Pecan Shortbread Cookies and the 2nd Annual Cookie Swap

6 days until Christmas. Such a joyous time yet as of lately, I am feeling a bit somber. As I get ready to leave for NY tomorrow to spend time with my family, my thoughts are with the families in Newtown, CT.

Last year I held a cookie swap at my apartment so in keeping up with this ‘tradition’ I hosted another one this year. And just like last year, my dinner the night of the swap was a plate of cookies. It always seems like a good idea at the time…

Cookie spread!

There weren’t as many people this year but we still had a lot of great cookies. We even had our first baby come to the swap! That’s how you know you’re getting older. When babies start showing up at events and you think it’s cool. This year there were Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies, Raspberry Crumb Bars, Mint Chocolate Meringues, Cocoa Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites, Apricot-Pecan Crumb Bars, Red Velvet Cake and lastly, Pecan Shortbread Cookies.

I made Pecan Shortbread Cookies, a super easy cookie recipe I found from Food & Wine. The cookie is nutty and buttery, and not too sweet. It is a departure from my usual go-to chocolate cookie recipes and I really liked how they turned out.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Makes about 2 to 2 1/2 dozen depending on size
Recipe from Food & Wine


  • 3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • demerara (or turbinado) sugar


      *Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the chopped pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 6 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool. (Note: Instead of toasting the nuts in the oven, I microwaved them for 20 seconds at a time until I could smell the nuttiness of the pecans!)
      *In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, vanilla extract and salt at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour in 3 batches, beating at low speed until just incorporated. Discard the vanilla bean. Stir in the pecans.
      *Transfer the dough to a work surface and roll into a 1 1/2-inch-thick log. Wrap the log in plastic or parchment paper and refrigerate for about 1 hour, until chilled.
      *Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread some demerara sugar on a platter. Brush the log with the egg yolk and roll in the sugar. Slice the log into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.
      *Bake the shortbread cookies for about 20 minutes, until the edges are golden; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let stand until cooled completely, about 30 minutes, before serving.

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