Pecans are savory offerings that are ideal in savory dishes and desserts. Like the fruits of other members of the hickory tree genus, pecans are not actually nuts, but drupes. A drupe is a fruit with a single core or pit surrounded by a husk. With pecans, the outer husk dries out and splits open, exposing the “nuts” inside.
Georgia, New Mexico and Texas are the top national producers of pecans, but Mexico produces nearly half of the world’s pecans. Pecans are heart-healthy and rich in antioxidants, several vitamins and minerals, and a good source of healthy fats. Plus, one ounce of pecans provides 10% of your daily recommended fiber intake.
Cookies may never be considered “health food,” but there are ways to make them more nutritious. Adding beneficial ingredients like pecans can do just that. This “Cowboy Cookies” recipe from “Live Well, Bake Cookies” (Rock Point) by Danielle Rye includes oats, pecans and coconut in the mix, adding flavor and nutritional appeal .
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3⁄4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans (see cooking tip)
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt until well blended. Stir in the old fashioned rolled oats and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together for 1 to 2 minutes, or until well blended.
3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract until fully blended, making sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined, then stir in chocolate chips, shredded coconut and chopped pecans on low speed until fully incorporated.
5. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
6. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
7. Using an 11⁄2 tbsp scoop, drop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave a little space between each one. Gently press each ball of cookie dough to flatten slightly.
8. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, or until tops of cookies are set and edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheets for 5-10 minutes, then carefully transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
9. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Cooking Tip: For even more flavor, try toasting the pecans. Just cool them completely before adding them to the cookie dough.