Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The Holiday Recipe Swap Continues: Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies
We are happy to continue our virtual holiday recipe swap with an entry from Caroline, the author of Table for 5, a really terrific blog, and a regular LTIR follower. This recipe seems like a no-brainer to add to the holiday baking. Remember, if you've got a great recipe, send it along. The more, the merrier for all. Thanks for reading! --Janet and Rachel
A long time ago, I owned a small catering company. For each lunch or dinner that I cooked, I would prepare a batch of cookies to give the host or hostess, a small token of thanks. Most often, the cookies would be Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies. Once, I was rushing to finish a job, flying around my kitchen and putting finishing touches on trays of salad, sandwiches and pasta. My daughter, Lucy, wandered into the kitchen just then, needing my attention. In an effort to distract her and buy myself a few more minutes, I handed her one of those cookies. She took a bite and slid back against the cabinets, a dreamy look on her 6-year-old face. It was love at first bite, and she never forgot that cookie.
From time to time, she would ask if we could make the cookies again, and I always put her off. Until Christmas of that year. Between batches of sugar cookies and spiced nuts, she asked again. That time, I said yes.
It was the start of a really good tradition, one we look forward to all year. There are other seasonal treats that we indulge in year-round, like pumpkin pie for Paul's birthday in July. But I like to wait for these crumbly, buttery cookies until the holidays. Each bite melts in your mouth, giving way to the maple-y pecans. They are pleasantly sweet and have just a hint of salt. An ideal cookie. Lucy and I have been counting the days until it's time for Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies. Last she told me, it was 46 days. And counting.
Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies
1 cup pecans
1/8 cup maple syrup
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 sticks butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat the oven to 350°. Mix the pecans and maple syrup in a bowl and spread onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 4 minutes; stir and bake for 4 more minutes. Pour the nuts into a bowl and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Heat oven to 350°. Grease a few baking sheets. Break apart the pecans and chop them in the food processor. They should be chopped small, but not too fine. Add the flour and salt, pulsing. Add the butter and vanilla, and brown sugar. You may need to add more flour; the dough should not be sticky. Remove from the bowl of the processor, and divide into two sections, each on a piece of waxed paper. Form logs approximately 3" in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Slice the logs into 1/4" thick rounds. Bake for 12-15 minutes, watching closely. They should be lightly browned.