These buttery cookies melt in your mouth and are perfect with a warm cup of coffee on a brisk early spring day.
1 ½ cups pecans (pieces or halves)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Heat the oven to 350 degree F. Position the racks in the upper and lower thrids of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the pecans on one of the baking sheets and toast for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant (it will take less time if you’re using pieces rather than halves). Set aside until cool; turn off the oven.
Place the butter, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl now and then.
With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the egg yolk, maple syrup, and vanilla until well combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly sprinkle in the flour, mixing just until incorporated. Mix in the toasted pecans.
Divide the dough into three equal portions. Roll each portion into a log. (For bite-size cookies, make the log 1 inch in diameter; for larger cookies, make it 2 inches.) Wrap the logs in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 3 days. The dough can also be frozen for later use (thaw on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing).
To bake, heat the oven to 350 degree F. Cut the logs into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared pans. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking.
Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for a minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets completely between batches.