Something else to make and give... I wish that I had more to say about these cookies - some sort of historical context about my life. But all I can tell you is that they are the best shortbread cookies I've ever eaten. That will have to do.
PECAN SHORTBREAD DIPPED IN CHOCOLATE (& sprinkled with Sea Salt)
Makes 3 dz cookies.
1 1/2 c. butter
2/3 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
5 T. cornstarch
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 1/2 c. finely ground pecans
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 T. olive oil
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit two baking sheets. Flour one lightly and set both aside.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt together - then add slowly to the butter mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Add 1 cup of the ground pecans to the batter and continue to mix. Scrape the dough out onto your prepared floured baking sheet. Using you hands to shape the dough into a long brick about 2-3 inches high and 10-12 inches long. Cover the dough and baking sheet with saran wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325F.
Using a knife or dough scraper, cut the dough into 1/2 inch slabs and place them on your second baking sheet - they can be placed fairly close together as this dough does not spread. Bake for 20-22 minutes - until the cookies turn gold on the edges. Let cool 20 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
It's best to wait overnight to the shortbread to harden a bit before dipping - if you are in a hurry, give the cookies at least 3 hours. Put the other 1 1/2 c. of ground pecans in a shallow, open bowl. Prepare a small bowl of sea salt. When you are ready to dip, melt the chocolate slowly in a small saucepan over low heat stirring constantely to prevent scorching. Add the olive oil and whisk it in until the chocolate is smooth. Dip each long end of the cooking into the warm chocolate, scrapping any excess off on the sides of the bowl, then dip into the ground pecans until the chocolate is covered. Set down on a prepared piece of parchment paper and sprinkle the chocolate/pecan section of the cookie very lightly with sea salt. Continue until all cookies have been dipped. Let set for at least a few hours - until the chocolate is no longer soft, before packaging.
I love the idea of giving mugs to close friends. Really special, handmade ones so that every time your friend sips from their coffee or tea, you are with them. A wonderful extra little touch is sliding a half dozen of these cookies into the mug before wrapping - a delicious little surprise...
Back soon with one more make & give recipe and a playlist to close out the week. Have a lovely day!