“Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.”
― Blaise Pascal
Shortbread is really simple and really versatile. It’s a three-man show: butter, flour and sugar, which means that the opportunity for jazzing it up is essentially endless. To this cast, I added toasted pecans and vanilla, which my cookbook assured me turned an average shortbread into “Butter Pecan Shortbread.”
While these didn’t exactly have the depth of flavor that butter pecan ice cream might have, they were still really excellent. They were everything your afternoon tea cookie should be: crispy, buttery and dainty. I was pleased that the final product was sturdy enough to dunk, but tender enough to crumble. Does that make sense? Might be a contradiction. But actually, sometimes this life holds contradictions.
My most recent contradiction was making plans for the weekend, and then secretly knowing in my heart that I was going to ditch everyone and go window-shopping all by myself. I say “window-shopping” because it’s kind of hard for the contradiction of “being an intern” and “buying new things” to exist. I bought a floor-length velour skirt for 99 cents. Best day ever.
Slice. Chill. Bake. Cool.
As with other roll out-type cookies, the key to keeping those pretty edges is to chill the dough before you bake it.
Enjoy your tea-ful contradictions today.
Butter Pecan Shortbread
Adapted from The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
1 1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the flour and sugar. Using two knives, cut in the butter to the flour/sugar until the mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Sprinkle in the pecans and vanilla, and knead until smooth, forming a ball.
Roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully while baking. When finished, edges should be light golden and the centers of the cookies should be set. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
If desired, drizzle with melted chocolate or browned butter glaze.