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.
Buy the big bag of flour — you’ll want to make extra of these treats. Let’s get baking!
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!
Never made a pecan shortbread cookies recipe before? No worries! I’ll walk you through it:
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!
Want to keep the holiday spirit alive beyond December? Read on to see how best to store the treats from your pecan shortbread cookies recipe!
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!
Shortbread cookies are so versatile — and this pecan shortbread cookies recipe is no different!
Can I Use Almonds Instead?
Yes! Though remember that pecans have a high-fat content, so if you want to switch to almonds, try my almond shortbread cookies recipe for exact ratios, or go for something really unique with my almond crescent cookies recipe!
Can I Make This Recipe More Italian?
One of my all-time favorite Christmas cookies to make are my family tried-and-true Italian Christmas cookies. There’s love in every bite! Keep the love rolling with Italian fig cookies — scrumptious, deep flavor!
Can I Turn These Into German Christmas Cookies?
What Other Desserts Can I Make With Pecans?
Want to go wild with pecans? Coconut pecan cookies make a great chewy treat while you must, must, must try pecan pie cookies if you’re a nut lover. Cookie and pie in one? Yes, please! But if you want something similar to this pecan shortbread cookies recipe, try my butter pecan cookies. Good to the last crumb!
What Other Shortbread Cookies Can I Bake?
If you haven’t tried your hand at millionaire shortbread, what are you waiting for? I promise it’s as good as it sounds! Whipped shortbread cookies breath airy texture into the dense, buttery crumble we all love. And if you’re set on a pie, use shortbread crust — you’ll never go back to regular pie crust!
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
- 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 10 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 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.
Ring in the holidays with cookies for every taste!
- Biscoff Cookies – Store-bought brought to your kitchen!
- Bear Cookies – A kid favorite.
- Double Chocolate Snowballs – Double the chocolate, double the YUM!
- Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies – Eastern Europe at your Christmas.
- Reindeer Rice Krispies Treats – Great to make with the whole family!
Whether you leave these pecan shortbread cookies out for Santa or gobble them all up yourself, they’re sure to bring Christmas cheer to every corner of your holiday! What do you love to dunk your cookies in? Let me know in the comments!
Source: Adapted From The Craft Of Baking