I was in a baking mood today, so I did two batches of cookies this afternoon. The first were pecan sandies from an Ina Garten recipe and the other were my favorite ginger cookies from Maida Heatter.

Here are the recipes:

Pecan sandies
by Ina Garten
1 cup pecans, lightly toasted
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted
butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
30 whole pecan halves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the toasted pecans plus 1/4 cup of the flour in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the nuts are finely ground.
Place the mixture in a medium bowl and add the remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour, the salt and the baking powder. Stir to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla and the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together.
Using your hands, form the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter (1 ounce on a scale). Place the balls 1 inch apart on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Press a pecan half into the center of each ball, pressing the pecan halfway down into the cookie. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cookies turn golden brown around the edges. Cool for 5 minutes. Place on a wire rack and cool completely.
Note: The cooled cookies may be stored in an airtight container for several days.

Ginger Snaps
by Maida Heatter

2 1/2 cups sifted, unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 stick of butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
Granulated sugar

Preheat over to 375 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.

Beat the butter and brown sugar together until creamed. Add the egg and molasses and beat until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.

Place 1 cup of granulated sugar in a small bowl. Form the dough into small balls. The dough will be very soft so handle it gently. Roll each dough ball in the granulated sugar and place on the cookie sheet about 3 inches apard. Sprinkle additional sugar on top of each ball.

Back for 9 minutes, rotating the sheet about midway during baking. The cookies will be cracked but not look done but do not over bake. They are best if they are soft. Cool cookies on the sheets for at least a minute before moving to wire racks to cool completely.

Store the cookies in an airtight container.

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