Tuesday, June 29, 2010


A friend, (a local East Carolinian) who has a pecan tree in his backyard, gave us a huge bag of pecans.  Beautiful, big North Carolina pecans.  I was happy to get such a big bag of these yummy nuts and felt that I should reciprocate by baking something nice, something using the pecans.

I don't know about you, but shortbread is one of my favorite things to eat.  It's buttery, tender and not overly sweet.  When you add pecans, you get even more of a buttery taste.  The bourbon, while a nice idea, doesn't really add anything discernible to the cookie.  You can drizzle the shortbread with melted chocolate or caramel, if you really want to take it over the top, but I like it just as it is.  So nice with a cup of tea.

Bourbon Pecan Shortbread
Adapted from allrecipes.com
Rating:  9 out of 10

1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. bourbon
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, divided use
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
16 pecan halves

Heat oven to 325F.  In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse chopped pecans and sugar until nuts are ground to a fine crumb.  Add butter, vanilla and bourbon; pulse till well combined.  Add flour and cornstarch.  Pulse till mixed well.

Lightly spray an 8" square pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Turn dough out onto pan and evenly press with fingers, working from center to outside edges.  Score the shortbread with a sharp knife, cutting 3 lines in each direction to make 16 squares.  Poke the shortbread all over with a fork.

Place a pecan half on each square.  Score again if necessary.

Bake about 35 minutes (check the shortbread at 30 minutes for doneness), or till just lightly browned and set. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan.  Loosen edges with a knife and flip the pan over onto a cutting board.  Tap lightly to loosen from pan.  Cut into serving pieces while warm.  Yield:  16 cookies

See how nicely the shortbread cuts while warm.  The scoring lines have filled in while baking, but there are still faint lines to guide you in cutting.

Be sure to try this recipe soon.  It's so delicious -- buttery, tender, and just mildly sweet.

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