[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

Last week I learned what it's like to eat like a pregnant woman. No, I'm not pregnant, but my lovely sister is, and she came to visit me in California. It was a glorious weekend of eating for four.

This exercise in life-preparation left me feeling more than a little full. Which is why, on Monday, I decided to keep it light when my boyfriend and I went to dinner at Tacolicious, a perennially packed spot in the Marina area of San Francisco. There was one salad on the menu and, to my horror, it was named the Marina Girl Salad. If you know anything about the Marina, you know that making me order this salad was akin to going to a restaurant in Beverly Hills and ordering the Hollywood Hottie plate (210 cal) that consisted of three unadorned slices of salmon sashimi. It's as if a hipster walked into a restaurant and had no choice but to ask for the Williamsburger, a Scandinavian-inspired fish patty served on Orla Kiely plates. The way my waitress rolled her eyes indicated that she too understood the irony. So fine, I was a young blond girl ordering an oversized salad at a too-cool-for-school taco joint, but they didn't make my boyfriend order his tallboy of Tecate under the name "Banker Brah."

The point is that all this humiliation was for naught, as I ended up eating half my boyfriend's taco plate. This surprised no one (except maybe the waitress)—I am a shameless grazer and stealer of food. If I see something edible, I want to know what it tastes like. It's not a matter or hunger or even gluttony. I'm simply curious.

This might explain why my first memory is of eating sand. I remember, viscerally, the dirty taste and the grainy texture. I remember not being able to get it all out of my mouth and the tears that ensued. I also remember a bit of shame, but perhaps that's only in retrospect. This early experience also explains why I have decided, on at least five occasions, to make Pecan Sandies for this column, only to shudder and make something else. I still have a potent aversion to anything that is or can be described as sandy.

Luckily I finally pushed through, because these are delightful little cookies. They have a super buttery shortbread base tinged with a hint of vanilla and a shot of bourbon. The pecans cluster on top, adding crunch and body. The combination of butter, bourbon, brown sugar, and pecans is a classic one, and, like always, it's damn addictive. They may not be the most beautiful Sandies I've ever seen, but I kind of like them that way. At least they don't taste like sand.

Get the Recipe

Pecan Sandies»

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios


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