A couple of summers ago, I entered a cookie contest…and lost.
“Lost” is such a harsh word.
Let’s just say I was in a three-way tie for 3rd place.
The winning cookie, however, won by a landslide! A delicate pecan shortbread sandwich cookie filled with raspberry jam and topped with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar–it was the perfect summer cookie! Therefore, I wasted no time befriending the baker (who so kindly shared her recipe).
With that said, I guess it’s only fair that I share the recipe with you!
Now go make a batch and win a cookie contest!
Pecan Shortbread Sandwiches
Because this is a shortbread cutout cookie, it will require a little more work and wit on your part. Are you ready? You can do this!
Beat room-temperature butter for a couple minutes until light and fluffy.
Add 2 cups sifted flour, 1 cup finely chopped pecans, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.
Beat until ingredients are incorporated. Dough will be very crumbly!
Because the dough is so crumbly, you will want to save your sanity by dumping the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap…
…gather up the ends and press, press, press….
…until you form a disk.
Wrap disk in the plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. (You can chill the disk overnight, but the dough will need to sit at room temp until it softens a bit. Butter + cold = rock hard!)
Easy Method: When you are ready to roll, lightly flour a large piece of parchment paper and place dough on top. Roll dough 1/8″ thick with a floured rolling pin.
Pull-Your-Hair-Out-Method: Roll dough on a floured countertop. Scream. Curse. Roll. Repeat.
Using nesting cookie cutters, cut out an even number of large circles. Using a small cookie cutter, cut out the center of half the large dough circles. (Clear as mud?)
Before attempting to remove the cut-outs, slide the parchment onto a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 5 minutes!
Now that you have chilled the cut-outs, carefully peel them off the parchment and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until golden.
Carefully transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
While still warm, carefully spread 1 teaspoon of jam on top of a round cookie and top with a cookie “ring.”
Immediately sprinkle warm cookies with powdered sugar. (Sugar will not adhere to cooled cookies)
Enjoy with a lovely cup of tea on a lovely afternoon with lovely people.
Makes 10-12 sandwiches
*1 cup butter, softened
*2 cups flour
*1 cup finely chopped pecans
*1 teaspoon vanilla
*1/2 teaspoon almond extract
*3/4 cup sugar
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*Jam and powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat butter on high for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in remaining ingredients until well incorporated. Dough will be very crumbly.
Dump dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and gather up the edges of the wrap. Press dough together into a disk, wrap tightly and chill for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and floured rolling pin, roll dough 1/8-1/4″ thick. Cut out cookies with a round cookie cutter. Cut out the centers of half the cookies using a smaller round cookie cutter. Slide parchment onto a cookie sheet and freeze for 5 minutes so that cookies easily peel off.
Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. While still warm, lightly spread 1 teaspoon jam in center of a round cookie and top with a cookie ring. Immediately dust with powdered sugar.