These are slice-and-bake cookies. The roll of dough is prepared in advance and kept in the refrigerator. Then, when you're ready to make cookies simply slice the roll into rounds, top with pecans and bake.
Lynn Lewis and Joachim Wahnschaffe
55g (1/2 cup) plain wholemeal flour, plus extra for kneading
55g (1/2 cup) white self-raising white flour
85g (1/3 cup) light brown sugar
55g (1/2 cup) ground rice
30g (1/4 cup) pecan nuts, chopped
Grated rind of 1 orange
80 ml (1/3 cup) sunflower oil
1 large egg
24 pecan nut halves to decorate
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Use 2 large baking trays lined with baking paper. Put flours, sugar, ground rice, nuts and orange rind in a bowl; stir until well combined.
Beat the oil and egg together in a small bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and combine with a fork until mixture comes together to make a dough.
Knead dough very lightly on a floured work surface until smooth. Roll into a sausage shape 30 cm long; wrap in cling wrap and chill for 2 hours. Dough can be kept in the refrigerator for 2–3 days before baking.
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Unwrap dough and cut into 24 slices. Arrange the slices a little apart on baking trays and top each one with a pecan nut half, pressing it in lightly.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until firm to the touch and pale golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Sunflower oil is one of the most widely used vegetable oils because of its mild flavour. It works well in baked goods in place of saturated fats such as butter. It's a very good source of vitamin E—a powerful antioxidant. Polyunsaturated fats, such as are found in sunflower oil, are more susceptible to rancidity than saturated fats. However, the vitamin E content of sunflower oil helps to stop this oil going rancid.
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Chopped hazelnuts (filberts) can be used in place of the pecans, with whole hazelnuts to decorate. * For Almond Polenta Cookies, mix 55 g (1/3 cup/2 oz) instant polenta (cornmeal) with 85 g (2/3 cup/3 oz) icing (confectioners') sugar and 125 g (1 cup/4 1/2 oz) self-raising (self-rising) flour. Rub in 55 g (1/4 cup/2 oz) butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Beat 1 egg with 1/2 tsp almond essence (extract). Add to polenta mixture; mix to a soft dough. Continue as for the main recipe. Scatter flaked almonds on top before baking.