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Pecan Shortbread Recipe

Indulge in the classic taste of pecan shortbread, a delightful blend of crunchy pecans and buttery shortbread. This recipe, with its simple ingredients and straightforward steps, delivers the perfect balance of sweetness, nuttiness, and a hint of cinnamon. Enjoy it with a cup of tea or as a sweet treat anytime during the day.

Pecan Shortbread Recipe
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Photos of Pecan Shortbread Recipe

The key ingredient in this recipe is pecans, which can easily be found in the nut section of your local supermarket or grocery store. They're known for their rich, buttery flavor and high nutritional value, packed with healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. Ground cinnamon, another essential ingredient, is a common spice, but its quality can vary greatly. Look for a high-quality, organic variety to ensure the best flavor.

Pecan Shortbread Key Ingredients

Butter: The base of any shortbread, providing the rich and creamy texture.

Brown sugar: Adds a depth of flavor with its molasses content.

Granulated sugar: Provides the basic sweetness to the dough.

Vanilla extract: Enhances the flavor of the other ingredients.

All-purpose flour: The primary dry ingredient, provides structure to the cookies.

Ground cinnamon: Gives a mild, warm spice to the cookies.

Salt: Balances out the sweetness and brings out the flavors of the other ingredients.

Pecans: Adds a nutty flavor and crunchy texture to the cookies.

Coarse sugar: Used for rolling, it adds a nice crunch on the outside.

One reader, Cheston Goble says:

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This pecan shortbread recipe is a game-changer! The buttery, nutty flavor is irresistible, and the texture is perfect. It's so easy to make, and the cookies turn out beautifully every time. My family can't get enough of them! Highly recommend trying this recipe.

Cheston Goble

Techniques Required for Making Pecan Shortbread

How to prepare the dough: Combine the butter, sugars, and vanilla extract, then mix in the flour, cinnamon, and salt until combined. Add the chopped pecans and shape the dough into logs.

How to chill the dough: Wrap the dough logs tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 to 4 hours or up to 5 days.

How to roll the dough in sugar and pecans: Roll the chilled dough logs in a mixture of coarse sugar and chopped pecans, ensuring the nuts and sugar stick to all sides.

How to slice the dough into cookies: Cut each log into 12 equally thick cookies and place them on prepared baking sheets.

How to bake the cookies: Bake the cookies at 350°F for 12 to 14 minutes or until they are brown around the edges.

How to cool the cookies: Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

How To Make Pecan Shortbread

Pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter make up this flaky pecan shortbread! It has a soft and dense texture with edges that are crisp for a sweet treat.

Preparation: 3 hours 30 minutes
Cooking: 14 minutes
Total: 3 hours 44 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 1cupunsalted butter,(2 sticks), softened to room temperature
  • ½cupbrown sugar,light or dark, packed
  • ¼cupgranulated sugar
  • tsppure vanilla extract
  • cupsall purpose flour,spooned and leveled
  • ½tspground cinnamon
  • ¼tspsalt
  • ¾cuppecans,finely chopped

For Rolling:

  • ¼cupcoarse sugar
  • ¼cuppecans,finely chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes until combined and creamy.

  2. Beat in the vanilla extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

  3. Add the flour, cinnamon, and salt, then beat on low speed until combined. Beat in the chopped pecans.

  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, divide or cut into two. Shape each half into an 8-inch log, about 2½ inches in diameter.

  5. Tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 to 4 hours and up to 5 days.

  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

  7. Mix the coarse sugar and chopped pecans together on a large plate. One at a time, roll the log into the mixture. Press it down so the nuts and sugar stick to all sides.

  8. Slice each log into 12 equally thick cookies and place cookies on baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

  9. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes or until brown around the edges.

