. Stir in pecans.
- Optional:Refrigerate dough for about 1 hour to make it easier to handle.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into 1 inch balls, place about 3 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper (if not using either of these, grease the cookie sheet).
- Flatten each ball till about 1/8 inch thick. [Mrs. Wilkes suggests using the bottom of a glass covered with a damp cheesecloth. I didn’t have cheesecloth and the dough stuck to just about everything except for the palm of my hand so that’s what I used.]
- Bake 8-12 minutes [Mrs. Wilkes says bake them 12 minutes but my oven runs hot so I found about 8-9 minutes worked best for me]. Bake just until the edges begin to brown.
- Cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container.