Public Relations, Melting Popsicles and Butter Pecan Cookies

by Maris Callahan on August 6, 2009

Butter Pecan Cookies

Working in public relations, I have found myself in some unusual situations. I've modeled hair extensions for editor briefings and bridesmaids gowns for six a.m. television segments. I've snuck into the kitchen at the Mandarin Oriental hotel to filch a sandwich for an event guest's diabetic grandmother. I've blended smoothies in my office at three-thirty a.m. 

Publicists sometimes have a bad rap, for being "flacks" and for spinning unpleasant stories into feel-good news, but this is, for the most part, an unjustified generalization. If nothing else, most PR professionals will agree that we'll do just about anything, within reason, for our clients. 

We'll pick up flowers from the only florist that's open until midnight below fourteenth street. We'll push hand-trucks full of blenders and bananas through high-end shoe departments in crowded shopping malls.  We'll stay up all night if that's what it takes to make sure our event goes off without a hitch. We'll search far and wide for the perfect box to ship our mailers in – surpassing seven that are only OK to find the one that's just right.

Despite all of this hard work, sometimes events don't succeed. 

For example, in 2005, Snapple attempted to create the world's largest popsicle made of frozen Snapple juice in New York City's Union Square. It sounded genius at first – until the 80-plus degree temperatures melted the mammoth confection, drenching the city streets with melted Snapple juice. See? Those crazy little details do matter, even when they're up to Mother Nature. 

The moral of the story here is not a lesson in proper marketing practices or event planning 101. The moral of the story here is that sometimes, it's even too hot for ice cream. 

If the idea of stepping outside with an ice cream cone turns your hands into a sticky mess by just thinking about it, a cookie modeled after your favorite flavor might be in order. 

These cookies also happen to be an excellent way to reward yourself for a long day on the job.

Butter Pecan Cookies on a Plate

Butter Pecan Cookies  


3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for coating 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour


1. Preheat oven to 350°. On a baking sheet, toast pecans until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Let cool completely; finely chop. 

2. With an electric mixer, cream butter for about a minute. Add 1/3 cup sugar and cream until light, about 1 minute more. Beat in vanilla, salt, and flour, scraping down sides of bowl, just until dough comes together. Fold in pecans. 

3. Separate dough into 12 pieces; squeeze dough to shape into balls. Roll in sugar. Place, 3 inches apart, on a baking sheet. 

4. Gently flatten with the bottom of a glass (reshape sides if necessary). Sprinkle with sugar. 

5. Bake until golden brown, rotating sheet halfway through, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with more sugar. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

What's the craziest thing you've ever done for your job? (I promise, I'll never tell your boss – secrets are safe here on the Internet).

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) August 6, 2009 at 4:52 am

I LOVE publicists!!! You all do work soooo hard and give everything to your projects!
And I am crazy dedicated to my work too, so I can totally empathize with your all night marathons to ensure that your event runs smoothly.
Now if only I reach through the screen and grab some of those cookies.


Christina August 6, 2009 at 9:10 am

Those sound absolutely delicious. I’m bookmarking them for the winter when it’s too cold for ice cream!


brandi August 6, 2009 at 9:44 am

no crazy stuff for my job yet! maybe that means I need a new one? :)


Heidi Renée August 6, 2009 at 10:14 am

I sprawled out on the ground in my underwear in front of the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C., with 20 or so of my coworkers (who were also in their underwear). We stayed there for an hour.
Yes, really.


doggybloggy August 6, 2009 at 10:45 am

there is not enough space for me to go into that kind of detail…I have done some far out things – one time I rented a stuffed lion in a lunging position(few hundred bucks plus a $30,000 hold on my amex card) – hauled it in a truck wrestled it for hours and then it didnt fit in the photographers freight elevator – whoops!


Ksquared August 6, 2009 at 11:12 am

I just stumbled across you blog today and your recipes look great~ i’m adding you to my reader and look forward to future postings!


thatShortChick August 6, 2009 at 4:49 pm

wow those stories are crazy! and it kind of gives a small glimpse into what I can look forward to when I (eventually) land a full time position somewhere.


Kristen August 7, 2009 at 12:32 am

Loved this post – and love those PR folks :)
Too hot for ice cream? Well, just maybe. If I had a cookie in my hand, I could easily be convinced :)


lisa (dandysugar) August 7, 2009 at 10:37 am

Oh, those midnight work marathons are still in my memory!
Those butter pecan cookies look fantastic! Cookies are a perfect reward for a job well done in my book.


Selba August 7, 2009 at 11:50 am

These butter pecan cookies look so yummy!


Daryl Callahan August 7, 2009 at 12:38 pm

This isnt really crazy but I was working nights in a hospital, had a migraine and ended up slepping all night in the patient lounge!Of course I had the supervisor’s permission!


Bridgett August 7, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Cookie Perfect! Much better than a melted ice cream cone (especially with kids). You job sounds fascinating though, even if a bit hectic at times.


Jacque August 8, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Oooh, those cookies look wonderful with the crystally sugar on top. Nice work!


annie August 8, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Well I’m in advertising, so I guess that means were somewhat related ;)
I guess one of the craziest things that I’ve done is to stand on a table in a restaurant(in a skirt and heels) so I could get the perfect photo for my client. There are so many things on a daily basis that I can’t even think of the craziest.
I agree that in this field we get a bad rap sometimes and are the first ones to be blamed if a promo doesn’t work. But we do go out of our way for the clients. If they would only realize that! Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth. I feel like screaming “Help ME, Help YOU” like in Jerry McGuire.
Oh well, I guess that’s why I love to bake too. It helps me to relieve my frustrations and eating the final product helps even more!!!
Your Butter Pecan cookies ROCK. Love the ice cream and I’m sure will love these too!!


elra August 8, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Butter pecan cookies sure will cheer me, if I have crazy day like that.


TJ August 8, 2009 at 11:44 pm

I don’t know, but I’ve worked for a startup tech company which meant crazy hours AND crazy stuff. I’m so glad we never had any giant popsicles though :) The cookies look VERY tempting though.


Elizabeth August 10, 2009 at 2:48 am

Thanks for visiting my blog! How did I not hear about the giant popsicle in Union Square in 2005?? I’m thinking maybe two butter pecan cookies with some ice cream in between!


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