They say that, in general life, necessity is the mother of all invention. In baking, leftovers are the mother of all invention. I can’t count how many recipes I’ve come up with that came out of having extras of an ingredient I used for a different recipe and compulsively needed to use up. It’s like with all the random specialty or seasonal ingredients I’ll buy: for the intended recipe I may only need 1/2 cup but I have to put the remainder to use! Hence three different pomegranate scones, lemon thyme basil scones, and cinnamon chip scones/cinnamon chip pumpkin bread, just to name a few. Once inspiration for those leftovers hits, I often have to run to the grocery store to buy a different specialty ingredient for that recipe and then end up with leftovers of the new ingredients. And thus the leftovers dilemma continues. It’s a vicious cycle my friends.
Combine that with my other compulsive baking need to find some twist on a recipe or figure out some way to make it a little more complicated, and you end up with Toffee and Candied Pecan Snickerdoodles before I even get around to making a solid basic snickerdoodle cookie. Oops. I blame Thanksgiving and salad.
Every big family get together, I make this always popular salad of mixed greens, feta cheese, pomegranate seeds, and candied pecans. And, being the OCD cook/baker that I am, I have to make the candied pecans from scratch. And every time I end up with multiple cups of leftover candied pecans because in my family “big” means six people. This year I was determined not to let all that cinnamon-sugary-nutty goodness go to waste, so I had to figure out what I could bake that would incorporate candied pecans. Other realizations that occurred quite quickly afterwards: it’s cookie season so it should be a cookie, cinnamon and sugar are the bases of snickerdoodles, and toffee chips are delicious so therefore are delicious with pecans. The rest is baking history.
These cookies–soft, buttery, toasty, and chock full of cinnamon sugar–are like the cookie form of sitting in front of a fire curled up in a blanket while it rains outside. They are just comforting. They are homey. They are just a feel-good cookie with a little something for everyone. Because the cookies puff up as they bake, the outside edges get a nice little crunchy while the puffed up center falls post-baking and keeps the middle soft and chewy. The toasty pecans and even further caramelized toffee add a delightfully crunchy element to the softness. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire have nothing on these cookies.
And I feel like I should mention at some point in my cookie recipe cascade that cookies, in fact most baked goods, freeze and keep for ages! You can either freeze the unbaked dough already in ball form and then just bake them a few extra minutes, or freeze baked cookies (in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag) and thaw before
inhaling consuming daintily. I bake a bunch of cookies and then freeze them so that I always have some on hand when I need to put together a last minute gift box! And can you keep a secret? Christmas cookies still taste amazing in February.
Also the dog decoration was just cute. Don’t judge 😉
toffee and candied pecan snickerdoodles
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 230 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/3 cup (267 g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup toffee chips (such as Heath)
- ½ cup chopped candied pecans
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 1 minute on medium speed, until the butter is light and smooth. Add the sugar and cream on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and the vanilla, beating until combined. Scrape down the sides as needed.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in 3 parts, mixing at a slow speed. The dough is thick so this may take a while and you may have to incorporate the last bit of the flour by hand. Fold in the toffee chips and the pecans.
On the cookie sheet, drop 1½ tbsp balls of dough a few inches apart. The cookies will spread. Bake for 10-12 minutes until puffy and light. Remove and let cool on the cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes (longer for crunchier cookies) before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.