The nice people at the Pecan Store, 1625 E. Sahuarita Road, Sahuarita, Arizona, sent me a half-pound bag of their halved pecans to sample. This was like sending an egg to a chicken, because North Carolina has lots of pecan trees, and delicious pecans abound in our stores. In fact, there's a nice gentleman at our local farmer's market that sells young pecans from his trees that are unbelievably delicious. I also buy young pecans from Sam's Club that are very high quality and low in price. But, always up for something new, I decided to try the Pecan Store's pecans to see if they were better. I tasted them plain, toasted and in baked goods. While I can't say that they were any better than what I can get here, I will say their brochure is interesting. The Pecan Store sells all kinds of pecan goodies, and they ship. They have bread mixes, BBQ sauce, honey butters, hot sauce, salsas, relishes, jams, jellies and mustards. Check out the Pecan Store's website for a complete list of sale items.
In the meantime, here's an experimental dessert I made with their pecans. These coconut-pecan shortbread hearts are delicious. Not overly sweet, they have a delightful coconut taste which complements the toasted pecans. The chocolate drizzle takes them over the top. Bake them till golden brown for a nice crispness. (Coconut flour is available in most grocery stores, in the health food section. Bob's Red Mill produces a nice small bag which stores in the freezer quite well. Extra virgin unrefined coconut oil is also available at many grocery stores and there are several brands to choose from. Spectrum is one. The brand I use is Garden of Life, available from their website or through health food stores. )
(Coconut meat and flour add fiber and protein to baked goods; coconut milk and oil have numerous benefits and are considered to be stable, healthy saturated fats.) However, all desserts, even those that have been "dressed up" with healthful ingredients, should be consumed in moderation.
Coconut-Pecan Shortbread Hearts
Source: Judy's Kitchen
Rating: 9 out of 10
INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup toasted pecans
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup Smart Balance 50/50 butter blend (or butter, if preferred)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. coconut-flavored rum (or plain rum)
Place nuts in work bowl of food processor and pulse several times to chop them. Add flour, coconut meal and brown sugar and pulse again till nuts are more finely ground. Add remaining ingredients and pulse till mixture comes together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F. Place the chilled dough onto a floured surface and roll the dough 1/4" thick; cut into desired shapes; place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes, or till golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Make a double boiler by placing a glass or metal bowl over a pot of hot, not boiling, water. Put about 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks in the double boiler till they melt. You can spoon this into a plastic bag and snip the end off to drizzle over the cookies, or you can just drizzle from a spoon -- your call. I did the former. It's a thick drizzle, but it's delicious. I used Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips. This recipe yielded 15
cookies for me, but yield will vary according to the cookie cutter you use and thickness of dough.