Saturday, December 4, 2010

Butter Season

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 Shortbread

adapted from Martha's Cookies

Printer Friendly Version

  • 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!


Jackie said...

free butter! You lucky lady! The cookies look wonderfully delish!

Kerstin said...

Haha, I'm going to call it butter season from now on! The cookies look like they'd be lovely with tea.

♥peachkins♥ said...

I love butter season!LOL!

Julie said...

What a fun package! And the cookies look just perfect for popping the whole thing right into your mouth...yum :)

Ruth Hiebert said...

These make my mouth water.I HAVE to try making them.Thnaks

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

These cookies would rock the cookie plate over the holidays.

oneordinaryday said...

They look like they belong next to a hot mug of coffee or tea.

Coley Loree said...

HAPPY COOKIE DAY! I am making the traditional Cut out sugar cookies and then to change it up a bit a chocolate cherry oatmeal cookie!

(Nicole) The Very Hungry Caterpillar said...

I had no idea it was cookie day. I as going to save my latest cookies for a post on Monday but it looks as if I need to post them today. Thanks for sharing yours look lovely!

Sue said...

Well it is all butter all the time at my house. My mom always used margarine to bake and I remember the first time I made something with real butter...I never looked back:)

The cookies are beautiful. I like a non-kid cookie sometimes!

Lisa said...

It looks like I'm in the midst of "Butter Season" too and loving every minute of it. Your cookies look like a delicious way to make the most of the season. By the way, I'm holding a giveaway on my blog for Orglamix Organic makeup and you're welcome to come by and enter.

Unknown said...

Of course you have to use real butter! Is there anything else??? These look so pretty! I love the little gift package you received. That spatula and mitten cookie cutter are so cute! What a nice gift these were. :-)

Carey's Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Oh...I can so relate to your post. LOL! A tragedy in my house is discovering there isn't anymore butter. I love shortbread! I may be making these this afternoon. I also love pecans! I will have to check out that website too.


Healthy and Homemade said...

Oh my goodness yum. These sound SO good!! I used to love, I think they're called pecan sandies? when I was a kid. Loved those. These look even better. YAY for free butta!

Susan at said...

Love me some butter.... these look amazing! My mom loves this type of cookie!


Smitten Sugar said...

Yum! Who wouldnt love free butter! I buy several boxes every time I go to the store and still sometimes run out and have to make a special store trip for just butter!

These do look like very sophisticated cookies, I think my family would love these! So cute!

tamilyn said...

Look at all those goodies!

I stockpile butter too. When it goes on sale or has a coupon in the weekly sales ad, I stock up. I think I have 8 pounds in the freezer....

Rachel (rachescakes) said...

I'm a real butter girl too!

Lori said...

Nothing beats butter! And I don't think anything would beat your amazing cookies. They look perfect.

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Love that first photo. Looks like you've been moving your f/stop around. Very nice.

Even if the kids weren't to like these I know Mama sure would.

Avril said...

Yahooo for Butter Season!!! - I LOVE how you have named this time of year in such a way! Happiness is definitely BUTTER for me. Sweet cream butter....precious and oh so delicious. :-)

erica said...

butter season my favorite time of the year! Your cookies look out of this world! I am your newest follower.


Keeley said...

All I can say is, "wow!". I absolutely love butter and I won't even purchase any butter substitutes.

I'll be adding these to my cookie list this month. We don't have any children in our family, so I know these will go over well with my grown-up household.

Treehouse Chef said...

I love butter!!!!!!!!! And these cookies look delicious! Thanks for sharing!

From the Kitchen said...

Our kitchen is a "margarine free" zone. Only butter! These looks delicious!


Christy {The Girl Who Ate Everything} said...

Ooh these look so good!

Janet said...

Butter season is my favorite too - thank God it lasts all year long at my house!

Your cookies are beautiful. I am allergic to nuts (nuts!) but I am a sucker for a good shortbread!

Debbie said...

Delicious!!! I love using butter in cookies.....butter, maple syrup and pecans...does it get any better???? NO!

Abby said...

My in-laws brought me a huge box of N.C.-sized :) pecans that need to be shelled. Some of them might make their way onto some of this beautiful shortbread!

Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer said...

Butter, Maple, Pecans. What is not to love. I soooo want a pecan tree, that is too cool! I wish I could have one here. I don't think any nut trees can grow here, only apples and an occasional lucky pear or plum. And my mini lime tree in my kitchen, lol.

Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer said...

I read this article yesterday and thought of you :) Enjoy your butter season guilt free, health benefits are much higher than most think!

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