May 20 08
by cara
at 10:42 AM
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Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to bake.  It has become one of my go-to egg-free desserts.  I used to think that shortbread was boring and plain and tended to skip right past most shortbread recipes.  But now recipes for shortbread catch my eye.  Now I can’t resist the deliciously buttery and slightly sweet goodness that is shortbread!  This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was Traditional Madelines, chosen by Tara of Smells Like Home, but since madelines require a special pan that I don’t have, I revisited one of the previously baked Tuesdays With Dorie recipes that I’ve been itching to try.  These Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread Cookies were the very first recipe selected for Tuesdays With Dorie.  The title alone caught my eye and drew me in, but the recipe itself is super simple and requires minimal ingredients.  I overcooked my shortbread cookies, but they still taste great.  They smelled so enticing while baking and cooling…it was hard waiting for them to cool completely (as Dorie suggests) before eating one.  The sweetness of the brown sugar, the nuttiness of the ground pecans, and the hint of cloves make these cookies a little more sophisticated than your basic shortbread, and as Dorie mentions, perfect with coffee or tea.

No pictures this week, unfortunately…camera is still out of commission.

Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread Cookies


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely ground pecans
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Sift together the flour cornstarch, salt and cloves.  Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough.  Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated.  Add the pecans and give the mixer a couple of turns, just to get the nuts into the dough.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag.  Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9-x-10 1/2 inch rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick.  As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases.  When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

Getting Ready To Bake: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open.  Turn the firm dough out onto the cutting board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares.  Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point.  The shortbreads will be very pale-they shouldn’t take on much color.  Transfer the cookies to a rack.

If you like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are hot.  Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.

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  1. i’ve been really wanting to try this recipe, glad to hear your cookies came out good!

  2. The title alone makes me want to make these too! I went with the gooey chocolate cakes this week since my husband doesn’t like shortbread but I plan to make these soon!

  3. I haven’t made that recipe yet, but you’re right…it does jump out at you. I’m sure I’ll make it before too long!

  4. these sound great, and this recipe is one i’d like to go back and make myself one day!

  5. I love the smell of shortbread. Hope your camera is up and running for next week!

  6. These sound sooooooo good. I love shortbread. I don’t make it too often because it’s just way too tempting. But I think I’ll have to make these.

  7. I’m going to have to try out this recipe sometime soon. I’ve got a sudden craving for shortbread 🙂

  8. Welcome to TWD! This is one of the recipes I really want to try, but I think the smell would give me another chin. Yum! 😉

  9. boo for no pics 🙁 glad you enjoyed them though

  10. I almost made these! Glad they came out great.

  11. I too, love shortbread. I’ve had this Dorie recipe bookmarked for ages. Hope your camera gets well soon 🙂

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