Carla Hall’s Pecan Shortbread Cookies

“When I was ready to call it quits with catering, I decided my next business would celebrate the one food I love most: cookies! Cookies are all love. A little sweet bite to make you feel better – even if you’re already feeling great. At Alchemy by Carla Hall, my tiny cookie bites company, my pecan shortbreads are always a hit. The version here makes bigger rounds, but the flavor’s just as fantastic. Nutty and crisp, these buttery sweets are one big hug.” -Carla Hall

Ingredients

  • 4 cups pecans, toasted and ground
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Method

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the pecans, flour and salt.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until just mixed, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally. The mixture should still be grainy; it shouldn’t be pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla and almond extract until blended.
  3. Stop and scrape the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the pecan mixture. Beat just until the dough sticks together.
  4. Transfer the dough to a half sheet pan and flatten into a disk. Cover and refrigerate until just firm. Divide the dough in quarters and shape each piece into a log 1 inch in diameter. Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Cut one log into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place on the baking sheets, spacing the rounds 1 inch apart. Bake until the edges are browned and the tops are golden, about 12 minutes.
  7. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool. Repeat with the remaining dough on clean parchment paper.

“I always keep a log or two of this dough in the freezer. That way, I can cut off a few slices and bake them whenever I want. You can cut and bake the slices directly from the freezer. Just be sure to keep the logs well wrapped in there so they don’t pick up any off flavors from the other stuff you’ve got in the freezer.” -Carla Hall

Joseph J. Airdo

Joseph J. Airdo is a film critic, producer and on-air personality for Breakthrough Entertainment, a talk radio show airing 10-11 a.m. Saturdays on KPHX 1480 AM and BreakRadioShow.com that shines a spotlight on the practical perspectives of the topics and themes explored in movies. He has a pet duck named Frozen who is as opinionated about movies as he is. E-mail him at joseph.airdo@gmail.com.

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