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TWD #47 Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread Cookies



Normally a shortbread cookie is thick and buttery with a crumbly, sandy texture. Yeah. Normally.

These did not turn out the normal way.

If you are looking at this picture and thinking that these cookies don’t really look like a shortbread, you would not be alone. Imagine my surprise when I smelled the buttery goodness baking away in the oven, expecting the cookies to look just like the picture in the book and pulled these flat, crispy cookies out of the oven.

I actually went with a different recipe for this week’s Dorie pick. Tia from Buttercream Barbie picked a chocolate salt and pepper shortbread cookie. As I have said before, anytime Dorie uses cocoa powder, it is too much and the finished product tastes nothing like a cookie or cake or whatever it is. That being said, lots of folks liked the cookie and Tia’s look awesome. Check out her blog for the recipe. She has a great blog that I am always looking at. I have bookmarked tons of things from her site. You can always buy the cookbook and have all of the recipes!

Not wanting to make a bad cookie, I went with the recipe on the next page. Pecans, butter and brown sugar—how could this be bad?!? I will say that the taste of these cookies is amazing. They are crunchy delicious squares. They look nothing like a shortbread cookie, but the taste is yum.


This had to be the easiest cookie ever made—and with the fewest number of ingredients. The butter was creamed with the sugar until it is smooth. Flour mix goes in all at one time. I only mixed it a little with the mixer and then finished with a spatula. Then go in the ground pecans. And that is it—pretty easy, right?!?


After the dough was made, it went into a gallon zip top bag. I rolled it out to the size of the bag, trying to make sure it was the same thickness all over. It went in the fridge and chilled for a few hours. I cut off the bag, cut the block into squares and put them on the cookie sheet. They got a couple of pokes from a fork and in the oven they went.


Dorie says to bake the cookies fro 18-20 minutes. I put mine in for 15 and at 12, they looked like this. When I checked the second tray at 10 minutes, they looked like the picture, but were still raw in the middle. Two more minutes and they were flat and crunchy.

I think that I should have chilled the cookies more. And cut them smaller. And maybe make the dough square a little thicker. Just a few ideas I have for these when I try them again. And I will totally try them again—they will not defeat me. I will not let a cookie take me.

Even though they did not turn out as planned, they are a great crunchy cookie. My mama likes crunchy cookies, so this is a definite mom cookie. I can’t wait to have one with my coffee in the morning. They would be great anytime—with ice cream at dessert or just with a big ol’ cup of joe. Enjoy!!

Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread Cookies (from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground cloves
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup finely ground pecans

1. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt and cloves.
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Add the pecans and give the mixer a couple of turns, just to get the nuts into the dough.
3. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9×10-1/2-inch rectangle that’s 1/4-inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.
4. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
5. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1-1/2 inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.

6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale – they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack. (I baked mine for about 12 minutes and they were over cooked—just remember that every oven is different!)





2 Comments leave one →
  1. 09/21/2011 8:17 am

    Oooh these sorta look like the cornmeal shortbreads! You should definitely try the chocolate ones, they are so good.

  2. 09/23/2011 5:52 pm

    I love the last picture! You can really see the buttery goodness! I have to SO agree with you on the baking cocoa in Dorie’s recipes…I need more sugar!!

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