I remember for birthdays in elementary school, parents could bring in cupcakes or treats for the class to celebrate the occasion. For the last 10 minutes before the school bell rang at the end of the day, everyone just crammed their faces with whatever it was that was brought in. My birthday always fell on spring break, so I suppose my parents lucked out in not having to give a bunch of kids sugary delights.
As an adult, I’ve made it a tradition of sorts to go away on vacation for my birthday – to be some place that isn’t home. But due to several factors this year, my vacation was pushed back a couple of months. So that meant I was home on my birthday this year…
Much to the delight of my coworkers, I worked that day! Why would they be happy that I worked? Well, I brought in treats for THEM on MY birthday!! COOKIES, to be exact. And they were wrapped in pretty packaging.
These cookies are delicious, addicting, buttery, crunchy, and all around awesome. They also look really pretty and sort of fancy too! When I made this batch, my mom was around and she helped me put some pecan halves into the dough. So I suppose I can’t take full credit for making all of these cookies. The most time consuming part of baking this recipe is picking through a bag of pecan halves and finding ones that weren’t broken.
The dough gets pretty stiff due to the amount of flour in it, so I suggest using a stand mixer. If you don’t have one, use a hand mixer for most of then steps, then mix in the flour and nuts by hand with a wooden spoon. The dough might be too stiff and break the motor of your hand mixer.
Orange Cinnamon Pecan Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- zest from 1 medium orange
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- pecan halves (approximately 60 – amount will vary depend on cookie size)
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Cream together the butter, orange zest, and white sugar until fluffy.
- Add in egg and vanilla extract, mixing until well incorporated.
- Mix in the baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
- Add in the flour in three additions until fully combined. (I normally add 1 cup, another cup, then the last ¾ cup of flour)…
- Stir the chopped pecans into the dough.
- Roll a little less than a tablespoon of dough between your hands to form it into a ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. These puff up quite a bit, so ensure that there is at least an inch of space between the dough.
- Using the flat bottom of a glass (or your hand), lightly press down the dough to form an even disk.
- Press a pecan half into the middle of the disk.
- Bake in the center of your oven for 12 minutes.
- Let cool on baking pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool.
There’s not a strong taste of cinnamon or orange to the cookies, but it’s enough to notice and it compliments the sweet taste of the pecan perfectly. If you’re purchasing your orange from a grocery store, remember to wash it well under warm water before zesting it to ensure that you get the wax coating off of the fruit.