Butter Pecan Shortbread

How do you make shortbread even more delicious? Add some toasted pecans and butterscotch flavor and make it butter pecan shortbread.¬† I sent these tasty treats to North Carolina for my sister-in-law Kristin a few weeks back, and she sent me a photo of the container with a few crumbs remaining, proclaiming them the best I’d ever made.

So what makes this flavor combination so delicious? My money is on the toasted pecans, because toasted nuts taste far more delicious than raw ones. Toasting brings the oils to the nut’s surface, intensifying their flavor and adding crunch. Pecans are one of my favorite nuts for baking, and they’re a huge hit in these easy treats. If you don’t have butterscotch flavor, you can certainly leave it out and just add some vanilla instead. The flavor won’t be quite as intense, but it will still be delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon butterscotch flavor
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, salt, and butterscotch flavor. Add flour and beat to combine completely, then add pecans. You may need to knead the dough a bit with your hands to get the pecans to fully distribute.

Divide dough in half and press into the bottoms of the cake pans, using the palm of your hand to create an even surface. Prick all over with a fork.

Bake for 32-35 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and gently loosen the sides, then allow to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Gently flip onto a cutting board and slice each round into 16 wedges, then place wedges on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to about 5 days.

Makes 32 wedges.

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Butter Pecan Cookies

butter-pecan-cookiesThis recipe is adapted very slightly from one called “butter pecan fantasies” in the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. While the dough might be a bit of a challenge to work with, the end result is absolutely delicious. The toffee bits, butterscotch chips, and chopped pecans might seem like too much at first, but their flavors blend together perfectly, and their different textures add wonderful crunch to an otherwise soft, chewy cookie.

I added more vanilla extract than the original recipe called for to bring my dough together, as it seemed too crumbly with just 2 teaspoons. It’s also important to note that mixing in the toffee bits, butterscotch chips, and chopped pecans takes some time – I used both the paddle attachment on my mixer and my hands to incorporate them as best I could. These cookies would be delicious with chocolate chips instead of butterscotch, but they’d need a different name.

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup toffee bits
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and baking soda. Add egg and beat until well-combined and fluffy. Add flour mixture in three batches, beating well to combine between each; dough will pull away from the side of the bowl when ready.

Mix in toffee bits, butterscotch chips, and pecans; use your hands if necessary.

Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of dough onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, until tops are just golden brown.

Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Makes about 3 dozen.