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Pecan Toffee Shortbread

November 29, 2011

Our Christmas tree is up, I have some of my holiday shopping done, and I’ve officially baked my first batch of cookies this cookie season. I love this time of year!

I wanted to try this recipe last year, but I never got around to it, so I put it first on my cookie baking list for this holiday. Shortbread cookies are usually pretty simple, but these ones have a few different textures and flavors in them that make them extra special. The combination of toffee, pecans, and chocolate is heavenly.


Because these cookies have to be rolled out and cut with cookie cutters, you could use any festive cookie cutter that you have on hand. I stuck with boring circles, but they would be cute stars, reindeers and snowflakes too.


Another great thing about these cookies is that they are sturdy and stackable, which makes them great to give out as gifts. I gave a couple bags away yesterday and I think it’s safe to say that everyone always appreciates a gift of homemade cookies.


Pecan Toffee Shortbread
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen: Holiday Cookies, Holiday 2010 Issue

The cookie dough can be made up to 3 days in advance or even longer if you freeze it. I always like making big batches of cookies around the holidays, but if you don’t need 60+ cookies, you can always halve this recipe. Also, I would try rolling out the cookie dough between a Silpat mat and a piece of plastic wrap instead of having to flour everything. It makes clean up a lot easier and is my new favorite way of rolling out pie and cookie dough. If you don’t have a Silpat, you can try rolling out the dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup Heath Toffee Bits (without chocolate)
Confectioners sugar, for dusting

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt and set aside. Place the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer) and mix on medium-high speed until smooth. Then reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture until everything is just combined. Then stir in the pecans, mini chocolate chips, and toffee bits until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough. Divide the dough into 4 even pieces, shape each quarter into a 1/2-inch thick disk, and wrap each disk with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until firm for at least 1 hour (up to 3 days).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the oven racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a clean surface, roll out one of the disks of dough until it is 1/4-inch thick (see note). Use a cookie cutter (I used a 2 1/4-inch round) to cut out cookies, re-rolling the dough as needed. Place the cookies 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets and then continue the process with the other disks of dough (I like to place my unbaked cookies in the fridge to set up while I roll out the rest of the dough).

Bake 2 sheets of cookies at a time for 12 to 14 minutes until the edges start to turn golden, rotating the sheets halfway through. Cool the cookies for 10 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, dust with confectioners sugar.

Makes 5 1/2 dozen 2 1/4-inch cookies.

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