  10. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  11. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 167.47kcal
  • Fat: 10.76g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.13g
  • Trans Fat: 0.31g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 3.68g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.23g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.73g
  • Fiber: 0.74g
  • Sugar: 7.32g
  • Protein: 1.68g
  • Cholesterol: 20.34mg
  • Sodium: 26.42mg
  • Calcium: 10.05mg
  • Potassium: 36.45mg
  • Iron: 0.68mg
  • Vitamin A: 64.83µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.05mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Pecan Shortbread Success

When shaping the dough into logs, try to make them as even as possible. This will ensure that all your cookies bake evenly and at the same time. If some are thicker than others, they may not bake through completely, while thinner ones could become too crispy. Using a ruler or measuring tape can help achieve uniformity.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Pecan Shortbread Recipe

Chill the dough: Chilling the dough for at least 3 to 4 hours or up to 5 days will save time during the baking process.

Use a food processor: Utilize a food processor to quickly chop the pecans and incorporate them into the dough.

Slice and bake: Instead of shaping individual cookies, slice the dough into rounds for quicker and more uniform baking.

Prep in advance: Prepare the dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until ready to bake for time-saving convenience.

Bake in batches: Bake the cookies in batches to save time and ensure even baking.

Substitute Ingredients For Pecan Shortbread Recipe

  • unsalted butter - Substitute with coconut oil: Coconut oil can provide a similar richness and flavor to the shortbread while also adding a hint of coconut flavor.

  • brown sugar - Substitute with coconut sugar: Coconut sugar has a similar caramel-like flavor and can be used as a 1:1 replacement for brown sugar in most recipes.

  • granulated sugar - Substitute with maple sugar: Maple sugar can add a unique sweetness and flavor to the shortbread, enhancing its overall taste.

  • all purpose flour - Substitute with almond flour: Almond flour can add a nutty flavor and a slightly different texture to the shortbread, making it a great gluten-free alternative.

  • pecans - Substitute with walnuts: Walnuts have a similar rich, nutty flavor and can be used as a substitute for pecans in the shortbread recipe.

Presenting Pecan Shortbread for Maximum Appeal

  1. Elevate the shortbread with a touch of elegance: Present the pecan shortbread on a pristine white plate to showcase its golden-brown color and delicate texture.

  2. Garnish with a sprinkle of powdered sugar: Dust the pecan shortbread with a fine, even layer of powdered sugar to add a hint of sweetness and a touch of visual appeal.

  3. Accompany with a dollop of whipped cream: Serve the pecan shortbread with a dollop of freshly whipped cream on the side, adding a creamy and luxurious element to the dish.

  4. Pair with a drizzle of caramel sauce: Artfully drizzle a rich caramel sauce on the plate, creating an enticing visual presentation and adding a decadent flavor to the pecan shortbread.

  5. Arrange on a bed of crushed pecans: Create a stunning presentation by arranging the pecan shortbread on a bed of finely crushed pecans, adding a delightful crunch and enhancing the nutty flavor.

  6. Serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream: Accompany the pecan shortbread with a scoop of premium vanilla bean ice cream, adding a luscious and indulgent element to the dish.

  7. Present on a decorative platter: Showcase the pecan shortbread on a beautifully designed platter, adding a touch of sophistication and style to the presentation.

  8. Incorporate edible flowers for a pop of color: Adorn the plate with delicate, edible flowers to introduce a vibrant and visually stunning element to the presentation of the pecan shortbread.

  9. Accent with a sprinkle of gold leaf: Add a touch of luxury by delicately placing edible gold leaf on the pecan shortbread, creating a visually striking and opulent presentation.

  10. Serve with a side of caramelized pecans: Accompany the pecan shortbread with a side of caramelized pecans, adding a delightful crunch and a rich, caramelized flavor to the dish.

Essential Tools for Making Pecan Shortbread

  • Hand mixer: A hand mixer is a handheld kitchen appliance used to mix and whip ingredients. It is a convenient tool for creaming butter and sugar together for the shortbread dough.
  • Stand mixer: A stand mixer is a countertop appliance with a mixing head that holds the beaters or a dough hook. It can be used to efficiently mix and knead the shortbread dough.
  • Baking sheets: Baking sheets are flat metal sheets used to bake cookies, pastries, and other baked goods. They provide a surface for the cookies to bake evenly.
  • Parchment paper: Parchment paper is a non-stick paper used in baking to line baking sheets and pans, preventing the cookies from sticking and making cleanup easier.
  • Silicone baking mats: Silicone baking mats are non-stick mats placed on baking sheets to provide a non-stick surface for baking cookies and other treats.
  • Plastic wrap: Plastic wrap is used to tightly wrap the shortbread dough logs before chilling in the refrigerator, helping to maintain their shape and prevent drying out.
  • Wire rack: A wire rack is used to cool baked goods such as cookies. It allows air to circulate around the cookies, preventing them from becoming soggy on the bottom.
  • Large plate: A large plate is used to roll the shortbread dough logs in a mixture of coarse sugar and chopped pecans, ensuring the nuts and sugar stick to all sides of the dough.

