I first met Gena at the Fancy Food Show. She was vibrant, fun, and obviously knew her stuff. When I met her, she was just getting her new business, Fire & Flavor started. She has built it into a well respected company that focuses on all natural products for the home cook.
She has also authored cookbooks including Gourmet Made Simple, and Southern My Way: Simple Recipes, Fresh Flavors, which was voted Best Southern Cookbook by SIBA and received the Eric Hoffer Award. Gena’s third book, Southern My Way: Food & Family, will be released October 15, 2013.
Gena is a small town girl from Middle Georgia, who from a young age was comfortable in her home kitchen. She grew a passion for the South’s culinary traditions and sustainable living which can be seen in both her Fire & Flavor products and her recipes.
We asked Gena for a recipe that she felt was a symbol of fall. She said that “Come fall, our freezer was always filled with pecans from my dad’s friends who were pecan farmers. The smell of Pecan Sandies in our oven always excited my siblings and me, and now it does the same for my children. The dough keeps beautifully in the freezer for irresistible last minute treats. For me, the sweet crunch of pecan is the classical flavor of autumn.”
Gena Knox’s Pecan Sandies Recipe
PREP TIME: 15 minutes, plus 3 hours chill time
COOK TIME: 35 minutes
YIELDS: About 45 cookies
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
⅓ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, for 8 minutes. Transfer pecan to a plate and let cool.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, ⅓ cup sugar, and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add vanilla. Incorporate flour into mixture, one large spoonful at a time. Add pecans and mix until well incorporated.
Form into 2 logs, each two inches around. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Slice into ½-inch rounds and sprinkle with sugar, pressing lightly to adhere.
Place on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to the cooling rack and cool completely.
Learn more about Gena and her products on Fire & Flavor.