This holiday season is, for obvious reasons, markedly different than any other holiday season in recent memory. It’s difficult to feel that festive spirit and connected to loved ones when we’re shut up in our respective homes. So I’ve tried to rekindle the holiday spirit by indulging in a little baking. Even if I’m the only one eating it, the process still fills the house with that delicious fresh-out-of-the-oven-baked-goods smell and the result of course still fills my belly with buttery, sugary goodness. Just what we all need right now!
from Bon Appetit Desserts
1 cup pecans, toasted
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Process pecans in food processor until coarse meal forms. Melt 1/2 cup butter in small skillet over medium heat. Cook until dark amber, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Be careful it doesn’t burn. Chill just until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Whisk flour and salt to blend. Using electric mixer, beat brown butter, 1/2 cup butter, and sugar in large bowl until creamy. Beat in vanilla, then nuts. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed just to blend.
Transfer dough to sheet of parchment paper. Form dough into rectangle. Place second sheet of parchment paper over dough. Press or roll dough into 12×8- inch rectangle. Remove top sheet of parchment. Transfer dough on parchment to baking sheet.
Using fork, pierce dough all over, spacing 1″ apart. Bake shortbread until golden brown and firm to touch, about 55 minutes. Leaving shortbread on baking sheet, cut lengthwise into 8 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into quarters. Cool 10 minutes on sheet on rack. Transfer cookies to rack to cool completely.
A few notes on preparation: I used gluten-free flour (one-to-one flour) instead of regular all-purpose flour.
I did leave the brown butter to chill for longer than necessary which made it initially difficult to incorporate with the rest of the butter, but once it warmed up a bit, it was no trouble. Otherwise, these were super easy to make and a fun flavourful twist on typical shortbread–a nutty, full-bodied flavour. They were also delightfully crumbly and dangerously easy to eat. Diet starts in the New Year! Until then, shortbread.