A buttery, brown-sugar-rich dough nestled under a pecan half. They never disappoint! Eric’s great-grandmother was Swedish. Grandma Prudie cooked a lot of traditional recipes from her native country that have been passed down. Eric’s family still uses many of the recipes, especially around Christmas. They have a special dinner on Christmas Eve with traditional Swedish meatballs, boiled potatoes, rye bread, and of course tomato aspic.
I am all about tradition, don’t get me wrong. Traditions are about family togetherness and I love them. I especially love them when they are delicious. Unfortunately tomato aspic does not fall under this category. How can you love what is essentially a tomato jello, even if it is dressed up in a bundt mold? I am not alone; even Eric admits that tomato aspic is revolting. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Bumpa (Eric’s grandpa, Prudie’s son) is the only one who eats the stuff every Christmas. This is the same man who also eats pickled herring on a regular basis. Just sayin’.
The first year we were married Eric and I went to my parent’s house for the holidays. We have our Christmas traditions too, and those traditions usually include lots of mashed potatoes and tri-tip. But to make Eric feel more at home, I decided to try to recreate his family’s Christmas Eve dinner, even down to the tomato aspic.
The meatballs turned out awesome. I even won the meatball contest. (My brother-in-law, whose family is hardcore Italian, insisted on having a meatball contest to prove “once again” that northern Europeans (and their meatballs) are inferior to their southern neighbors. Boo-ya.)
Meatballs, check. The potatoes were good. The rye bread was good. The tomato aspic? Didn’t set up. So when we flipped that bundt mold over, instead of revealing our magnificently shaped (if nothing else) tomato jello, out came tomato soup with chunks of gelatin floating in it. Yum.
Even if the tomato aspic tradition is doomed to die on this generations watch, Grandma Prudie’s Swedish cookie tradition is one that is bound to stick around. These Butter Pecans have 6 ingredients and are incredible. I’m usually not one for pecans (or any nuts, for that matter), but these cookies are addictive. Especially since they are tiny; it’s easy to throw down 8 or 9 before you’ve even realized what’s going on. Long live Butter Pecans. Tomato aspic, rest in peace.
Butter Pecans40-50 cookies adjust servings
A buttery, brown-sugar-rich dough nestled under a pecan half. They never disappoint!
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pecan halves
Cream butter and brown sugar.
Add the egg yolk and beat.
Add the flour & salt. Mix until it forms a ball.
Chill the dough for about an hour. (If you are doubling the recipe, be sure to chill for more like 2-3 hours. They will bake flat if the dough is not cold. You can freeze the dough too, if you want.)
Form the dough into 1 inch balls and flatten once with a fork. Press a pecan on top perpendicular to the fork marks.
Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes or until very light brown.
by The Food Charlatan