Gaylyn Herro | Bryan Texas Utilities
These wonderful “make ahead and bake later” cookies have been a treasured family recipe since 1959, when Herro’s parents, Emma Jean and Keith Jaeger, were married. Traditionally, the cookies were prepared and frozen the week after Thanksgiving (pecan season) then baked in mid-December for Christmas gifts for family members, friends and the community. This recipe also can be cut in half to make fewer cookies if preferred.
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups finely chopped pecans
1. Place the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Gradually add the sugars and beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla; mix well.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt, then gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Add the pecans and stir until just combined. Do not overmix the dough.
3. Transfer the cookie dough to a work surface and divide into six equal portions then refrigerate them on a plate 5–10 minutes (chilling makes the dough easier to work with). Prepare six 6- to 8-inch rectangles of waxed paper or aluminum foil, then place a chilled dough portion in the center of each wrapper sheet and shape it into a roll approximately 1 3/4 inches in diameter, wrapping tightly, then freeze until firm (usually overnight). The cookie rolls will maintain freshness in the freezer for more than 6 months.
4. When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the frozen dough with a sharp knife in approximately 1/8-inch sections then place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 10–12 minutes until lightly browned. Remove cookies to cooling rack.
Makes about 18 dozen cookies.
For the best results, slice and bake these cookies when the dough is still frozen. A food processor makes quick work of chopping the pecans. Simply pulse them into a coarse mixture. If you plan on freezing the cookies for longer than a week, wrap them in plastic wrap or waxed paper and an additional layer of aluminum foil.