Friday, December 31, 2010

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Pecan Shortbread Cookies - made December 25, 2010 from the Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy (already counted as book #4)

I had liked almost every recipe from this book so the results from this one was a trifle disappointing.  It's your basic Mexican Wedding Cake-type of cookie so it was easy to make and I thought it would turn out okay.  Couple of things that went wrong for me: 1) it called for too many nuts with too little dough.  By the time I had rolled the dough into cookie balls, I still had a small handful of nut bits left but no dough to hold them together.  Not a show stopper but still....

Issue #2) While the taste was pretty good, they came out too fragile to roll well in powdered sugar and even to eat.  They crumbled instead even after they had cooled and you picked them up.  That could partly be my fault since I didn't bake them as long as the recipe said to.  Baking them for that long seemed like they'd be more of a sandy texture than the melt-in-your-mouth texture so I took them out early, when the bottoms were barely golden.  That didn't work out as I had hoped. You can see I couldn't roll them in the powdered sugar like with a more firm cookie by how clumpy the powdered sugar looks over it.  I sprinkled the sugar over the cookies instead of rolling the cookies in the sugar and it still didn't look right. One of my nieces was taking a bite out of one and it literally crumbled through her fingers and dropped to the ground.  While it made for a good laugh, that's not normally how I want my cookies to behave! I guess that'll teach me about risk taking.  I should've stuck to my old recipe for Buttery Tea Balls.

I haven't baked anything new since Christmas Day (just the tried and true stuff) so I close 2010 with my final failure of this holiday baking season.  Live and learn.  Time to explore more new territory (and 170+ more cookbooks) in 2011.

10 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups shelled pecan pieces, finely chopped
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, for coating

1.     Position a rack in the center of your oven.  Preheat the oven to 325˚F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2.     In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the butter, sugar and salt to combine.  Add the vanilla, and pulse to combine.  Add the flour and pecans, and pulse to combine.  Remove the dough from the mixer.
3.     Using a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon, form balls and place 1 ½ inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly golden.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.
4.     Put the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl.  When the cookies are almost cool, roll them in sugar.

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