You might have noticed that I’ve been on a cookie marathon this month, posting 9 holiday cookie recipes in the month of December alone! Today’s beautiful chocolate dipped pecan shortbread cookies might be my very last (10th!) Christmas recipe this season.
This is one of the best shortbread recipes I’ve encountered, and I am definitely adding it to my Christmas cookie collection.
A couple of tips on how to make sure these cookies come out the way they are meant to be: Tip #1. Make sure to toast the pecans, cool them off, grind them in the food processor and then add ground pecans to the cookie dough.
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Tip #2. For shortbread cookies, it’s very important to measure the flour correctly. Don’t pack flour into a measuring cup. Instead, fluff it up, scoop it into a measuring cup or sift it. If you don’t, you might end up with an overly crumbly dough.
Tip #3. Remember that it’s a shortbread dough, so it’s supposed to be reasonably crumbly but not so crumbly that it’s impossible for you to roll it. You should be able to easily roll the dough into logs. Then, chilling these cookie dough logs in the freezer/refrigerator before slicing makes the job of slicing the cookies much easier!
Tip #4. Use serrated knife to slice the cookie logs to help avoid crumbling the cookie dough.
Tip #5. Before putting the cookies in the oven, make sure the oven is preheated to the right temperature. Make sure not to bake the cookies too long – every oven is different, and your oven might bake these cookies faster than mine. Don’t let your cookies get brown – a little brown around the bottom edges is OK. If they are baked just right, they are light and so tasty. Let them cool on a baking sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer cookies onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup finely ground toasted pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ingredients for decorating:
4 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, such as Lindt, chopped
1/3 cup toasted pecans
How to toast pecans: Toast pecans at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn – they burn easily. Cool them off completely. To make finely ground nuts, place toasted pecans into food processor and process until finely ground.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar until creamy. Add vanilla and continue beating. Add 1/2 cup finely ground pecans and beat to combine. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt, then add mixed flour and salt to the creamy butter-sugar mixture. Do not overmix, just enough to combine all ingredients and form a cookie dough.
Shape dough into 4 logs of different thickness (to make cookies of different radius – large and small). Wrap each log in plastic wrap and put wrapped cookie dough in the freezer for 30 minutes, then in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325. After cookie dough has been in the freezer and in the refrigerator, unwrap plastic and slice each log into thin cookie slices. Place cookie slices on parchment-lined ungreased baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake for about 15 minutes, don’t let the cookies get brown. After about 15 minutes of baking, let cookies cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
To decorate cookies, melt chocolate in a small skillet over medium heat, just until chocolate melts, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Using spatula, brush half of the cookie on one side only (no chocolate on the bottom of the cookie) and along the cookie side. Dip the chocolate side of the cookie into coarsely chopped pecans. Return to rack. If you like, You can leave some cookies just covered with chocolate, without pecan crumbs. You can also leave some cookies just plain (no chocolate, no pecans on top of chocolate). Repeat with remaining cookies. Let cookies dry on rack for at least 1 hour, for chocolate to harden.