Your winter baking inspiration has arrived! We asked the Culinary Institute of America to share their favorite recipes to help you whip up treats like a professional pastry chef. Case in point: pecan diamonds. Not only are they easy to prepare, but they’re also bound to be the first sweet to disappear from the dessert table.
Pecan DiamondsCourse: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
4dozen 2-inch or 8 dozen 1-inch diamonds
- Cookie Dough
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 whole egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ⅔ cups cake flour, sifted
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
½ cup sugar
1 cup honey
½ cup heavy cream
7 ½ cups pecans, chopped
- For the cookie dough, cream together butter and sugar in a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth and light, 1–2 minutes. Gradually incorporate egg and vanilla, stopping mixer and scraping bowl as necessary.
- Add flour and mix on low speed until just blended, about 30 seconds. Do not over-mix.
- Place dough onto parchment paper or a lightly floured surface and shape into a flat square.
- Wrap dough well with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line the bottom of a 15-by-10-inch baking sheet with parchment.
- Roll dough out to a rectangle 17 inches by 12 inches by ⅛-inch thick. Transfer the rolled dough to the baking pan, gently pressing it into the pan. Trim the edges with a paring knife, and prick the bottom of the dough with the prongs of a fork to prevent bubbling during baking.
- Bake until dough is firm but has no color, about 10–12 minutes. Cool dough while you make the filling.
- For the pecan filling, place the butter, sugars, honey, and cream into a heavy-bottom saucepot. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer. Remove pot from the heat, add pecans, and stir until fully incorporated. Immediately pour into the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer.
- Bake in 350°F oven until the filling bubbles evenly across the surface and the crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly before cutting.
- Remove from the pan using a knife to release the edges and invert the slab onto the back of a sheet pan. Transfer to a cutting board by flipping it over so it is right side up. Trim off the edges and cut the pastry into 1-inch or 2-inch diamonds. The bars store well at room temperature, but can also be refrigerated or frozen as long as they are stored in an airtight container.
Related: Pecan Pumpkin Pie