Florida Orange Melts
1 2/3 cups coarsely crushed or broken-up vanilla wafers
1 1/3 cups (about 5 1/2 oz.) chopped pecans, divided
2/3 cup powdered (confectioners') sugar
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (colored part of the skin)
3 tablespoons thawed orange juice concentrate (do not dilute)
2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Triple Sec
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
In a food processor, process the vanilla wafers and 1 cup of the pecans until finely ground. Add the powdered sugar and orange zest and process until evenly incorporated. With the motor running, add the orange juice concentrate, orange liqueur, and corn syrup through the feed tube and process just until well blended. If the mixture seems dry and crumbly, sprinkle in a little water and process briefly to incorporate.
Finely chop the remaining 1/3 cup pecans. Spread them in a shallow bowl. Shape portions of the mixture into scant 1-inch balls with lightly greased hands. Press the balls into the pecans, turning until coated lightly all over. (If the pecans don't stick well, moisten the balls by rolling them in slightly damp hands.) Let the cookies mellow in an air-tight container for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight before serving.
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days, refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 1 month.
Pairs Well With
Florida's answer to Kentucky's bourbon balls, these quick, no-bake cookies showcase the flavor of the state's most important fruit, along with another southern favorite, pecans. Jeanne A. Voltz, coauthor of The Florida Cookbook, says she thinks orange melts originated in the Coconut Grove area. They are best if allowed to mellow overnight.