To make pecan sandies, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy, add flour and pecans, and beat until combined. Roll the dough into balls, place them on a baking sheet, flatten, and cook until golden brown. Alternatively, cook the pecans in browned butter before adding them to the mixture, and brush them with maple syrup when they are out of the oven.
To make 18 pecan sandies, beat 1/2 cup of unsalted, room-temperature butter with 1/2 cup of light-brown sugar until light and fluffy, and then add 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon salt. While mixing on low, add 1 cup of spooned and leveled all-purpose flour and beat until combined. Fold in 1 cup of coarsely chopped pecans, and then roll the dough into 18 1 1/2-inch balls.
On two baking sheets, place the balls 2 inches apart, and then flatten them with a damp glass. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 17 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the cooking time.
For a richer alternative, cook 1 cup of butter in a heavy saucepan until it is golden and browned. Add pecans to the butter, cook for two minutes, remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes before adding them to the dough. For a finishing touch, brush the cookies with maple syrup or molasses.