Having cookies around at Christmas is a must, but having my husband’s favorite cookies brings an element of joy to the air. I love to hear in a happy voice, “you made me Toasted Pecan Shortbread cookies!” I just smile….
Maybe his love for shortbreads came while traveling overseas, maybe it was love at first bite the first time he bites into that buttery sweet cookie…but maybe it was all the many trips to Starbucks and they strategically placed packs of two by the register that he couldn’t resist getting.
However, it happened-it happened and he brought us all with him.
How to make pecan shortbread cookies?
You will want to start out with softened butter. This will help to give your cookies the right consistency. Then mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Lastly, you can mix in salt, flour, and pecans. The dough will be a bit dry but just keep stirring it until you get everything mixed in well. Once you get everything mixed in well your pecan shortbread cookies will be ready to roll into a log.
Lightly flour the surface for your work area and pour the dough out. Just start rolling the dough out with your hands. There’s no a better way of doing this than to just roll it until it forms a log. It’s not really too sticky of dough so it will roll out pretty easily. Transfer your log onto some parchment paper (or in a pinch I have used press-n-seal) and pop it in the freezer.
Do I need to put the dough in the freezer?
Yes. First, when you are putting the dough in the freezer make sure to find a good place to lay it where it won’t get smashed. Lay it very gently. You want it to stay in the form of a log so you can cut nice circular cookies.
Once you get it in the freezer you want to leave it long enough to get firm ( about 20 minutes), but not too long or your cookie dough will be too hard and difficult to cut. If you happen to forget about it just let it rest on the counter for 5 minutes or so and let it soften a little. Once the dough is ready cut it into cookie-size slices and lay them on the cookie sheet. Make sure to try to cut all of your cookies the same size so they will all bake the same. You don’t need to leave too much space in between as these have no rising agent in them and don’t need too much room to spread.
Bake the cookies until they get lightly brown on the bottoms and edges. This recipe makes 35-40 cookies depending on how thick or thin you cut them, and everyone’s log size will vary a bit. Make sure not to cut your cookies too thin as they will be really crunchy. You want a good balance of crunchiness and softness.
These cookies will bake for about 15-18 minutes. Make sure to not overbake them. I find the ones on the outer edge of the cookie sheet bake the quickest. So check them about 12 minutes in. I have had a couple of times I have burnt some of them so keep an eye on them!
I also love how versatile they are. They can’t get boring! I have made all kinds of lemon, lavender, and even rosemary! I have also made pistachio, cardamom, or just plain. You can pair this little cookie with just about any flavor!
For other cookie recipes check out One bowl Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Toasted Pecan Shortbread
- 2 sticks butter softened at room temperature
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla
- 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup pecan pieces toasted
- Preheat oven to 300 (to toast pecans.)
- Spread pecan pieces on a baking sheet. Place in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes or until pecans give off a nutty smell. Be careful not to burn.
- Remove nuts from oven and set aside to cool.
- In a medium mixing bowl with a whisk or hand mixer, mix softened butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla.
- When that is mixed well, add flour one cup at a time and mix with a wooden spoon.
- Mix in toasted pecans.
- Lay out a piece of parchment paper about 12 by 16 inches and place dough on it.
- With your hands, roll the dough into a log that's about 1 ½ inches in diameter.
- Carefully roll the log up in the parchment paper and place it in the freezer for at least 20 but no more than 30, You don't want it too hard!
Ready to bake
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Pull cookie log from freezer and with a sharp knife cut cookies into ¼ inch thick cookies.
- Place on a baking sheet.
- Bake until lightly golden brown on the bottom and around the edges.
- Store at room temperature.