We originally developed these cookies to ring in a new era — the Obama administration taking office — but they’re just as apt for ringing in 2011.
*Note: If you can't find butterscotch extract, add ½ cup butterscotch chips. If you do this, reduce the chopped pecans from 1¼ to 1 cup.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the pecan halves on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, checking every minute or so after 5 minutes have passed. You want the nuts to be fragrant and sweet but not burnt. Set aside to cool. You can do this step in advance.
Put ¾ cup pecans into a food processor. Pulse on and off until the pecans are just ground — you don't want to turn them into a paste. On a cutting board, chop the remaining nuts into small pieces. Put the nuts in a small bowl and add the flour, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
In a larger bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until fluffy. Add the egg, beat until combined and even fluffier, and then mix in the extracts and espresso powder.
Pour the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix just until all the flour is incorporated.
Mix together the additional sugar and salt on a shallow plate. Form the dough into balls the size of a 3-D silver dollar. Coat them with the sugar and salt by rolling them through it. Place the balls on a baking sheet a few inches apart.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until the bottoms are golden and the tops are just barely firm. Remove and let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before gently removing to racks or plates to cool completely.