Southern Voices: Angie Cook of Hester & Cook
By Stephanie Burt, The Southern Fork
Angie Cook is one of those rare Nashville residents -- a native. Her family has a long history in the area, and she’s continued to strengthen roots for her family and children, but also made the Tennessee city home base for Hester & Cook, a business she shares with her husband Robbie. It’s a company whose focus is on attainable beauty for the table, and it pioneered a new category in fine paper (available in 3000 stores worldwide) as a tool for easy entertaining. Customers from stylemakers to those setting their first “grown up” tables in their first homes have gravitated to the company’s exquisite designs that are easy to mix and match for customizable entertaining.
Although she’s not a super committed cookie baker, just as her customers turn to her for easy entertaining elements, this recipe for pecan crescents counts as such an element for her -- it’s often on her celebratory tables. And that’s because pecans have always been a treat in her family, something worth celebrating.
“Some of my earliest memories are the now-disappeared department store candy counters,” she recalls. “My mom loved turtles, and anytime we went to places such a Sears or JC Penney, we had to find them, and specifically the ones with pecans.” She vividly remembers those counters, and the sweet task of looking for the Southern nut enrobed in a confectioner’s treat.
At her grandparent’s home, pecans were also present, but in a simple bowl with a nutcracker she thought was great fun to employ. The two memories cemented the idea of pecans as something special in her mind, and it’s the same with these cookies, which she bakes when something special is called for. Short with butter and full of pecan crunch, are a common go-to recipe in the files of many a Southern cook, but if you take Angie’s lead and shape them into crescents or hearts, that little design difference will brighten any table, something in which she’s an expert.
From Angie Cook, Hester & Cook, Nashville, TN
1 cup salted butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup pecans, chopped fine in food processor
1 teaspoon vanilla