I have it on good authority that Santa’s favorite cookies are the ones from this pecan shortbread cookies recipe. This means it isn’t a true display of Christmas cookies if you have anything other than buttery, crumbly pecan cookies! The addition of pecans in these classic shortbread cookies amps up the holiday richness with the kind of homeyness only nuts can bring.
Try my Brown Sugar Shortbread and Whipped shortbread cookies next!
Let’s get baking!
What I Love About Pecan Shortbread Cookies Recipe
The best cookie recipes to make during the holidays are the ones that instantly transport you to Christmases of old, stirring up cozy memories and making you feel festivities deep in your soul. Enter my pecan shortbread cookies recipe!
- Subtle pecan flavor
- Perfect buttery texture
- Crunchy sugar crust
- Great to make with kids!
- 12/20 UPDATE I’ve changed the baking instructions. I recently moved to a new home and am using a new oven. The original instructions no longer worked for these cookies. I think it’s better to bake these cookies, one sheet at a time, in the center of the oven. I’m including the original instructions below, but the recipe card will reflect the new instructions.
ORIGINAL Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cookie edges begin to brown. Rotate sheets front to back and switching shelves halfway through baking. Remove from baking sheets and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Butter: You’ll want to make sure your butter is at room temperature before you use it! Why? Room temperature butter distributes into the dough more evenly and creates lots of luscious flavor throughout your cookies.
- Nuts: This pecan shortbread cookies recipe uses — you guessed it — pecans! Pecans are the fattiest of all nuts, so if you want to swap them for a different type of nut, go for something with high-fat content, like walnuts.
- Vanilla: Vanilla extract is not the same as pure vanilla! Well, sort of. When a bottle is labeled “pure vanilla,” that means there are no additives (colorings or flavors) outside of the vanilla, water, and alcohol. Vanilla extracts may have other ingredients added, so when you’re shopping, be sure to read the labels!
- Sugar: The sugar that gives this pecan shortbread cookies recipe its crunchy crust is the larger grain sugars known as demerara or turbinado. Both types of sugar are less refined in the sugar making process than common granulated sugar, giving them higher molasses content, which makes them perfect for using on the outside of baking treats like these!
Can You Freeze This?
Yes! You can freeze this pecan shortbread cookies recipe at two stages, actually: either as raw dough (when it will keep for up to three months) or fully baked (where it will keep for up to eight months).
I, personally, love eating the fully cooked frozen cookies straight out of the freezer! But you can always thaw them ahead of time in the fridge if you like.
Make Ahead Tips
As I said above, you can freeze the raw dough — which is the best way to add make-ahead magic to this pecan shortbread cookies recipe! And since the frozen raw dough will last up to three months, you can plan way ahead. Double the magic!
When you’re ready to bake them, thaw the dough in the fridge. The thawed dough can be safely stored in the fridge for up to two days. Then finish out the recipe to reach cookie heaven!
How Long Can You Keep This?
One of the many things to love about this pecan shortbread cookies recipe is the shelf life! Since there isn’t any frosting or uncooked dairy to worry about, you can toss these leftovers in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to three weeks. Not that they’ll last that long, especially if you have hot cocoa handy!
More Delicious Shortbread Cookies:
- Almond Shortbread Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
- Cranberry Orange Shortbread
- Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
Pecan Shortbread Cookies
- 3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup demerara or turbinado sugar
- 2 large egg yolks, beaten
- Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Toast chopped pecans on a rimmed baking sheet in the preheated oven until fragrant, about 5-7 minutes; set aside and allow to cool.
- To the bowl of a standup mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- With the mixer set on low, mix in flour, baking powder and salt just until combined, and the mixture looks like coarse salt. Mix in cooled pecans.
- Remove dough to a work surface. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a 1 1/2 inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 60 minutes.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Spread demerara or turbinado sugar out on another rimmed baking sheet.
- Brush both of the cookie logs with the beaten yolks, allowing any excess to drip off. Roll each log in demerara or turbinado sugar, gently pressing to help it adhere.
- Cut logs into 1/2 inch slices and place on prepared baking sheets 1 inch apart.
- Bake one baking sheet at a time, on adjust center shelf, of preheated oven, for 18-20 minutes, or until cookie just edges begin to brown. Rotate sheets halfway through baking. Remove from baking sheets and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Fans Also Made:
None foundRATE THIS RECIPE
Source: Adapted From The Craft Of Baking
Can I use regular organic granulated sugar? I would rather not have to go hunting for these sugars that I’m sure aren’t in stores where I live. Thanks.
Hi, Marianne! I haven’t tried substituting demerara sugar. But don’t worry, according to The Spruce Eats, you can substitute Turbinado sugar, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, or sanding sugar. You can use the granulated sugar you have. The texture and flavor may slightly differ from the original recipe. Hope this helps and let us know how it turns out! <3
Thank you. I will!
If I dont have a standup mixer can I use a regular mixer
Hey Dora. Yes, you can but I’d add a few more minutes to the amount of time you cream the ingredients.