December 5, 2013

By Stacy Greenlee, Culinary Arts January 2013

In the midst of the holiday season with Thanksgiving past and Christmas quickly approaching, I find myself baking up a frenzy of sweets. Everything from pies to cookies, to cakes, and bars, I freeze and defrost just before company arrives. Over the years, with help from traditional family recipes and some technical tweaking learned at August Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, I have found some tried and true baking recipes that serve me well this season. That is one of the beauties of attending a culinary school; you have the ability to reconceptualize recipes that have been made for years into a new and improved dish.

I have heard over the years that an individual is either a baker or a cook. I know that I am a cook, not a baker. I try very hard and usually do a pretty good job, especially thanks to my new acquired baking skills learned at Escoffier, but I know that I am not a person who enjoys cooking by precise measurement. I much prefer throwing ingredients together, a little here, a little there, as much or as little as I feel the dish requires. However, I do have a baking recipe, one of my favorites that I enjoy baking, and always comes out perfectly. Please try this holiday season!

Pecan Tasties
Makes 24

3 ounces Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup sifted All-Purpose Flour
1 large Egg
3/ cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Dark Karo Syrup
1 Tablespoon soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of Salt
2/3 cup Pecan Pieces

Method for Dough:
1. Allow cream cheese and butter to soften at room temperature.
2. Blend cream cheese and butter together.
3. Add flour. Mix and knead into ball.
4. Allow to chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.
5. Remove and divide into 24 pieces.
6. Press into mini muffin pan.

Method for Filling:
1. Beat together all ingredients, aside from pecans, until just smooth.
2. Divide pecans among 24 pastry tins.
3. Add mixture to each pastry tin.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.