Like the Lime Oatmeal Illusion, this cookie falls in the category of "easy dessert you can take to a party that isn't something everybody has eaten a thousand times before, but isn't so weird that people will refuse to try it."

This cookie isn't trying to be pecan pie, but it's similar in flavor. People who come close to liking pecan pie but find it too sweet, or have issues with its gloopy texture, tend to love this, which acts more or less like a brownie. Thick with pecans (and chocolate chips, should you choose to include them), this cookie is chewy, rich, and a nice new spin on familiar flavors.


ingredients:

    crust:
  • 3 cups (11.5 oz / 320g) graham cracker crumbs
  • 0.75 cup (1.5 sticks / 6 oz / 170g) butter, salted or unsalted, room temp
  • 0.25 cup granulated sugar (1.75 oz / 50g)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (0.5 oz / 16g)
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt (0.05 oz / 1.5 g) (more like 0.25 tsp, if using salted butter)
    topping:
  • 2.5 cups (16.5 oz, 470g) brown sugar, packed (if measuring by volume)
  • 4 eggs
  • 0.75 cup graham cracker crumbs (3 oz / 80g)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (37ml)
  • 0.75 teaspoon salt (0.08 oz / 2.5 g)
  • 0.5 teaspoon baking powder (0.08 oz / 2.3g)
  • ~1 cup pecans (4 oz / 110g), toasted then chopped
  • ~0.5 cup mini chocolate chips (3 oz / 85g) (optional)

procedure:

Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C. Spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray (or butter it lightly).

In a large mixing bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, flour and salt until homogenous.

Scoop this into the pan, and press into an even layer.

Bake about 10-15 minutes, until slightly golden. (Set a timer!)

While this is cooking, use the same bowl to whisk the brown sugar with the eggs.

Add graham cracker crumbs, vanilla, salt and baking powder; stir until homogenous.

Add pecans and chocolate chips, if using.

Spread this over the crust and bake about 20-25 minutes. It can be a little hard to tell when this is done, but the top will be golden brown and may still jiggle a little when tapped.

Let cool to room temp before cutting.


notes:

Yes, this thing really does call for most of a box of graham crackers. Turning them into crumbs is the only pain-in-the-ass part of this recipe; I recommend a food processor. Alternately, double ziplock bag them and hand them to a child.

If you don't have graham crackers, I hesitate to suggest anything else... the recipe is really built on that flavor. Vanilla wafers would probably work, but with a different (probably still good) result.

Always pre-toast the nuts.

You can use the knife test to see whether these are done, but it works differently than checking a cake. Don't expect a knife inserted at the center to come out cleanly - even when the cookies are done, the blade may well come back looking wet. Rather, when you think the cookies are close to finished, insert the knife into the definitely-done area near the edge of the pan, and look at the blade. Wipe it clean, and insert it again, this time in the center of the pan. If the results look the same, your cookies are done. If the blade looks noticeably goopier the second time around, give it a few more minutes in the oven.

Longer cooking time is needed if you're using a glass pan. Just keep an eye on them.

This is one of the rare occasions when I feel the chocolate really is not mandatory. The nutty, caramelly flavor of these cookies is strong enough to stand on its own. Chocolate's definitely nice in there though.

Once I accidentally used low-fat graham crackers. It worked out fine, but the cookies were a little more crumbly and hard to cut. If you want to do this, to trim out a bit of fat, you have my blessing.

The amounts of nuts and chocolate given above will work perfectly. I always end up including maybe 25% more of both, out of enthusiasm or a desire to use things up. Don't add too much more than that, or things won't stick together right.

I haven't tried it, but I feel like walnuts might be outstanding in these.

Of course I want to hear about it, if you make these.

Photo and original recipe here.

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