Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Celebrate the holiday season by baking delightfully simple, yet complex Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies. This twist on a classic is elevated by the addition of toasted pecans to the outside of the cookies. Cream butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar together before adding flour and salt to make the cookie dough. Coat the dough with toasted pecans, then chill. Slice and bake when ready for the perfectly crunchy, slightly sweet Christmas cookie.

toasted pecan shortbread cookies on a blue napkin

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Happy Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange, y’all!

🎉🎉🎉

Who’s beyond excited for some cookie love this week?

I am, I am!

(And if you want to join in on this goodness? Please do! Pop on over to the information page and let me know because there’s always room for more cookies!)

toasted pecan shortbread cookies stacked on a white plate with milk

My mom has worked at an all-boys school since I was a teenager. Every Christmas, she gets all kinds of goodies from her students. These goodies include everything from flowers to little jars of hot sauce, cocoa mix, pickles, etc. to homemade treats.

Obviously, the homemade baked goods were my personal favorite goodie that was sent home to her because my mom shared them with the whole family.

When I was in college, one particular family gave her shortbread every year.

These classic shortbread cookies were the stuff dreams are made of: crumbly and sweet and so buttery they were almost sinful.

I may or may not have hoarded these cookies when I arrived home, rationing the finite number so I could enjoy them throughout the holiday season and hoping beyond hope that my mom and sister would not notice they were not with the other cookies.

However, it never crossed my mind to make my own. Clearly, shortbread was a challenging thing to make, and I should leave it to the professionals (AKA that family) and enjoy the goodies that were shared with me.

(Turns out, it’s quite easy.)

toasted pecan shortbread cookies ready to bake

We’ve discussed my lack of knowledge of kitchen things before and how I used to think lots of things were impossible to make, which was why I never tried.

Well, a few years back, I finally gave shortbread a go and realized it’s a lot easier than expected. It just requires a little patience

So this year, I wanted to bring another shortbread recipe to the virtual cookie table.

toasted pecan shortbread stacked on a white plate

Toasted pecans (and pecans, in general) are one of my favorite things this time of year, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I involved them in a cookie recipe.

The crunch and toastiness of the pecans just elevate this shortbread.

And really, it only requires 15-20 minutes of hands-on time before it chills.

What’s not to love about that?

toasted pecan shortbread cookies stacked on a blue napkin

Toasted Pecan Shortbread Essentials

Get the look!

toasted pecan shortbread cookies stacked on a white napkin

While these Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies aren’t the same as that family’s particular cookie, they’re a new favorite.

Confession: I’ve been enjoying them along with coffee and tea in the mornings since I initially made the recipe. And I’ll no doubt be hoarding these this holiday season, even though I’ll bake up a batch for friends and neighbors before Christmas Eve to share.

Scroll on down to learn how you can make ‘em:

Stacked shortbread cookies and side of milk

toasted pecan shortbread cookies on a blue napkin
Yield: 30 cookies

Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Celebrate the holiday season by baking delightfully simple, yet complex Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies. This twist on a classic is elevated by the addition of toasted pecans to the outside of the cookies. Cream butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar together before adding flour and salt to make the cookie dough. Coat the dough with toasted pecans, then chill. Slice and bake when ready for the perfectly crunchy, slightly sweet Christmas cookie.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pecan pieces
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

Toast the pecans

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  2. Spread the pecan pieces over the prepared baking sheet.
  3. When the oven has finished preheating, place the pecan piece in the oven.
  4. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the pecans start browning and become fragrant. (Please keep an eye on the pecans, as you do not want to burn them!)
  5. When browned, remove from the oven, and set aside. Let come to room temperature, then chop so the pieces are smaller.

Make the Cookie Batter

  1. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar using a hand mixer.
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a separate bowl. Once mixed, sprinkle into the wet ingredients, stirring until the batter just comes together.
  3. Place a long piece of plastic wrap on the counter.
  4. Spread the cooled, chopped pecan pieces onto the center of the plastic wrap.
  5. Dollop the batter into the center of the plastic wrap to form a log shape over the pecan pieces. Press the pecans into the cookie batter, and rotate until every side of the batter has been covered.
  6. Seal by folding the plastic wrap over the cookie batter, then roll to create a rounded cookie log.
  7. Transfer the log to the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour.
  8. Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. (I left mine overnight, and that was ideal.)

Make the Cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  2. Remove the cookie log from the refrigerator.
  3. Using a pastry scraper, slice the dough into ½" thick cookies.
  4. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1" around each cookie.
  5. Once all the cookies have been sliced and placed on their baking sheet(s), transfer them to the freezer for a 10-minute chill.
  6. Once chilled, transfer the baking sheet(s) to the preheated oven.
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack, then enjoy!

Notes

Please note that the total time listed above does NOT include chilling time. The chilling will add an additional 1-2 hours at a minimum to the total time.

Adapted from my Lemon Honey Shortbread recipe.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

30 cookies

Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 60Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 39mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

How much did you love this recipe?

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Do you have a cookie like this that you’ve always loved but never tried?

How do you feel about making a twist to a classic recipe?

The Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange 2016 // The Speckled Palate

Be sure to check out ALL the recipes shared during this year’s Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange at our COOKIE RECIPE page. And if you’re interested in participating in this celebration of butter, flour, sugar and holiday goodness, pop on over to the information page. Posts go live from now until Friday, and we’d love for you to share a new recipe on your site with us!

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24 Comments

  1. Erin! These looks amazing! My family loves shortbread, and pecans are one of my favourite seasonal baking ingredients at this time of year. I cannot wait to try these out!

    1. Thank you so much, Amy! Shortbread is one of our favorites, too, and who doesn’t love pecans?!? So happy you enjoy baking with them, too, and I hope you thoroughly enjoy these cookies when you do try them! 😀

    1. Pssh. I’m totally not a professional shortbread baker by ANY means, but it’s not nearly as challenging as you’d think. And it’s SO DELICIOUS that you gotta try it!

  2. Erin! These shrotbread cookies look fantastic! I love you twist on them!! yummy! Thanks for organizing this amazing virtual cookies exchange!! This is the true spirit of Christmas! sharing the love!

    1. Thank you, Gaila! We loved these shortbread cookies SO MUCH that they were devoured within a few days of the initial baking.

      Absolutely! There’s something so much fun about being able to share the love (and the cookies) through this virtual cookie exchange! I’m so happy we connected and that you participated!

  3. Shortbread cookies are a must for the holidays in our family! I love the idea of rolling them in toasted pecans! YUM!

  4. These cookies sounds soooo delicious! I have trouble turning down shortbread on it’s own, but add pecans to it and I think I’m in love!

  5. I love shortbread (especially with a good cup of tea…) and adding toasted nuts just makes them that much better- yum! Also loving the make-ahead aspect and how easy they are to just cut and bake when you want fresh cookies. Thank you for this great recipe!

    1. Thanks, Jami! Shortbread pairs so well with so many drinks, and this rendition is no different. 🙂 The slicing and baking part of this recipe is the BEST! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I love toasted pecans too! I definitely have to make these (and probably hide them from everyone too) although if you come over I’ll share some with you. 🙂

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