Tracy's Most Popular Holiday Recipe for Giving (or stealing)

Uncategorized Dec 01, 2020

These Pecan Diamond bars are hands down one of the most popular cookies I have ever made.


For many years I had a position as chef at a private, fly-in fishing lodge in the Canadian Arctic. All provisions needed to be flown in at great expense, so food was valuable and not easily replaced.



In July the Arctic has 24 hours of sunlight - so plenty of time for lake trout fishing after the workday.

The far north of Canada has some of the biggest lake trout in the world and can get up to 18 kilos!

Mostly they're caught and released, but sometimes one will be kept for a cookout lunch the next day. 



On one occasion a group of old aircraft mechanics (who we affectionately refer to as the A-team), returning from a midnight beer-fueled, fishing excursion, and raided my pecan diamond stock!

In the morning I found a half-empty sheet of bars with a note to the chef.

Proof that these bars are worth stealing!


 It was hard to be angry with such a nice note!


Pecan Diamonds also make a perfect holiday gift - or treat for your yacht's charter guests.

For a nice presentation, place the cookies in paper candy cups, and set the cups in a basket; wrap clear cellophane around the basket, tie it up with raffia and decorate it with pine cones.

Save the irregularly shaped leftover cookies to enjoy as a snack. Good luck trying to stop eating them! 



Here's my steal-worthy recipe:




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



For the 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 the dough well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F and line the bottom of a 15-inch by 10-inch baking sheet 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.

For the 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°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 they're wrapped airtight...

...but watch out for thieves! 

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