Pecan sandies are also called pecan butter balls and Mexican wedding cakes, and making a gluten-free version of the traditional recipe is a breeze. More on that in just a sec.
Before we get down to business, I wanted to share a post I wrote for BonBonBreak on the theme of giving. The post is called Paris Now and it touches on refugees, and it touches on terrorism – and woven through is the idea of giving.
“The terrorists try to steal so much from us, don’t they? They are the shadows and darkness that want to engulf the world. But our light slices darkness. They can’t steal our forgiveness. They can’t steal our peace. They can’t steal our acts of goodness. They can’t steal our love. They can’t take any of those things unless we give it to them.”
My post was generously sponsored by WaterAid. You can click on the link and find all the ways to make a difference in the world by donating funds to help provide clean water. I have seen death first-hand, resulting from the lack of clean water. I have held a baby who – only minutes before, fixed his eyes on my face – and who suddenly no longer had life in his small frame, all because of an infection related to lack of clean water. It makes a difference. Clean water makes a difference.
I know I’m asking a lot – for you to read my post on BonBonBreak, and also for you to visit WaterAid and contribute to their mission (even by doing something as simple as sharing it). But I hope you will.
And now … on the theme of giving, I give you Gluten-Free Pecan Sandies!
Chop a cup’s worth of pecans and spread them over a baking sheet. Bake them until toasty (about 8-10 minutes in a pre-heated oven set to 350°). When they’re done, put them in a Cuisinart and give them a few whirls – they should be ground, but not overly so. There should be some larger pieces mixed in as well.
I used a little more than half of the butter the original recipe calls for. I got away with it by adding xanthan gum to help it stick. The original recipe calls for 2 sticks of butter, and I used 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon. I’ll include both amounts in the recipe box below and you can decide which you prefer. This totally works as a lower-fat option, but you’ll be squeezing the dough more tightly to form a ball than if you had used the full amount of butter.
Combine the softened butter with 1/2 cup confectioner sugar, plus 1/4 salt and 2 teaspoons vanilla. To make things even more interesting, I used a teaspoon of vanilla and the insides of one vanilla bean. You can use 2 teaspoons vanilla.
When that’s mixed, add 2 cups of flour. I used a gluten-free fiber variety, which has beet fiber. I also added a teaspoon of xanthan gum. Honestly, even if you end up using the full amount of butter, I would still add it because when I’ve made the normal recipe it tends to crumble because there is no egg to hold it together.
This is what yours will look like if you use less butter. It will be less crumbly if you use the full amount.
Bake in a pre-heated oven to 325° for about 12 minutes, turning the baking sheet half-way through to avoid over-browning on one side.
When they’ve cooled, roll them in confectioner sugar.
And there you have it!
Gluten-free, higher-fibre, lower-fat pecan sandies.
(And please don’t forget to read my post at BonBonBreak). 🙂
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Butter, either 1 stick and 1 tablespoon (125 grams) or 2 sticks (240 grams)
- ½ cup confectioner sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ¼ t salt
- 2 cups GF flour
- 1 t xanthan gum
- Extra confectioner sugar for rolling
- Toast pecans for 8-10 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 350°F (175° C)
- Grind pecans, but not too much. Leave a few chunks.
- Mix butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and ground pecans.
- When that's formed a mixture, add flour and xanthan gum.
- Bake for 12 minutes at 325°F or 160°C.
- When cool, roll in confectioner sugar.
- Because of their "sandy" nature, they taste amazing with tea or coffee.
(I can’t resist a random picture of my chocolate-peppermint cupcakes, made on the same day, because they turned out so pretty).