Storing and Freezing Pecan Shortbread for Later

  • Allow the pecan shortbread cookies to cool completely before storing them. This will ensure they maintain their crisp texture and prevent them from becoming soggy.

  • Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. To keep them extra crisp, place a piece of bread in the container with the cookies. The bread will absorb any excess moisture, keeping the shortbread nice and crisp.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze the pecan shortbread cookies. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours. Once frozen, transfer the cookies to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Separate layers with parchment paper to prevent the cookies from sticking together. Freeze for up to 3 months.

  • To thaw frozen shortbread cookies, remove them from the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes. You can also warm them up slightly in a preheated oven at 300°F (150°C) for 5-7 minutes to restore their crisp texture.

  • If you want to prepare the shortbread dough in advance, you can wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, simply slice the logs and proceed with the recipe as directed, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time if the dough is frozen.

How To Reheat Leftover Pecan Shortbread

  • To reheat leftover pecan shortbread, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until they are warmed through and slightly crisp around the edges. This method will help restore the texture and bring out the nutty flavor of the pecans.

  • For a quicker option, you can use the microwave to reheat your pecan shortbread. Place the cookies on a microwave-safe plate and heat them in 10-second intervals until they reach your desired temperature. Be careful not to overheat them, as this can cause the cookies to become soft and lose their texture.

  • If you want to add a touch of indulgence to your leftover pecan shortbread, try warming them up in a skillet with a small amount of butter. Melt a pat of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, then place the cookies in the skillet and heat them for 1-2 minutes on each side until they are warmed through and slightly crispy. The butter will enhance the rich, nutty flavor of the pecans and give the cookies a delightful crisp exterior.

  • For a no-heat option, you can enjoy your leftover pecan shortbread at room temperature. Simply remove them from the refrigerator about 15-20 minutes before serving to allow them to come to room temperature. This method is perfect for those who prefer a softer, more delicate texture in their shortbread.

Interesting Fact About Pecan Shortbread

The pecan shortbread recipe is a delightful treat that combines the rich flavors of butter, brown sugar, and pecans. It's a versatile dessert that can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee or as a sweet snack. The addition of cinnamon adds a warm and comforting aroma to the cookies, making them perfect for the holiday season. These pecan shortbread cookies also make a thoughtful homemade gift for friends and family. Enjoy the delicious blend of buttery, nutty, and sweet flavors in every bite!

Is Making Pecan Shortbread at Home Cost-Effective?

This pecan shortbread recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients are simple and readily available, and the recipe yields a generous amount of delicious cookies. The use of basic pantry staples and pecans makes it an affordable treat. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $10-$15, depending on the cost of ingredients in your area. Overall Verdict: 9/10. The delightful flavor and ease of preparation make it a great choice for a budget-friendly and satisfying dessert option.

Is Pecan Shortbread Healthy or Unhealthy?

This pecan shortbread recipe, while undeniably delicious, falls short in terms of healthiness. The main concerns are:

  • High butter content, which contributes to saturated fat intake
  • Significant amount of added sugars from both brown and granulated sugar
  • Refined all-purpose flour lacking fiber and nutrients
  • Relatively low nutritional value from the ingredients used

However, the inclusion of pecans does offer some health benefits, as they are rich in healthy fats, fiber, and essential minerals.

