Like most people, you probably know Amy Grant for her chart-topping music, but you may be surprised to learn that this talented singer-songwriter is also a baker extraordinaire. I had the chance to talk with Amy about her love of food, her essential kitchen ingredients and her absolute favorite pecan cookie recipe that she learned from her Grandmother Zell.
“For years, I have enjoyed cooking, preparing way more than my family can eat, and then sharing it with others,” Amy explains. “Sharing food is something I love to do and try to do regularly.”
For Amy, it’s clear that family and togetherness is at the heart of her cooking. “I love asking whoever is home to help me. I’ve had friends who feel completely overwhelmed in a kitchen pitch in to help chop something and you can feel their confidence grow,” Amy adds. “I love when [cooking] is a collaborative effort and creates community.”
Amy Grant’s Must-Have Kitchen Staples
It all comes down to the basics for Amy. “I almost always have my basic baking ingredients on hand—butter, flour, sugar and eggs,” she says.
And, for cooking, she also keeps onions in the kitchen. “Just sauteing an onion,” she says, “even if you don’t know what you are going to cook, creates an aroma that invites people into the kitchen hoping something delicious is being prepared.”
The Family Recipe Amy Grant Can’t Resist
Amy indulged us with this pecan cookie recipe that her Grandmother Zell taught her how to make. “These cookies were at almost all of our family holiday gatherings,” Amy explains. “I love that family recipes can get handed down from generation to generation. Even though my grandmother is no longer with us, we can hold onto the memories of her life by continuing to make her recipes.”
How to Make Grandmother Zell’s Pecan Cookie Recipe
With delightful crisp edges, chewy centers and lots of crunchy pecans, it’s no wonder these magical cookies became a staple in Amy’s family. After making a batch ourselves, we’re sure they’ll become a mainstay in your family’s recipe box, too. It make about four dozen.
Psst: Pop on Amy’s iconic Christmas album while you bake.
- 2-1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
Step 1: Mix
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream sugar and butter in a mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt, then slowly add the flour. Mix until combined; stir in the pecans.
Step 2: Form the cookies
Form the dough into balls using your hands. Space them approximately 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined or well-greased cookie sheet.
Amy says: “Grandmother Zell’s secret to this recipe was to roll the dough to make perfect size cookies—we like to say the shape of a large marble. They were perfectly crunchy and crispy, which made the texture from the pecans chewy and delicious.”
Step 3: Bake
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Remove and let cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack.
Lauren Habermehl for Taste of Home
When you make these cookies, we recommend that you take a page out of Amy’s book and follow her personal baking philosophy: “I always say, if I’m going to make one batch of cookies, why not make two or three and share?”
Want to learn more kitchen tips from the stars? Check out the best cooking shortcuts from Joanna Gaines.