Pecan cookies and a vintage Mixmaster

PecanPuffsMore cookies. Today, three batches of Henny’s pecan puffs (a misnomer, because they’re not puffy at all; they’re friable, irresistible pecan balls).
I’m feeling generous, so you’ll find the recipe below. I warn you, though, the dough is quite stiff, so if you don’t have an electric mixer, you have better worked out and built up your biceps.

. . . Mixer . . . reverie . . .

When my kids were young, my mother gave me her mixer.

1952 Sunbeam Mixmaster

1952 Sunbeam Mixmaster

It was a vintage white Sunbeam Mixmaster with two milk glass bowls. It had to be white. In those days there were no color choices and there couldn’t have been so many options and models as we have today.

I remember my mother telling me when the kids were little that I might as well have the mixer, because she didn’t use it any more. She said that she had bought it to make cakes, but she used it only for mashing potatoes. Go figure. I don’t remember a single cookie or cake that came out of my mother’s oven unless I baked it. 

The kids were growing up and I baked only occasionally, but at some point over the years they moved out and the small bowl broke. I replaced it with a stainless one. A few years later, the nylon buttons on the bottom of the beaters that kept them from scraping against the bottom of the bowl came off. I found new beaters that fit the mixer that had by then been soldiering on for over four decades. Finally, some number of years ago I must have tried to mix some unsuitable concoction, because the beaters were twisted out of shape. The mixer stayed damaged and idle for a long while. The beaters wouldn’t be easy to replace, because by then mixers had a paddle, not beaters.

From time to time, though, I thought of the wonderful desserts that I was famous for but stopped making when cholesterol and calories assumed an importance they hadn’t had in our salad days. Still, on rare occasions I thought about and sometimes even made a sweet confection. A friend introduced us to Russian biscotti called suharike that we liked and weren’t at all hard to make. The hitch: the dough was really hard to mix.

I started noticing the sleek mixer at Costco, but I couldn’t justify buying something so hefty that I might use only once or twice a year. Still, I kept going back to the shelf where it lived, and it began beckoning me. One day I suddenly made up my mind: it was silly to keep lusting— it was time to buy it or forget it. I indulged myself and took it home. I’m glad I did.

Henny’s Sublime Pecan Puffs

½ lb. sweet (unsalted)  butter creamed with 4 Tb sugar

Then add

2 level tsp vanilla

1-¾ cups flour

1 cup not too finely chopped pecans

Mix well and refrigerate

Shape into balls

Bake at 350° 15 minutes

Roll in powdered sugar when cool

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