Thursday, February 10, 2011

Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread

Lately I've been traveling a lot with cookies as well as mailing them to people, so that's got me thinking about hardy baked goods. These little guys seem to hold together well, and are a nice ice box cookie that can be made ahead of time and stay good for a while.

I have to admit that I have a hard time making ice box cookies look pretty (except these semolina dried fruit cookies, because the fruits are so colorful), so that's why I dipped these in chocolate - in spite of the extra work it takes to chocolate coat. I also needed something to affix the sea salt, and all together it was Tasty. The flavor reminds me of my mom's pecan balls, which are buttery and pecan-y.

Hm, these would be great served with ice cream or coffee...

Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread

2 C flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 C unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 C light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 C pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl by hand), beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed just until completely smooth and no streaks of butter remain. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until completely incorporated. Stir in the pecans.

Turn out the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a 4 1/2 by 6-inch (11 by 15 cm) rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap the dough tightly and refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 1 hour and up to 4 days.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Cut the rectangle of dough lengthwise into 2 equal pieces. Cut each half crosswise into rectangles 1/4 inch wide. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Top with a few bits of sea salt if desired.

Bake, rotating the baking sheets midway trough baking, until the cookies are deep golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to handle, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.

Optional: Melt some chocolate and dip each cookie in it.

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