Pecan Shortbread Cookies Cookies
From The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets with Ideas for Inventing Your Own
Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill time: at least 1 hour, up to 2 days in the fridge, up to 1 month well wrapped in the freezer Counter time before slicing : 5 minutes
Bake time: 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven
Cooling time: as long as you can hold out
Makes 30 cookies
¾ cup pecans, roughly chopped
10 tbsp (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners/icing sugar
½ vanilla bean, split length-wise, seeds scraped out, bean & seeds reserved
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp kosher salt
1½ cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
3 tbsp Demerara sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Spread pecan pieces and bake until fragrant and toasted, about 5 minutes. Let them cool completely on the baking sheet placed on a wire rack.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beet the butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, vanilla extract and salt on medium speed until no visible chunks of butter remain, about 3 minutes.
3. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour in three additions, mixing each well before adding the next. Stir in the pecans.
4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Remove the vanilla bean and recycle it for another use (see note at bottom). Roll the dough into a log about 1½” in diameter. Wrap it in parchment paper, making sure to cover the ends completely (Ruth’s note: Since I’m not so great at twisting the ends to make sure they hold, I wrapped the parchment roll in some plastic wrap). Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight (can be left in the fridge for 2-3 days and up to 1month in the freezer..just remember to thaw completely before baking)
5. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C and let the dough stand at room temperature until it is softe enough to slice (about 5 minutes).
6. Brush the dough with the egg yolk and roll in the Demerara sugar to coat it evenly. Slice into ½” thick rounds. Place the rounds about 1” apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
7. Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the cookies are lightly golden and fragrant (20-30 minutes, depending on your oven). Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. Note…they didn’t last a day here!
*Vanilla Bean Recycling:
- Rinse the used bean well under cold water, washing off any stray batter or dough.
- Let it dry and harden, uncovered at room temperature, before wrapping and storing at cool room temperature.
- Rehydrate when used for poaching or roasting fruit or when making a fruit soup, syrup or sauce.
- You can also use recycled beans to make a fragrant vanilla flavored sugar to use for baking – Add 1-2 beans to a canister of granulated sugar and let it sit for at least 3 days. Once the sugar is flavored you can leave the beans in or take them out.