Sweets for Your Sweetheart

A client asked me to make some yummy pecan shortbread cookies for a cocktail party recently, and I knew just the recipe I was going to use as a starting point.

In December 2011, I made the Ginger Oat Cookies from The Grand Central Baking Book for another client and discovered the deliciousness of these shortbread cookies.

To satisfy my client’s request, I used pecans instead of almonds in the cookbook recipe for “Vanilla Almond Cookies.” Here’s my variation:

Vanilla Pecan Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 16 minutes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup freshly ground pecans
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 cubes) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine flour, nuts, sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy–about 3 minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add the vanilla and the dry ingredients. Mix just until the dry ingredients disappear into the dough.

Divide the dough into two equal parts and place each on a 12- to 14-inch length of parchment paper, waxed paper or plastic wrap. Smooth and pat the dough into a rectangle by flattening the top and sides with your hands. Use the paper to help roll and shape dough into two logs, 2 inches in diameter and about 10 inches long. Twist the ends of the paper to seal the log, and chill until firm–at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. (Logs of shortbread dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.)

Preheat oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Slice cookies 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick and place them about 1 inch apart, in 3 or 4 rows, on prepared pans. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. The cookies are ready when they begin to brown slightly around the edges.

Tina’s Tip: For the cookies in the photo at the top of the page, I wanted to do something for Valentine’s Day so I rolled out the dough about 1/4-inch thick and used a small heart-shaped cookie cutter. After the cookies came out of the oven, I sprinkled them with colored sugar while they were still warm. The photo at right shows the traditional method of preparation, along with two other kinds of cookies–for which I’ll post recipes soon.

Recipe adapted from The Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson (Ten Speed Press, 2009).

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One response to “Sweets for Your Sweetheart

  1. Pingback: Afternoon Tea | Thyme with Sage

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