Salted Pecan Candy Cap Sables

Sandy, buttery cookies become an addictive conversation piece with the addition of ground candy cap mushrooms and flaky sea salt. When dried, candy caps taste like an earthy version of maple syrup, and add delicious flavor to many baked goods.

For the classic candy cap cookies, the dried caps are rehydrated, then chopped finely and added to a soft dough. I wanted to try dispersing the candy cap flavor throughout the cookie, so I ground the shrooms in a coffee grinder, like you would fresh spices. I made a buttery sable dough, tweaked from my favorite Fran Gage recipe (hers are cardamom), and added some chopped, toasted pecans to play up the maple flavor and add a bit of texture. The cookies got rolled into logs, chilled and sliced. A flurry of flaky Malden salt topped the discs and they baked into crumbly, sandy coins of heaven.

Some shortbread cookies call for the addition of cornstarch, rice flour or powdered sugar, as their lack of gluten contributes a desirable sandy quality. I was surprised and pleased to find that the powdered caps had the same effect.

This recipe doubles easily. Extra dough logs store well in the fridge for a week or so, in the freezer for several months. The baked cookies keep for a week or more, stored in an airtight container. Go crazy and serve them with Candy Cap Creme Caramels. Candy caps can be ordered from here.

Salted Pecan and Candy Cap Sables

Makes about 2 dozen 1 1/2 inch cookies

2 teaspoons powdered candy caps (about 1/4 cup dried mushrooms, finely ground in coffee grinder)
4 ounces (1/2 cup, 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened but cool
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
flaky sea salt, such as Malden, for topping the cookies

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the candy cap powder, butter, sugar and salt until well combined and slightly lightened, about 2 minutes. (This dough gets creamed less than usual for cookies and cakes; it should be fairly dense and cool to make it easier to shape into logs.) Add the flour and pecans, mix on low until just combined. Fold the dough a few times by hand to make sure it is thoroughly combined.

Roll the dough into a log, about 12″ long and 1″ in diameter. (For a perfectly round log, roll in a sheet of parchment paper, using a bench scraper or ruler to squeeze the parchment tightly around the dough. See photo, above.) If not using parchment, wrap the log in plastic or wax paper. Chill until firm, 1 hour, or up to several days. (You can also freeze the logs. Thaw in the fridge before proceeding.)

Preheat the oven to 350º. Let the log stand at room temperature for 10 or 15 minutes. Unwrap, and slice the log into 1/4 – 1/2″ coins. (Rotate the log every few slices to prevent it from flattening on one side.) Arrange the cookies, one to two inches apart, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and sprinkle each coin with several flecks of salt.

Bake the coins until they are nicely golden all over, about 20-30 minutes, rotating once or twice. Underbaked cookies will be bland and pasty, so let these go a bit longer than you think. They will crisp up as they cool.

The cookies store very well in an airtight container for up to a week.

12 thoughts on “Salted Pecan Candy Cap Sables”

  1. The cookies spread to very thin wafers with brown edges. They are more like lace cookies than sand cookies. I’ve tried them at two different temperatures – 350 and 375. I tried letting the dough sit for 10 minutes after the fridge before cutting and I tried cutting and cooking right out of the fridge. Nothing seems to work. Is the butter ration right or too much?

    1. Hi Dawn, I’m sorry you’re having trouble with these – that sucks. The recipe is correct – this is a standard ratio for sable cookies that I’ve made many times, and my friend Will who commented here long ago made this recipe with no trouble. Here’s another recipe with the same ratios: But if yours are spreading regardless of the fixes you’ve tried (that is exactly what I would have tried, too!), then next time try adding a bit more flour – maybe 2-4 tablespoons. So sorry again that they’re giving you trouble!

      1. Hi Alanna, I finally tried again with ground candy caps I’d saved in the cupboard and added about 1/8 cup more flour and they worked! They are lovely! Part of my problem was probably that I am using gluten-free flour. Sorry, I didn’t mention that before. I made this batch to share with some friends to show them how mushrooms can be made into sweet goodies! Thanks!

          1. It’s one of three mixes in a book titled, Gluten-Free Flour Power by Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot. I use it to make all kinds of things and usually can get away with a one-to-one ratio on recipes calling for wheat flour. Guess not on this one, though.

    1. Sorry for the confusion! I updated the recipe to clarify. You start with 1/4 whole dried candy caps, then grind them finely in a coffee grinder, which should equal about 2 teaspoons.

      1. I should have waited for a reply…. I ground up enough for 1/4 cup dried mushrooms. They are sitting in the ‘fridge now, but I knew from the feel that it was too dry. It will have to wait until I can buy more butter and then figure out how to fix it before baking…

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