Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread

Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread

While browsing cookbooks looking for new cookie ideas for Thanksgiving, I came across this shortbread.  I knew immediately that I needed to bake these as soon as possible.  I love shortbread but never tried making it at home before, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy it is to make yourself.

Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread

Of course I couldn’t resist eating one straight from the oven, but I think the flavor gets even better after these cool.  You can definitely taste the pecans and the brown sugar, but not so much that it is overpowering.  I dipped half of mine in melted dark chocolate to dress them up a bit.  My husband liked them better that way, while I preferred them plain.

These do spread quite a bit while baking, which I was not expecting.  So learn from my mistake and make sure you leave room between the cookies on the baking sheet.  I was kicking myself when I pulled them out of the oven (they were all smooshed together), but I managed to salvage the majority of them.  Not that I wouldn’t have eaten them in that misshapen form.  I don’t discriminate against ugly cookies – as long as they taste good that is.

Yield: about 30 cookies

Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread

Recipe for brown sugar pecan shortbread. Buttery, melt-in-your mouth shortbread full of ground pecans and brown sugar. A fun twist on this classic cookie.

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  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup finely ground pecans
  • melted chocolate, for garnish (optional)


  1. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and brown sugar. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until creamy. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined – do not over mix. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the ground pecans. Again, do not mix too much, just to get the pecans into the dough.
  3. Transfer the dough to a gallon-sized zip-lock plastic bag. Leave the top of the bag open. Roll out the dough into a 9 by 10 ½ inch rectangle that is about ¼ inch thick. Turn the bag as needed and lift the plastic from the dough to prevent lines in the shortbread. Press out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  5. Slit open the plastic bag and carefully transfer the dough to a lightly floured cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 ½ inch squares. Place the squares on the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave room between the cookies (they will spread when baking). Use a fork to gently prick each square two times (gently push the tines completely through the cookie).
  6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the pans once during baking. The cookies should still be fairly pale, with just a hint of golden brown color. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. If desired, dip the cooled cookies in melted chocolate and then place on wax paper to dry.

Slightly adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.