However you say it, pecans are a nut that grows on a type of hickory tree, and the name comes from an Algonquian word that refers to pecans, walnuts, or hickory nuts — any kind of nut that requires a stone to crack it open.
Nutty and “new.” Native to the US and Mexico, growing wild and well-known to indigenous people and European colonizers for centuries, the pecan tree was only domesticated as recently as the 1880s. Most of today’s pecan crops are grown in Georgia, Texas, and New Mexico, and the nuts are harvested in the fall.
Pecans are high in protein, iron, “healthy” fats, and B vitamins. They have a rich, buttery flavor, and dessert-loving cooks seek them out for use in praline candies, pecan pie (of course), batter breads and in all sorts of bars and cookies.
Speaking of which, September 21 is National Pecan Cookie Day, and we have a bevy of cookie recipes (including this week’s Recipe of the Week) that happen to feature pecans, if you are inclined to celebrate:
- Chocolate Pecan Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies
- Blood Orange Olive Oil Rosemary Pecan Ice Box Cookies
- Spiced Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Orange-Pecan Olive Oil Cookies
- Blonde Brownies (technically a “bar cookie,” right?)
- Chocolate Cacao Nib Cookies
What’s your favorite kind of pecan cookie?
pecan cookie photo credit