Pecan shortbread cookies have been my faithful companions over the last several days. They are the reason I look forward to coming home from work every day. They are the reason my husband almost finished a gallon of milk in a matter of 3 days. You see, cookies and milk – those go well together. As well as cookies and hot tea. Or, cookies and coffee. Or, cookies and movies, on the couch.
I can’t believe I’ve never made them before! What have stopped me until now? Maybe, it was a price of pecans: why would I use expensive nuts for some basic shortbread cookies instead of saving the pecans for something more sophisticated, such as a pecan pie? That could’ve been my train of thought. Or, more likely, I’ve just never thought of grinding the pecans and adding them to the cookie dough before – not because it’s such a novel idea, but because I have too many other ideas in my head at all times. Oh mine, I’ve been missing out on so much!
These pecan cookies are so buttery, light, crumbly, and full of pecan flavor – you will have a hard time restraining yourself. Using toasted pecans is very important in this recipe! Toasting pecans really brings out their flavor and makes the cookies the way they are meant to be: nutty, melt-in-your-mouth, delicate.
It’s such a classic holiday cookie! Just perfect for this time of year (and beyond).
Pecan shortbread cookies
Adapted from Epicurious.
Prep time: 60 min
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 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
1) 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.
2) In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar until creamy. Add vanilla and continue beating. Add 1/2 cup finely ground pecans (not hazelnuts – thanks to the reader who noticed that! ) 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.
3) 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.
4) 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, transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.