Pipe Dream #181: To Be Contradictory – Butter Pecan Shortbread

“Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.”
Blaise Pascal

butter pecan 3

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.”

butter pecan 6

butter pecan 5

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.

butter pecan 2

butter pecan 1

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.

butter pecan 4

Enjoy your tea-ful contradictions today.

Au revoir,


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.

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