Pecan Shortbreads

Referring to shortbreads as cookies is not the proper terminology. Cookies are their casual cousins with a bumpy exterior and chewy bite. Shortbreads are biscuits—not the tender, flaky Southern variety. These are the Scottish butter-laden confections formed into precise rounds or rectangles with a distinct crumbly texture.

Shortbreads have countless versions of shapes and flavors. I bookmarked Mark Bittman’s recipe because of the “choose your own adventure” diagram illustrating such variations. I chose the sugary path and used pecans and cinnamon. Whether you say cookie or biscuit, both share a knack for satisfying sweet cravings.

Cinnamon Pecan Shortbreads
Adapted from Mark Bittman

Makes 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg yolk
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add the butter and mix on low until just combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the egg yolk until fully incorporated. Then add the flour, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon and pecans and mix on low until the dough starts to form. Make sure not to overbeat.

Gather the dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until it is firm.

On a lightly floured worksurface, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cutout shapes. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. (Alternatively, roll the dough into a log, refrigerate until firm and slice into 1/4-inch thick cookies.)

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Bake the cookies for 30 minutes until they are firm, but not browned. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack fully cool. Store in an airtight container.


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