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TWD: Rewind: Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread Cookies

April 15, 2008

So, technically I am a TWD Slacker this week. ;) Although I did make a “Baking” recipe, I made the recipe from the very first week of TWD (when I was not yet a member) rather than the chosen recipe for this week. I know, rebel! Slacker!
This week’s chosen recipe was Marshmallows (pg 404-405), chosen by Judy of Judy’s Gross Eats. If you arrived here in the hopes of seeing ‘mallows, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Please check out the other TWD blogs. I’m sure there are plenty of marvelous ‘mallows to see there!

I chose to make the Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread instead of the marshmallows this week for a couple of reasons:
1. I don’t really love marshmallows and neither does B, therefore they would not be eaten.
2. Gelatin freaks me out.
3. (… and this is the real reason…) I have been dying to make the Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread Cookies and since the TWDers made them before I joined, I figured this might be a great opportunity to squeeze them in. :)

I have a real soft-spot, no, a special place in my heart just for shortbread. I love it. So buttery, sweet, and crumbly. I cannot imagine a more satisfying texture. These shortbread cookies are unlike any I’ve had before, caramelly, a little softer than usual but still delicious!

Love this photograph? It can be purchased here!

Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread Cookies:
Source: Dorie Greenspan “Baking: From My Home to Yours” , p.127

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 (I ground mine in my coffee grinder)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt and cloves. I didn’t sift. I lightly mixed with a fork. (I don’t own a sifter.)
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. I actually froze my dough for the last hour to try to prevent spreading.
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. I used one baking sheet and kept my second batch in the freezer while the first one baked.
5. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. It was hard for me to destroy the freezer bag since B and I wash/reuse them but I did it. 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. Ummm… Yeah, even with the ruler as a guide, I still didn’t get all my squares the same size. 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. For some reason, my cookies took barely more than 10 minutes. The oven was out to foil me again! The shortbreads will be very pale – they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.
7. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. I didn’t dust my cookies, they don’t need it. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving. I found my cookies tasted better and were most shortbread-like after a long cooling (the next morning).

20 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2008 10:56 am

    I am a slacker too, I made marshmallows, but not Dorie’s but an egg free version! Like the pic

  2. April 15, 2008 12:05 pm

    I’m a slacker, too (a slacker who mailed as she should). I had a cake gig last weekend, and decided that I wanted my Sunday for me.

    Those cookies look mighty fine, though, so I wouldn’t call you a slacker; maybe a rebel, but no slacker! ;-)

  3. April 15, 2008 12:12 pm

    You rebel you!! Honestly I am glad I made the marshmallows but its not a recipe that I will probably ever make again. It wasn’t my flavor so if you were gonna slack I think you picked a good one ;) Cookies look delish!
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

  4. muffinman permalink
    April 15, 2008 12:45 pm

    Thank you for the cookies sweetie. They were b-e-a-utiful!

  5. April 15, 2008 12:52 pm

    They look delicious! I sorta wish I’d done the same thing. :)

  6. April 15, 2008 12:59 pm

    Your cookies look beautiful!

  7. April 15, 2008 1:06 pm

    I keep wanting to do a rewind week! Great idea :)

  8. April 15, 2008 1:39 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try this one, too. The pic is lovely!

  9. April 15, 2008 3:54 pm

    I missed this recipe too! I don’t think baking and posting qualifies you as a slacker…the cookies look yummy!

  10. April 15, 2008 4:12 pm

    Those cookies look incredible. I would have to say you are a rebel too. Maybe there could be choice one and choice two.

  11. April 15, 2008 6:01 pm

    Your shortbread looks sensational. I’m now actually considering sandwiching one of my (soon to be posted) lavender scented marshmallows between two of them. Dorie’s giving my oven a real workout!

  12. April 15, 2008 10:49 pm

    Mmmm… I still need to go back and make these. They look so good!

  13. April 15, 2008 11:02 pm

    Those look great – I haven’t made them yet…I’m thinking I should.

  14. April 16, 2008 2:25 am

    Yummy looking marshmallows…oops, I mean shortbread!
    I’ll need to add those to my ever-growing list of to-do’s.

  15. April 16, 2008 9:15 am

    those look great! I love the way the image looks with them on the edge of the saucer. nice job.

  16. April 16, 2008 9:38 am

    I’ve been thinking of this recipe forever! Seeing your post gives me one more reason to make these.

  17. April 16, 2008 10:00 am

    beautiful photo, the cookies look perfect! great idea on the recipe change, i hope i am going to get around to making up all the weeks i’ve missed so far :)

  18. April 16, 2008 12:32 pm

    I love the pattern on the cup and saucer! And the shortbread cookies look wonderful. I’m going to have to give them a try. I only missed half a dozen recipes at the beginning, so I stand a decent chance of catching up on those at some point. =)

  19. April 20, 2008 5:38 pm

    Yummy! Shortbread is my FAVORITE!

  20. July 8, 2008 2:38 pm

    These look great, and sound wonderful, too!
    I’ve got a ton of pecans in my freezer, so I’m good to go! I’m definitely due to do some baking, soon! It can’t get any better than shortbread!




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