Bien Cuit’s Masala Pecan Sandies

March  4, 2020
4 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes about 16 cookies
Author Notes

The bakery Bien Cuit has introduced us to some of our favorite cookie recipes, like their extra-tender shortbread (thanks to confectioners’ sugar), gluten-free salted chocolate cookies (thanks to buckwheat)—and, most recently, these masala pecan sandies (masala, in fact, refers to myriad spice blends in Indian cooking, not one specific spice or blend). Bien Cuit chef and owner Zachary Golper uses the sweet masala (with cardamon, fennel, cinnamon, dates and vanilla) from Moji Masala, which sells small-batch Indian spice blends. You can either order it directly from their website, or go off-road with your own mix. Our test kitchen did just that with a combination of two parts warming ground cardamom to two parts ground cozy cinnamon and one part earthy ground ginger. For even more flavor, try adding some smashed fennel seeds or freshly cracked black pepper or both. With all the butter, lots of spice blends will work beautifully here. With respect to the pecans, our go-to method is to add them to a sheet pan and toast in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned and fragrant (just check on them frequently toward the end, because nuts can burn quickly). Let them cool completely before grinding in a food processor, or mincing with a knife by hand; if you’re working with a food processor, opt for short bursts, so you don’t accidentally end up with nut butter. If you want to underscore the sweetness even more, Chef Golper likes to sift a little confectioners’ sugar on top of the cookies; you could even upgrade that dusting sugar with some of the masala spices, too. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • 150 grams (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
  • 125 grams (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 90 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon) granulated sugar
  • 90 grams (scant 1 cup) toasted, ground pecans (see Author Notes)
  • 25 grams (1 1/2) egg yolks
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) masala (see Author Notes)
  • 3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, scraped
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl by hand or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until a dough just begins to form. Transfer to a work surface and form into a rectangle, wrap with plastic or a reusable alternative, and refrigerate until chilled but still pliable enough to impress a dent when poked. (Alternatively, at this point you can refrigerate for up to a couple days, then let temp up on the counter until soft enough to roll.)
  2. Using a rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to about ½-inch thick, then cut into squares (figure 2x2-inch, or smaller if you’d like). Transfer to lined baking pans, evenly spaced out by a couple inches, and refrigerate or freeze until firm.
  3. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until deeply golden brown all over. Let cool completely until firm before digging in and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you want.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • C Falcone
    C Falcone
  • Phyllis
  • melissa_nagy
  • Moji Masala
    Moji Masala

4 Reviews

C F. May 17, 2020
I received an espresso maker for Mother's Day so I've been experimenting with cookies that will complement a nice espresso drink. These are winners! I followed the recipe, used the log technique and also had to bake 10 minutes longer. They were delicious but I might even up the sweet masala mix next time just a bit (maybe 1/4 more tsp). Flavor was delicious but subtle.
Phyllis May 5, 2020
These are so good! I used the cinnamon, cardamon, ginger combination. The cardamon gave them just the right amount of a subtly different spice taste. I had to bake them about 10 minutes longer to get them to bake properly and crisp up. They are addictive.

Next time, I’ll pat and roll out the dough on parchment paper. I used a bench scraper to cut them into squares. Or I’ll roll them into balls and flatten or make into logs as another reviewer suggests. If you do use a rolling pin, flour it and the work surface because the dough will stick and can get a little crumbly. I had to kind of mold some of the cookies together as a few of them fell apart after rolling out. I suggest creaming the butter and sugar, then add egg, before adding the flour, nuts, and other ingredients. I used vanilla extract instead of a bean and used a hand mixer.
The flavor and texture are outstanding and it’s an easy recipe. I may try them with pistachios next time and will definitely make them again!
melissa_nagy March 7, 2020
I made the dough last night and baked today. Used Penzeys garam masala and they turned out great. I rolled them into logs and sliced as that was easier for me. Immediately made another batch of dough to stash in the freezer for future happiness.
Moji M. March 5, 2020
Thank you Food52, Zachary and Bien Cuit for working with our product and giving us a chance. We are a local NYC family owned and operated business and the support means a lot to us. Thank You! -And oh, BTW we made the Masala Sandies - super delicious !