I’m like a bower bird when it comes to recipes and food ideas – I collect them anywhere and everywhere I go! And some of my favourites have come from colleagues at work.

About 15 years ago, I worked in an area where quite a few colleagues were keen bakers (in fact I have a couple of fabulous chocolate cake recipes from that era I need to post too!). One day, I think it was in the lead up to Christmas, a colleague brought in a small tin of round biscuits covered heavily in icing sugar. I was initially not keen to try them as anything similar I’d tried before, like Greek Kourabiedes, had been dry and crumbly, and pretty uninteresting.

So I politely took one, and took a bite, and my mouth exploded – the biscuit literally, as it was incredibly fragile and crumbly, and also in overwhelming flavours of toasted nuts and butter and icing sugar…I’d never tasted anything like it!

Unfortunately I didn’t get the recipe at the time, and thought sadly that I might never work out how to make them. Cut to a few years later when I was flicking through the biscuit section of my ever present Joy of Cooking, and I came across a biscuit titled Pecan Puffs. The description and ingredients seemed similar so I gave them a go, and there they were, my amazing exploding biscuits! (I’ve since discovered there are a whole category of similar biscuits often called Mexican (or Russian) wedding cookies (or cakes), but at the time I hadn’t tried anything that compared.)

Even though they are a bit of a hassle to store, and eat, they have since become one of the staples of my Christmas baking, and you can track their consumption by the trails of icing sugar left behind. 🙂

Pecan powder puffs

Adapted slightly from the Joy of Cooking

  • 115g butter
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 100g pecans
  • 130g plain flour
  • icing sugar to coat

Preheat oven to 150C.  Cream butter, sugar and vanilla.  Blitz pecans in a processor until fine rubble, and add to the creamed butter along with the flour. Mix until thoroughly combined. Roll or scoop small balls (I use a 1” dough scoop) onto a baking paper lined tray.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until firm and just colouring. Leave for a couple of minutes to cool slightly, then put a layer of icing sugar in a shallow bowl and roll balls in sugar to coat thoroughly before cooling completely on a rack. You can dust with sugar again at this point, or just before serving. Avoid handling too much or you’ll get finger marks in the icing sugar. Store in an airtight container with paper between the layers.

Makes about 25