Even before I learned to bake, shortbread cookies were always a favorite sweet treat. Shortbread is a biscuit made with three parts flour, two parts butter and one part white sugar. The fat from the butter creates “short” gluten strands and produces a cookie that’s crisp and crumbly in texture. Chopped pecans mixed into the dough adds a nice nutty flavor. You can add even more nuts on the warm chocolate coated ends.
I usually get a chuckle when I pull out a tape measure to use when I bake. Measuring the dough you will ensure uniform cookies and a nice presentation, especially if you’re giving baked goods as a gift.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup brewed coffee or instant expresso coffee (I use the brand Medaglia D’Oro)
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or use silicon baking pads (Silpat). The dough can be made by hand in a bowl or in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 1 cup of the pecans in a bowl and stir to mix. Add the softened butter to the flour mixture and mix until the dough sticks together. Add the expresso and stir until the dough forms a ball. Using lightly floured hands, form the dough into 2 flat rectangles. On a lightly floured surface, take one piece of dough at a time and roll it out into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle that is 12 inches in length and 3 inches wide. Slice the dough into 1×3 inch rectangles. Place on a prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies for about 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges, don’t overcook them! Cool the cookies for about 10 minutes and then transfer them to cool completely on a cooking rack.
While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or carefully in the microwave. Dip one end of each cookie in the chocolate and place on the rack. Sprinkle the remaining chopped pecans onto the warm chocolate. Let the cookies sit until the chocolate hardens and the pecans adhere. You can freeze the cookies before dipping, for up to a month. Defrost and dip cookies before serving.
Inspiration: Foster’s Market