In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat it for at least 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom.
Add the egg yolk and beat well.
Add the flour & salt. Mix until it forms a ball, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. When all the flour is incorporated, stop beating. (Over beating makes for a tough dough.)
Cover the bowl and chill 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. Place on the cookie sheet with one inch of space in between each cookie.
Flatten each ball once with a fork. If the fork is sticking, dip it in flour, then press on the cookie.
Press a pecan on top, perpendicular to the fork marks.
Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes or until they are no longer shiny on the top or edges.* I don't let mine get brown, or if they do, it is a very small amount on the bottom edges.
This recipe is from Grandma Prudie, Eric's great-grandmother.*The cook time on this recipe is MUCH DEBATED. I like to cook for a minimal amount of time (6-8 minutes) until the cookies are just cooked through. This way they are soft and stay that way for a few days. Kris, Eric's mom, likes very crunchy cookies and will leave them in the oven until they are brown and very crispy. The choice is yours!You can chill the dough for up to 3 days before using. If you need longer than that, throw it in a Ziploc in the freezer. It will keep a long time! Let thaw on the counter until cold, then shape into balls. You can even shape the cookies, including the fork marks and the pecans, then store them in a tight container in the fridge or freezer, then bake up to 2-3 days later.