This is my first contribution. I was requested by someone in my church for the recipe for my awesome Praline Thumbprint cookies, and thought y'all might enjoy it as well.
I grew up in New Orleans where pralines (pronounced pra (as in bra)--leens) are a favorite souvenir. Pralines are a sugary confection made with sugar, butter, vanilla and pecans. The caramalized sugar is dolloped out onto wax paper and allowed to cool into flat, thin circles. Guaranteed to put you in sugar shock if you eat too many.
The cookies are made in two parts: a plain base with the pecans in the dough, and the praline filling. Be sure to heed my words of hard-won wisdom about making these cookies. They can be a bit finnicky.
Praline Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup softened butter (and you must use real butter)
1c. sifted powdered sugar
2 c. flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Cream the butter. Add sugar and beat well. Add the flour. Your dough should be stiff. Stir in the chopped pecans and vanilla extract.
Shape dough into small balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and press your thumb into it, forming a shall depression. You may have to press around the ball to flatten it out sufficiently.
Bake at 375°F for 11-13 minutes; don't brown the cookies. Cool.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
dash of salt
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. (Don't get it too hot!!! This will burn very easily.) Remove the pan from heat and stir in the milk. Bring to boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. (It may take a bit of time to get the sugar beaten in. If you still have lumps, try using a heavy-duty whisk. If the butter/sugar/milk was done properly, there should not be lumps and the colour should be a light to medium brown, like caramel.)
Add a spoonful or so to the cooled cookies. Best to do this while the praline filling is still hot. It cools rapidly and will harden.
If you have filling left over, you can dollop the extra onto wax paper and add chopped or half-pecans.
Don't be discouraged if the filling doesn't come out right. I make several batches every Christmas, and I always blow at least one pan. Have plenty of butter and sugar on hand.
If you have any questions, I'm happy to help out.