Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pueblo Christmas Pecan Crescents

This is adapted from E. Barrie Kavasch's important festival cookbook Enduring Harvests, which in turn has been adapted from numerous old "pecan sandy" recipes from over the decades, both native and non-native.  What sets these apart, and it's a nice touch, are the oats.  These little gems have become an important taste treat, along with other dainties on plates for the various Holiday dances at the various Pueblos of New Mexico.  Most of the pueblos open up to visitors during these dances, provided that protocols are observed.  But Indian being Indians, none of them are going to allow people to wander or observe hungry!!  When you come to my house, I feed you...my grandmother taught me this!

Snowy Vanilla Pecan Crescents

If you don't bake, don't worry, these are easy to make!!

1 cup powdered sugar, divided in 1/2
2 sticks, or corn margarine if you must, softened
1/4 tsp. salt (optional, but helps with the nuts!)
2 tsp. real vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  In a large bowl, cream half of the sugar into the softened butter, then add the salt and vanilla, creaming well.  Next alternating, add the flour, oats and chopped nuts.  Blend very well.

2.  Flour your hands and roll bits of dough into little logs, then bend into a crescent.  Bake these for 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are light and golden (my note:  this is all going to depend on you oven, I check every five minutes when I'm using an oven I've never used for these before).  Remove and cool on baking rack.  Gently sift the powdered sugar over the cookies, or better yet, dredge them in the sugar.


You can dip these into chocolate (as above) or drizzle with chocolate.

You can add cocoa powder to the above recipe.

Orange zest makes a great addition!

Use different types of nuts.  Other native nuts include cashews, black walnuts, Brazil nuts, even "peanuts."  Non-native almonds are also very good.  

Roll in cinnamon sugar.

Add some native allspice to the cookie dough.

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