Thomas Keller Visits the Test Kitchen (and Makes Us Pecan Sandies!)

May 17, 2013 | By | Comments (3)
Photo courtesy of Artisan Books

Photo courtesy of Artisan Books

Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel, co-authors of the Bouchon Bakery cookbook, popped into our Test Kitchen and treated us to a batch of homemade Pecan Sandies. The book is a wonderful collection of all-American desserts and classic French pastries, laced with sweet anecdotes from Keller. The buttery, crumbly Pecan Sandies were one of Keller’s mother’s favorite treats (the Keebler variety, to be exact).

Pam Lolly, Sebastien Rouxel and Thomas Keller

Pam Lolley, Sebastien Rouxel, and Thomas Keller

We couldn’t help but hit up the French Laundry chefs for a few baking tips while they were here. Here’s what they harped on:

  • Although it may seem easier to measure with measuring cups and spoons, measuring by weight is far more accurate. That’s why their cookbook includes gram measurements for all ingredients (in addition to cup and spoon measurements).  Inexpensive scales are very accurate and will transform your baking from good to great. Also, when you use a scale, it turns a baking recipe into a one bowl recipe! No need to fuss with measuring cups or spoons.
  • Don’t lay cookies on a baking sheet in straight lines; instead, lay them in diagonal lines. This way, hot air will fully surround each cookie for more even baking.
  • Use heavy baking sheets. Thin, flimsy sheets are don’t conduct heat evenly and can lead to inconsistent results.

Pecan Sandies

Hands-on time 20 min. Total 45 min.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour (250 grams)

¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans (80 grams)

¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (170 grams)

¾ cup plus 2 tsp. powdered sugar (90 grams)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toss together flour and pecans in a medium bowl.

2. Beat butter at medium-low speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar, and beat 2 minutes or until fluffy, stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture, and beat at low speed 30 seconds or just until combined.

3. Shape dough into 2-inch balls; place 1 ½ inches apart on 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Flatten each ball into a disk.

4. Bake at 350° for 22 to 25 minutes or until light golden, placing 1 baking sheet on oven rack one-third down from top and 1 baking sheet on oven rack one-third up from bottom.

5. Cool on baking sheets on wire racks 5 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely (about 15 minutes).  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Recipe adapted from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook.

Thomas Keller's Pecan Sandies

Bouchon Bakery Pecan Sandies


  1. Bill Clement

    I think you meant to say 1/2 inch balls, not 2 inch balls.

    December 25, 2016 at 8:27 am
  2. Back To Organic – Pecan Sandies from Bouchon Bakery

    […] Southern Living was lucky enough to have Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel come to their test kitchen and bake a batch of these cookies. They mentioned the importance of measuring the ingredients with a scale, using heavy baking sheets to transfer the heat evenly, and laying the cookies on a diagonal so the air will flow around them and bake evenly. Do not look at how I placed mine below; I will not lay the cookies in a straight lime next time! […]

    February 23, 2015 at 12:30 pm
  3. The Southern Minute with Chef Thomas Keller – The Daily South | Your Hub for Southern Culture

    […] got a sneaking suspicion that everyone has a hint of the South in their soul. When legendary chef Thomas Keller popped into our Test Kitchen last week, our theory panned out. See what Keller says about drinking wine with BBQ, fried chicken, and bow […]

    May 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm

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