I’ve been on somewhat of a quest for a good shortbread recipe. Shortbread is just so good, especially if it’s got a good salty-sweet balance. The Hubs is a major fan, so it seems like a good cookie for me to perfect baking. I’ve made this version (well, plus my changes) several times, and I’m a fan. It’s quick to mix up, and just the right thing to enjoy with a mid-morning or post-dinner cup of coffee or tea.
I found this recipe in an old issue of Cooking for Two magazine, which used to be published by the same people who did Taste of Home. I don’t think it’s in circulation any more. My mother-in-law had been decluttering Hubs’ grandparents’ house and offered me a box of vintage Cooking for Two and Taste of Home magazines, as well as some other cookbooks. Hubs wasn’t thrilled at the idea of more cooking media coming into our house, but I was happy!
The thing about cookie recipes is that most of them make a TON. And if you’re watching your cookie intake a bit, it’s hard to eat them all before they go stale. My mom, the smart person that she is, freezes balled cookie dough so she’s never more than 12 minutes away from a freshly baked cookie. But sometimes, even that work seems daunting when all you want just a cookie.
So this recipe, in it’s original meant-for-two-form, is perfect. I’ve also doubled it with great results. I find that I cut the cookies smaller than the original recipe stated. It says to cut in four pieces, but I usually get eight. Shortbread is rich, and all you need is a few bites. So with those ratios, a doubled recipe works great to have cookies for several days.
Here’s a link to the original recipe, which I altered a bit. Rather than toast the nuts in butter on the stovetop, I toasted the nuts in the microwave for about 60 seconds (stir halfway through). I also added 1 tsp vanilla and doubled the salt and cinnamon.
Cinnamon Pecan Shortbread
- 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
- 3 tbsp butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- Microwave nuts for 60 seconds or so, stirring halfway. Basically until they smell nice and nutty.
- Cream together the confectioners’ sugar, butter, and vanilla in a small bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the butter-sugar bowl. Mix well (shortbread is a dry-ish dough) and stir in pecans.
- Pat into a rectangle or square or whatever shape seems to make sense, about 1/2 inch thick. You can score lines fore and aft to make cutting them after you take them out of the oven easier, but it’s not essential. I used parchment paper for easier cleanup, or you can put them straight on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes or until edges look golden brown. Cut into pieces immediately. Allow to cool for two minutes before moving to wire rack or on top of paper bag (drains the butter a bit). If you double the recipe, you may need to increase baking time a hair. You’re looking for them to cool into a nice crisp texture.