To make this recipe healthier without compromising on taste and texture, consider the following modifications:

  • Replace half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour or almond flour for added fiber and nutrients
  • Reduce the amount of butter by 25% and substitute the remaining portion with Greek yogurt or mashed avocado for a healthier fat profile
  • Cut down on the added sugars by using a sugar substitute like erythritol or stevia, or simply reduce the quantity of sugar used
  • Increase the amount of pecans to boost the healthy fats, fiber, and protein content of the shortbread
  • Experiment with adding other nutritious ingredients like dried cranberries, orange zest, or chia seeds for extra flavor and health benefits

By making these adjustments, you can create a more balanced and nourishing version of pecan shortbread that still satisfies your sweet tooth.

Editor's Opinion on This Pecan Shortbread Recipe

The pecan shortbread recipe is a delightful combination of buttery, nutty, and sweet flavors. The addition of cinnamon adds a warm and comforting aroma, while the coarse sugar and pecan coating provide a delightful crunch. The method of rolling the dough in the sugar and pecan mixture adds a beautiful visual appeal to the cookies. The result is a perfect balance of textures and flavors, making these shortbread cookies a delightful treat for any occasion.

Enhance Your Pecan Shortbread Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic, perfect for complementing the rich and buttery pecan shortbread.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest: Tender asparagus grilled to perfection and topped with a zesty lemon zest, providing a refreshing contrast to the sweet and nutty flavors of the pecan shortbread.
Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts: Caramelized Brussels sprouts drizzled with a tangy balsamic glaze, adding a savory element to balance the sweetness of the pecan shortbread.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Like Pecan Shortbread

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: This creamy tomato basil soup is the perfect comfort food for a chilly day. It's easy to make and bursting with flavor.
Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli: Roasted broccoli is taken to the next level with a garlic parmesan coating. It's a delicious and healthy side dish that pairs well with any meal.
Mango Coconut Chia Pudding: Indulge in a sweet and tropical treat with this mango coconut chia pudding. It's a refreshing dessert that's also great for breakfast or a snack.

Appetizers and Main Dishes to Serve with Pecan Shortbread Recipe

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Impress your guests with these savory stuffed mushrooms, filled with a delicious mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. The perfect bite-sized appetizer to start off any meal.
Caprese Skewers: These colorful and flavorful caprese skewers are a fresh and light appetizer option. Alternate cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves on skewers, then drizzle with balsamic glaze for a simple yet elegant starter.
Main Courses:
Chicken Alfredo: Creamy, indulgent, and satisfying, this classic Italian dish is perfect for a cozy night in. The tender chicken and rich, velvety sauce are a match made in heaven. Pair it with your favorite pasta for a comforting and delicious meal.
Beef Stroganoff: A hearty and flavorful dish that is sure to please the whole family. Tender strips of beef, savory mushrooms, and a creamy sauce come together to create a comforting and satisfying meal. Serve it over egg noodles for a classic and delicious dinner.

Why trust this Pecan Shortbread Recipe:

This recipe is a testament to the chef's expertise in creating delectable shortbread treats. The use of unsalted butter ensures a rich and creamy texture, while the addition of pecans provides a delightful crunch and nutty flavor. The incorporation of cinnamon and vanilla extract adds warmth and depth to the flavor profile. With meticulous attention to detail, the dough is rolled in a mixture of coarse sugar and chopped pecans, elevating both the visual appeal and taste. The result is a batch of irresistible shortbread cookies that are guaranteed to impress and satisfy.

Share your thoughts on the Pecan Shortbread Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know if you have any tips or variations to enhance this classic treat!
FAQ:
Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter?
Yes, you can use salted butter, but you may want to reduce the amount of additional salt in the recipe to balance the saltiness.
Can I freeze the cookie dough?
Yes, you can freeze the cookie dough. Wrap the dough logs tightly in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. When ready to bake, simply thaw the dough in the refrigerator before slicing and baking.
Can I substitute the pecans with a different nut?
Absolutely! You can use other nuts such as walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts in place of pecans for a different flavor and texture.
Can I skip the chilling step?
Chilling the dough is essential for the shortbread's texture and flavor. It allows the flavors to meld and the dough to firm up, resulting in a better cookie. I highly recommend not skipping this step.
How should I store the baked pecan shortbread cookies?
Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. You can also freeze the baked cookies for longer storage.

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