Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Pecan Fingers

Yesterday I tried my hand at adapting a family favorite Christmas cookie recipe to make it gluten-free.  

Pecan Fingers.  I think they're known by other names and shapes...Wedding Cakes, Pecan Crescents, etc.

The good news is they tasted pretty good!  I substituted a gluten-free flour blend and ghee instead of butter. 

However, they were much more delicate than the traditional version made with regular flour, and tended to crumble and break easily.  That's not surprising, since the gluten in regular flour is what makes dough sticky.  The GF flour blend compensates for this somewhat by including xanthan gum.

You're supposed to roll them in powdered sugar after baking. The rolling part was a no-go.  They were too breakable, these gluten-free cookies. 

Instead, I resorted to sprinkling them with powdered sugar sifted through the tines of a fork.  That worked pretty well.

After an initial small test batch, I decided to use a cookie dough scoop to just plop the rest onto the baking sheet, no fussing with finger shapes.

So instead of Pecan Fingers (aka Broken Fingers), we had Pecan Snowballs.  They tasted even better today.

Here is the original recipe, in the words of my mom.  I'd asked her to write down this and a couple other family favorite recipes for me about 10 or a dozen years ago.  I like how she included helpful hints and her own words of wisdom. 

Next up, caramel corn!  What's in your oven?


  1. I love those things.......OH, i should never have opened your post....

  2. It's wonderful that you can make these in a gluten free version now, but still use your mom's recipe!

  3. Thanks for the recipe and the tips. I do all of my baking gluten free these days, not all of it is successful, so it is nice to have a tested recipe.

  4. I wish had seen this yesterday too! My mom's recipe is close to this but has 2 c of chopped pecans. My dish was so dry that I added more water and that seemed to help. Because I was making these for my dad, I kept them in the "finger" shape, but next time I am going to do the balls!

  5. I found your post searching for GF Pecan Fingers, because 'I gotta make some today!'. The first time I made mine they turned out terrific....the second time I had the same crumbles that you did. After doing research - I learned that the amount of butter had to be cut back. My recipe said 1 cup butter, - I cut it back to 3/4 cup. That made a difference.

    You should try to add 1/4th tsp of xanthum gum to your dough -- just about any cookie dough or muffins I add the 1/4 t. xanthum gum. It seems to help - and it doesn't really hurt.

    Okay - the other thing I found through trial and error...initially, the cookies crumble - because we take them off of the cookie sheet too soon. They have to sit 5 minutes or so and 'settle together/bind". They are still warm when I start to roll them in the p. sugar.

    I just remembered this: I put powdered sugar in a rectangular pyrex dish, its about 5X7 & and inch or so high. Then I take a small spatula/flipper (Google this: Stainless Steel Mini Cookie Spatulas with Wood Handle) spatula/flipper of cookies (3 or 4 of them) and gently slide them off into the powered sugar, so they can start to be coated (I love lots of the p sugar on them!)

    Then I just test them in a few minutes to see if they can be rolled. It works great!

    Sorry that this is kind of mixed up. I've got a bit of ADHD, and probably should have made this more orderly!
    Speaking of the ADHD, I always re-write my recipes "In Order' - meaning I write the ingredients in my recipe in the order that they are added...and usually group the dry, and the wet separately. It's really helped me to be able to follow a recipe with great success. Those of you who can do it with out a re-write, I envy you!

    Happy Holidays everyone!


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