Why do some cookie recipes call for chilled dough? While it certainly makes your dough easier to handle, there are also some scientific principles at work. When you chill your dough, it gives the butter, shortening, or other fat in your recipe a chance to solidify, so when your cookies bake, the fat will take longer to melt than if it were at room temperature. This means your cookies will stay in shape, rather than spreading into puddles of goo. Chilling dough also dries out the dough a bit, but in a good way, enhancing the flavors of your ingredients. For more in-depth info on chilling dough, check out this great post from the folks at King Arthur Flour.
Slice-and-bake cookies, like these brown sugar pecan toffee rounds, must be chilled so you can actually slice them. The recipe below is adapted from one I found in a Better Homes & Gardens holiday cookie magazine, which called for ground almonds instead of pecans. As I only had pecans, I substituted them with great results.
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup toffee pieces
- 1 cup ground toasted pecans
In a mixing bowl, beat shortening and butter until combined.
Add brown sugar, baking soda, and salt; beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times.
Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
Beat in flour about 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl well, then beat or stir in toffee pieces and ground toasted pecans. You may need to use your hands to fully incorporate the pieces into the dough.
Divide dough in half and shape each half into a 10-inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about 5 hours, until the dough is firm enough to slice.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cut logs into 1/4 inch slices and place about 1 inch apart on your baking sheets. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until edges are light brown and firm.
Cool on cookie sheets for about 3-4 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.