April is Pecan month, believe it or not. I’m not sure who decides what food is celebrated in what month, especially considering the pecan harvest is in the fall. Whatever the month or time of year, pecans have become a regular part of my healthy eating plan. I use them in cereal, salads, as a crunchy topping for fish or chicken, and of course, in desserts including this recipe for a small batch of Small Batch Pecan Macaroons. These cookies are crispy, chewy, and buttery, yet made with only four ingredients. They’re gluten-free and dairy-free if you need it, and so good you won’t care if you don’t. You’ll love the small-batch, small-bake — and the fact they’re completely made in the food processor.
Macaron vs Macaroon
French macarons (pronounced “mack-ah-ROHN”) are sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, sugar, and almond meal. They are often brightly colored, prissy little sandwiched cookies. Macaroons (pronounced “mack-ah-ROON”) are mostly seen around Passover and are made from egg white, sugar, and grated coconut.
However, there is a third French macaroon known as macaron rustique or macaron à l’ancienne. They are descended from almendrados, a Spanish almond cookie. Jewish culinary authority Joan Nathan wrote in the New York Times that almendrados date from the 15th century or earlier. I love that sort of food history!
It was this third type of macaroon that inspired my Small Batch Pecan Macaroon. (Yes, I will admit I’d been hoping to post them for Passover, but I am not always the woman I wish I was and these cookies are delicious, regardless.)
Being a Georgia girl, I love pecans. Of course, my love of peanuts is very well established. I grew up in the middle of pecan, peanut, cotton, and peach country.I always feel true sorrow and empathy when I consider just how many people have not had a properly Southern grown, fresh, properly stored pecan. A famous French rock star pastry chef I follow on Instagram showed terrible, dry, rancid-nasty pecans in a reel. I DM-ed him so that I could send him some. He did not respond. Truly his loss.
An Ounce of Prevention
Nuts are part of a well-rounded diet. According to the Mayo Clinic and the Harvard School of Medicine, nuts are a powerhouse of good nutrition that can dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease. Nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients. And they’re a great snack food — inexpensive, easy to store, and easy to pack when you’re on the go. I always have pecans and peanuts on hand.
Studies have shown the health benefits of nuts which contain monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, copper, protein, fiber, and antioxidant phytochemicals. They’ve been shown to play an important role in helping to lower “bad” cholesterol levels and raise “good” cholesterol levels. In addition, they can help dilate blood vessels and prevent hardening of the arteries.
Another part of my healthy eating plan and my intention of sharing good-and-good-for-you WW-friendly recipes with you is creating recipes with smaller yields. I think small bakes are a thing. It may be partially COVID-related with people living in smaller pods. I baked a batch, reserved them and now have them in the freezer. It’s nice to have a little something sweet around the house, but not so much that you get tired of it or it goes bad.
Enter “Small Bakes” and “Small Batch” cookies and desserts. It’s super practical and limits temptation. Having a small batch of homemade cookies around, especially ones that store and freeze well works well for me.
Although not gluten-free, I have been working with almond flour and peanut powder or flour, so I thought I also needed to give pecan flour a try. However, almond flour and peanut powder or flour are widely available and pecan flour is not. Therefore, this recipe starts with pecan halves, not flour or meal. And, boom. The entire recipe is prepared in the food processor. It couldn’t be easier.
Pointing Things Out
Thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoy it! These cookies come in at 2.6 WW points with or without the one extra pecan so I round up to 3 blue points per cookie.
I want to clarify that I am sharing what has worked for me. I am not a doctor or a registered dietician. Also, I hope these recipes are helpful in your health. I will also say this is not ALL about weight loss. For me, it’s been about becoming healthy and strong. Happiness cannot be found in a number.
I have a BIG favor I would like to ask if you are enjoying my new ebook Fresh Start or just the recipes here on my blog. Please post and share on social, especially if you are in a like-minded or WW group on Facebook. I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance!
Bon Appétit, Y’all
(Fresh Start is a whole new collection of recipes and non-recipes. There’s only one or so that has been on this blog.)
Small Batch Pecan Macaroons
- 1 ½ cups pecan halves about 6 ounces, plus more for garnish.
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamon
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1 large egg white
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick silicone baking mat. Place the pecans, sugar, cardamon, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until finely ground and combined. Add egg white and pulse to combine.
- Using a 1-tablespoon ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet about 1-inch apart.
- You can bake these cookies 1 of 3 ways: Scooped and plain; scooped and flattened with the bottom of a moistened glass; or scooped, flattened, and topped with an additional pecan half.
- Bake until browned and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet to a rack to cool slightly before transferring the individual cookies to the rack to cool completely. Store the cookies for up to 1 week in a sealable airtight container.
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