Now that all the cooking for Christmas and New Year parties is behind us, I felt the next canapé should be easy and quick to throw together, and a real treat. And here we are, a sweet canapé or coffee-time cake that is totally moreish. Use any nuts you like, but in my opinion pecan are hard to beat, butter, flour, icing sugar and vanilla. Hold the diet for a bit ......
Ingredients - makes about 25
125g unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
100g pecan nuts (or your favourite nut)
65g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)
165g plain flour
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Pinch of salt
Heat oven to 180° (160°fan)
Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and cook for about 8 minutes. Don’t let them become too brown. Cool, then blitz in a food processor until fine. Don’t overdo it or they will become oily.
Beat the butter and icing sugar together until it becomes light and fluffy.
Beat in the vanilla, salt and ground nuts.
Finally mix in the flour.
Tip the mixture out onto some cling film and knead for a few minutes, then wrap the dough in the cling film and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Increase oven to 190° (170° fan).
Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
Make small balls of dough (mine were about 15g each) and place at intervals on the baking sheet.
Cook for about 10 minutes until they are starting to turn a light golden colour.
Cool on the tray for a few minutes and when they are cool enough to handle, roll them in some more sieved icing sugar. Put on a cake rack to cool and sprinkle more icing sugar over.
They will keep in a cake tin for a week (if you can resist them) and the baked cakes can be frozen.