(Cookie recipe from Barefoot Contessa Cookbook or Food Network)
3/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups small diced pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt (you can also wisk them if you don’t have a sifter handy) then add to the butter/sugar mixture. Add the pecans and mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.*
*If the dough is not coming together, melt a tablespoon or two of butter and add into the dough on low speed until the dough starts to come together.
Dust your flat surface with floor and dump out your dough, shaping it into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
When chilled, remove from plastic and sprinkle a little flour over your dough and onto your rolling pin. Roll out the dough 1/2-inch thick and either cut into squares with a knife or into shapes with a cookie cutter. Place the cookies on an baking sheet (parchment paper optional, though I recommend it).
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Be very careful, as it is very easy to overcook the cookies. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving or dipping in chocolate.
If you decide to dip in chocolate, you will need one 12oz bag of chocolate chips. Using a double boiler or microwave, melt your chocolate, being very careful not to overcook or burn it. With the double boiler, ensure that your bowl does not touch the water, and remove your chocolate from the heat just before everything is melted. With a microwave, heat the chocolate for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each increment. You may also want to reduce your power level to 50%.
When your chocolate is melted, dip your cookies into the chocolate or drizzle chocolate over the cookies as you choose. I recommend using an offset spatula or spoon to help you spread the chocolate evenly over the cookies. Place the cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and cool in the fridge for 10-15 minutes until the chocolate has hardened. Remove from the fridge and cookies reach room temperature before serving or storing.