I had the pleasure of receiving some freshly-picked pecans as a gift so I thought I would use them for a twist on my shortbread. Shortbread is one of my favorite things to make at Christmastime and I really should make it more, but I kind of love it being special for this time of year; it is my husband and father-in-laws favorite. You can leave out the turbinado sugar, but I love the sparkle and crunch it gives!
Vanilla Bean-Pecan Shortbread // Makes 40 Cookies
1 c pecan halves, toasted & chopped
8 oz unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
½ c sugar
½ a vanilla bean, split and caviar scraped
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp kosher salt
2 ½ c flour
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
If you haven’t toasted your pecans yet, set your oven to 350 degrees, place the nuts on a quarter sheet pan and place in the oven for 6-8 minutes until toasted and fragrant. Allow to cool and chop pretty finely.
In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar for two minutes, until it begins to lighten in color. Add in vanilla bean and its caviar, and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and salt, mixing just to combine. Add flour, mix slowly at first, then beat for two minutes. The mixture will seem too crumbly at first, but then it will come together beautifully. Remove and discard vanilla pod. Add chopped pecans; since the dough is thick, it will be easier to mix in with the mixer, but only a few pulses. Bring dough together with your hands(ensure nuts are incorporated evenly in this step), split in half, and roughly shape each into a square. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes; preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Working one half at a time, roll between two pieces of parchment paper to about ½” thick, keeping a square-ish shape as you roll. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and lightly press in with your fingers so it doesn’t all just roll off (but not so deep that it just melts into the cookie when baked).
With a sharp knife, cut into 20 squares - mine was five wide and four down. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and repeat with other half.
Bake just until the bottoms start to brown but edges do not get very dark, about 15-18 minutes. Start with a short amount of time and increase only by a minute or two as they can darken quickly!
Mix things up on your cookie platter this year and give these shortbread a go, and feel free to sub in a different nut if pecans aren’t your thing. Any way you mix it, they’ll be gobbled up in no time so maybe double the batch!
With a full heart and an empty plate,