Twice-Baked Pecan Shortbread
The mic drop of cookies?
Hello there! If I could have only one cookie, it would be shortbread. Shortbread at its most basic is the simple combination of sugar, butter, and flour in a 1:2:3 ratio (by weight). It can be tweaked a little, but there is no leavener and no eggs. Some people (including me) sometimes replace some of the flour with cornstarch or rice flour for an even “shorter” cookie. You can roll the dough and cut it out with a cookie cutter, which results in a crisper cookie. More traditionally, you can bake it in one big (thicker) piece, after scoring and poking holes in it for more even baking, and cut it afterward.
That’s what I’ve done with this recipe, using a 10-inch removable-bottom tart pan. You can also press it into a 9 by 9-inch pan, a quarter sheet (9 by 13-inches) pan, or a 9 by 13-inch baking pan, which will result in a thinner cookie that will take a little less time to bake (just err on the side of 60 minutes). You can also use a springform pan rather than the removable-bottom tart pan that I’m recommending, but it’s a little trickier to reach in to do the scoring part.
The other great thing about shortbread? Despite how utterly delicious it is plain, flavored perhaps only with vanilla, it’s a blank canvas for just about any flavor you can dream up. I’ve always loved adding nuts to shortbread. To me, they only enhance the shortbread’s flavor. Using some brown sugar adds another dimension of irresistible flavor. I wondered what it would be like to lightly toast the shortbread after the initial baking, just like biscotti, and, in my humble opinion, it is even better. I had some extremely dry and hard (and I thought unusable) vanilla beans in my pantry that I ground up and mixed with sugar. Coating the shortbread with this heady mixture before the second bake was an excellent idea. The aroma was intoxicating as they baked, and it infused its perfume into the cookies. You can also use vanilla pods that you’ve already scraped out for another use here. It’s a great way to utilize the whole vanilla bean. The pods still have plenty of flavor!
This is a cookie that can stand alone in a cookie box, especially in big, handsome wedges, so if you have time to bake only one cookie, let this be the one!
I’m sharing this recipe withof Kitchen Projects (a fellow Substacker) as well. You might recall we collaborated last summer when I published her Basque Cheesecake recipe, which would also be right at home on your holiday table. Not only will Nicola be sharing the recipe with her readers, she is going to be selling the cookie (“biscuit” in British English) at a popup she’s organizing in London at Kossoff’s bakery on Saturday, December 10th. The popup is a fundraiser for the Trussell Trust, a hunger relief organization in the UK. If you happen to be in London, make sure to stop by!
Gift Susanality (or Open Kitchen)!
Before we get to the recipe, a quick reminder that full-access subscriptions to Susanality are giftable. You can schedule the welcome email to land in the recipient’s inbox whichever day you choose. It makes a great clutter-free gift for the person who doesn’t need any more stuff. My latest cookbook, Open Kitchen, also makes a lovely gift for any consummate host or home cook. As of now (Thursday evening!), it’s also on sale on Amazon.
Twice-Baked Pecan Shortbread Wedges
Makes 16 pieces
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