Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pecan Shortbread

I have said it before and I will say it again: "I LOVE shortbread!" I love the easy nature of the recipes. I love the wonderful scent of browning butter and flour as they bake. I love the versatility of them, they can be cut-out cookies, they can be pie crust, they can be the crumbles on top a muffin, and in their most wonderful state they can just be themselves, the devilishly delicious beings that they are. They are tough little treats that travel well but taste and feel delicate to the palate. In my humble opinion shortbread is the best and most basic of basic baking classics.

My favorite recipe so far has been the ones that have an addition of cornmeal, because cornmeal is my ingredient siren; it calls to me and I cannot resist. This recipe today I have tried before, but forgot about it in the midst of doing something else and they, very sadly, burned. I decided to try again and have found success, of a sort. These are not my favorite recipe for shortbread, they are really wonderful tasting, but they are a bit chewy which is not characteristic of shortbread and is a feature of them that I do not enjoy. They have the fabulous flavor of butter and pecans and go delightfully with a cup of strong black tea.

On another note, I have solved my bank breaking pecan deliema that I have mentioned in the past. I found 2 lbs of pecan halves at Costso for under $9. That, my friends, is a fabulous deal! I also found a 10 lb bag of fair trade evaporated cane sugar at Costco for under $8. Another deal! I can now bake away with out worries of having to spend our retirement to make pecan pie....YEAH!!!!

Pecan Shortbread

1 Cup Evaporated Cane Sugar
1/2 Cup Pecans Coarsely Chopped
1/2 Cup Pecan Meal
14 Tablespoons Butter
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cups Flour

Preheat oven to 325F.

Cream together the butter and sugar.

Add in the pecan meal, salt and vanilla mix until well combined.

Add flour and combine all ingredients until a smooth dough.

Press dough into a 7x10 inch pan, or one of similar size.

Sprinkle the chopped pecans onto the top of the dough and gently press them into the surface.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.

Invert the cookies onto a cutting board and gently slice them into small bars while still warm.

This makes about 30 small bars.

It has occurred to me that making these with whole wheat flour would yield a less chewy result, but beware because that will also make them more brittle and less of a traveling companion. I will try it next time and share the results with you.

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