Top 11 Holiday Cookies and Confections from the CIA

Pecan Diamonds


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Makes four dozen 2-inch or eight dozen 1-inch diamonds

Cookie Dough:

  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 2/3 cups cake flour, sifted


  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 7 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

Cookie Dough:

Cream together butter and sugar in a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth and light, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually incorporate egg and vanilla, stopping mixer and scraping bowl as necessary.

Add flour and mix on low speed until just blended, about 30 seconds. Do not over-mix.

Place dough onto parchment paper or a lightly floured surface and shape into a flat square. Wrap dough well with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line bottom of a 15-inch by 10-inch jelly roll pan with parchment.

Roll dough out to a rectangle 17 inches by 12 inches by 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the rolled dough to the baking pan, gently pressing it to the pan. Trim the edges with a paring knife, and prick the bottom of the dough with the prongs of a fork to prevent bubbling during baking.

Bake until dough is firm but has no color, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool dough while you make the filling.

Pecan Filling:

Place the butter, sugars, honey, and cream into a heavy-bottom saucepot. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove pot from the heat, add pecans, and stir until fully incorporated. Immediately pour into the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer.

Bake in 350 degree F oven until the filling bubbles evenly across the surface and the crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool thoroughly before cutting.

Remove from pan using a knife to release the edges and invert the slab onto the back of a sheet pan. Transfer to a cutting board by flipping it over so it is right side up. Trim off the edges and cut into 1-inch or 2-inch diamonds.

The bars store well at room temperature, but can also be refrigerated or frozen as long as wrapped airtight.

Recipe from the bakeshops of the CIA.

©2009 The Culinary Institute of America.

Happy Holidays! Enjoy these recipes from the bakeshops of the CIA. With the holidays around the corner, we’re sure you’ll be up to a lot of baking. Why not include some these very delicious cookies and confections recipes from The Culinary Institute of America.