Let’s make this a little less ambiguous.
Gewürzplätzchen and Pecan Lace cookies are not the same cookie. Or rather, the recipe is similar but the results are different. In other words, when our great, great, great-however-many grammas made this in the Old Country they looked like the cookies from Lecker. But when they came here and had to deal with American
Stupid Standard measurements AND were short-sighted enough to leave their measure cups at home, the recipe evolved into this American classic cookie. Let me illustrate with this handy bit of photoshopping….
You see, the picture from Lecker is how they are supposed to look. That recipe is here. The recipe is in metric which is where I think the issues developed with this cookie. Oh and please, do not make my mistake and think that the pecan pieces from the store do not need to be chopped smaller. THEY DO! They most definitely need to be smaller than what the store deems appropriate. And get yourself some metric measuring cups. The international marketplace has finally caught up to consumer desire.
Now, what happens to this recipe if you are a. terrible at math, b. embrace guestimation in spite of a good metric conversion table at your finger tips and c. give in to the impulse to “wing it”? You get Pecan lace cookies.
Accuracy, anal retentive, Type A, drill sergeant accuracy is important in baking if you are to have success that fuels future adventures. Without that kind of accuracy you have to make adjustments as you go. That means you have to know when your dough is performing as expected. I should have known this was going to spread out like it did because the flour to butter ratio was too low. Did I add more flour? No. Did they spread like a horrible sci-fi movie blob? Yes.
Are they still pretty? And tasty? Yes. And yes. So if you want the authentic German style cookie of the holiday use the link above and go to my favorite German cooking magazine’s site. If you want the pecan lace cookies keep reading.
You will need:
- ½ C +1 TBS butter, softened
- ½ C -2tsp Brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 TBS maple syrup
- 1 C -2TBS pecan pieces
- 2½ C Flour
- ½ tsp cake spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 TBS orange zest
- 3.5 oz dark melting chocolate
Bring butter, sugar, maple syrup to a boil. Remove from heat and cool.
Chops nuts. Add to syrup mixture
Sift together flour and spices. Mix into cooled syrup and knead.
Form dough into a roll 1½ inches diameter by approximately 12 inches. Wrap and chill overnight.
Slice into ¼ inch pieces. Bake at 390° for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely.
Melt chocolate and drizzle across half the cooled cookie. Allow chocolate to set.
They are crispy and light and very delicate. These are not going to survive shipment anywhere. I served these standing in baking cups, arranged on a plate and drove 8 blocks to work. It was a perilous journey.
But the oohs and aahs were totally worth it.