Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter. Butter. Yup, it's the fifth season, didn't you know that? Baking Season, also known as Butter Season is upon us. It's time to start baking your favorite holiday recipes and I hope with all of my heart, that those recipes start off with Real Butter. I can tell the difference between a product baked with butter or margarine, and butter is definitely my preference. I stockpile it here like it's going out of style. And so should you :-)
The wonderful butter lovin' people from Real Butter and Foodbuzz sent me some butter to try through the Tastemaker Program. I was excited to receive it because I love butter, if you haven't figured that out yet. But what I didn't expect was all the goodies that came along with it. They also sent me a holiday care package complete with a pound of unsalted butter, parchment paper, cookie cutters, a spatula, a cookie sheet and a few cute packaging items to wrap up my treats. Thank you so much!
I opened the package of butter and it smelled fresh and delicious, almost like a foodie perfume. I knew exactly what I was going to bake with my free butter-- Maple Pecan Shortbread. I originally saw it on Every Last Cookie and thought it was a gorgeous cookie and I wanted to eat them. I also wanted to make them for a special friend of mine, Debby from A Feast For The Eyes. I made these as a thank you gift for showing me around town in San Francisco at the Foodbuzz Fest last month. Thanks Debby!
I thought they were delicious, but they're a sophisticated kind of cookie, not the kind your kids are going to beg for. They're full of pecan flavor as there are ground pecans in the cookie as well as one crowning jewel right on top. I used local Texas-sized pecans from my in-laws' backyard so to me, they're extra special. They're not too sweet but they have an added crunch from the sprinkling of raw sugar on them before baking. Butter was the key in making them crisp and retaining their shape. The maple flavor was subtle, as I didn't use the maple extract, but they flavor intensified the next day. These are a perfect gift-giving cookie or for keeping at home and dunking in a mug of hot tea or coffee.
Maple-Pecan Shortbreadadapted from Martha's Cookies
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- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted Real Butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon pure maple extract (I omitted this)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2-3 dozen pecan halves (one half per cookie)
- Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Into a medium bowl, sift flours and salt. Whisk in 1/2 cup chopped pecans, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and light, about one minute.
Add the maple syrup, egg yolk, and extract (if using); beat on medium speed until well combined. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined. Dough should be smooth and pliable. Flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, 1 1/2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out rounds using a two-inch cookie cutter; place one inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with beaten egg; Place one pecan half in the center of the cookie. Sprinkle the entire surface with turbinado sugar.
Bake cookies, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to four days.
Makes 2-3 dozen.
NOTE: Recipe says it makes 2 dozen, but I got 36 cookies. So plan accordingly so you have enough pecan halves to top each shortbread round.
Ooh, and today just happens to be National Cookie Day! Go bake something and don't forget the butter!