Happy End of Year Cookies!

BrownedPecanSandies1 Have you ever browned butter called for in a cookie recipe? Oh, my gosh, the flavor is amazing. I’m always reading all I can about baking—my true love; I read somewhere of someone “browning” the butter when they make chocolate chip cookies. The recipe below calls for “boiling the butter till it turns frothy,” though the name of the Cookie has the word Browned in it. I thought to myself, that’s strange. After baking up a batch, I get it.
As a matter of fact, that’s going to be my MO from now on 🙂 Just the smell of the butter browning is fabulous! These taste like pecan pie in a cookie, a unique recipe, no eggs, nor baking soda, nor baking powder. Totally fabulous and wonderful and delicious! How could they not be? They’re callied Sandies.
Happy New Year to all of our friends and followers.

Browned Butter Pecan Sandies

BrownedPeacans2Makes: 36 servings Serving size: 1 cookie Yield: 36 cookies
Prep 45 mins
Cook 6 mins
Bake 350° 10 mins per batch
Cool 15 mins

• 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 3/4 cup powdered sugar
• 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 3 – 4 tablespoons half-and-half or light cream
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• Coarse sugar (optional)
• 36 pecan halves
• Molasses or maple syrup (optional)

1. Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease baking sheets or line with parchment; set aside.
2. In a medium heavy saucepan bring butter to boiling over medium heat (it will be foamy). Adjust heat so it bubbles gently. Cook, stirring the bottom frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Stir in chopped pecans (it’s normal for mixture to foam up). Return to a gentle boil. Cook, watching carefully, for 1 to 2 minutes (if pecans begin to darken, immediately remove pan from heat). Transfer butter-pecan mixture to a large bowl. Cool about 15 minutes.
3. Stir powdered sugar, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons half-and-half, vanilla, and salt into the cooled butter-pecan mixture until smoothly incorporated. Stir in flour until fully incorporated. If mixture is crumbly, work in additional half-and-half until it holds together, but is not wet. If mixture is wet, let stand for 5 to 10 minutes more.
4. Divide dough into thirds. Divide each third into 12 equal balls. Roll each bowl in coarse sugar, if desired. Place balls about 2 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets; press a pecan half firmly into each. if edges of the rounds crack, just push back together.
5. Bake one baking sheet at a time for 10 to 13 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to brown. Rotate baking sheet from front to back about halfway through.
6. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack. Let cool 5 minutes to firm up. Using a wide spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack. Brush pecans on top with molasses or maple syrup, if desired. Cool completely.

Store at room temperature up to 10 days.
Freeze up to 2 moths.

Recipe Borrowed from Better Homes and Gardens


Over the Hudson and Thru the Woods


Part of the wonder of being up in the Oblong Valley is our proximity to the beautiful Hudson Valley and all of its culture. It’s no wonder President Clinton’s daughter Chelsea was married in the Hudson Valley—there are numerous mansions—there with extraordinary heritages and traditions, Christmas being a big part of their seasons!

The ride from our house to Hudson Valley is a classic “Over the River and Thru the Woods” kind of drive. On the way you’ll pass equestrian farms, sheep and llama farms, quiet hamlets, some great gift and antique stores, and of course, at the end you’ll find Poughkeepsie, Vassar, and the mighty Hudson River.

This is a run down on just 8 of the great happenings going on this season, starting right now (and before now, but you know, here we are posting it)! So come on up and see what the big attraction(s) is. Many of these tours are free and have provisions for kids too. 

A blessed Christmas, is what most of these Anglo American houses are celebrating, so let us be politically open about it and just wish you all Merry Christmas.


VVictorian Holiday Tours at Wilderstein

Weekends from Nov. 29-Dec. 29.

Queen Anne Victorian mansion in Rhinebeck

enjoy self-guided tours of Victorian and modern decorations

Make reservations: special Yuletide Tea on Sat., Dec. 14,


Holiday Tours and Open House at the Home of Franklin Roosevelt

Holiday Open House on Sat., Dec. 14, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mansion and Val Kill in Hyde Park, through Dec.

Admission free

Children’s Reading Festival in the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center Free

photos with Santa from 1 to 3 p.m., and children can make holiday cards for sailors

aboard the USS Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt beginning at noon.

Shuttles to Val-Kill for a holiday open house from 4 to 7 p.m.

For information, call 845-229-5320 or toll free, 800-FDR-VISIT

Christmas at Clermont

Celebrate Sat., Dec. 14, free Open House

Special candlelight tours this year starting at 3 p.m. on Dec. 15

After enjoy wassail and holiday goodies in the historic kitchen


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas at Locust Grove

Saturdays thru  Dec. 21, tours of the mansion’s 25 decorated rooms

Sundays Dec. 15 and 22


Best known as home of telegraph inventor Samuel F.B. Morse,

Original owner, Henry Livingston, Jr., is believed by some to be the true author of the

classic Christmas tale “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

feature Holiday House Hunts for kids, with clues from “The Twelve Days of


Thursday, Dec. 12, Holiday Sunset Sensations twilight tours and wines paired with

holiday nibbles prepared by Chef John Lekic of Le Express Bistro.

Tickets $30 in advance; $35 at the event


A Gilded Age Christmas at Staatsburgh State Historic Site

Thurs. – Sun. from Nov. 21 – Dec.29

In the hamlet of Staatsburg,

Formerly known as the Mills Mansion

If the snow remains–take the kids! They’ll love sledding with a Hudson River view

Mr. Dickens Tells a Christmas Carol at Lyndhurst

Dec. 13 – 29

Located in Tarrytown, this is a fortress-like Gothic Revival Mansion on the Hudson

90-minute, all-ages theatrical performances of “Mr. Dickens Tells a Christmas Carol”

Guests follow actor Michael Muldoon through the mansion as he weaves tales

Tickets are $35 adults / $15 children up to age 16 and can be purchased online


Joyeux Noel at Vanderbilt Mansion

Holiday season tour in Hyde Park

See sparkling, elaborate Christmas decorations regular tours

845-229-7770 to verify hours and dates.

Nights of 10,000 Lights at Boscobel

Fridays Dec. 13 and 20 –  5 to 9 p.m.

Saturdays Dec. 14 and 21 –  5 to 9 p.m.

Candlelit paths illuminating the gardens and grounds, optional twilight tours of the

federal-style mansion in Garrison, overlooking West Point

Advance tickets strongly recommended for those who wish to venture inside. Daytime

tours daily except Tuesdays and Christmas Day through Dec. 31

House Tour reservations are not required