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Cookie classics: Make-ahead holiday cookies combine two favorites in one

By Wolfgang Puck, Tribune Content Agency on

Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Spread the pecans on a baking tray and toast them in the oven until fragrant and slightly darkened in color, 10 to 12 minutes, turning them halfway through. Set aside to cool, then coarsely chop them by hand or by pulsing briefly in a food processor.

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle or beaters (or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held electric mixer), soften the butter at medium speed. Add the brown and granulated sugars, and continue beating; once they're fully incorporated, increase the speed to high and continue beating until the mixture looks fluffy, stopping as needed to scrape down the sides of the bowl and under the beaters with a rubber spatula.

Reduce the speed to medium and, one at a time, add the eggs and then the vanilla, stopping as needed to scrape down the bowl and beaters. Reduce the speed to low and gradually pour in the flour mixture, stopping as soon as it is incorporated.

Add the chocolate, oats, and pecans to the bowl. Stir with a sturdy wooden spoon until fully incorporated. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Fold the wrap around the dough and refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

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Position the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Line 1 or 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into mounds about the size of an unshelled walnut, weighing about 1 ounce (30g) each, rolling each mound into an even ball between the palms of your clean hands. Arrange the balls on the prepared baking trays about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Bake in the preheated oven until slightly firm to the touch, 13 to 15 minutes, reversing the trays back to front about halfway through for even baking. Transfer the trays to racks to cool.

After a few minutes, remove the trays from the racks. Use a wide metal spatula to remove the cookies from the trays, transferring them back to the racks to cool completely. (If reusing a baking tray, allow a few minutes for it to cool slightly before placing a new batch of dough balls on it.) Store the cookies in an airtight container at cool room temperature and serve within three days.



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