For this month’s Home Baker’s Challenge, our host Sharanya Pathmanathan @ Just Not the Cakes has chosen a very interesting theme — American food holidays for the month of January. She gave us 6 food holidays to choose from and I picked National Shortbread Day which is celebrated on January 6th. I didn’t know that there were so many food days, so big thanks to Sharanya for introducing us to these mouth watering days. Here are the other food holidays that were on Sharanya’s list:
January 16 — National Fig Newton Day
January 21 — National Granola Bar Day
January 22 — National Blonde Brownie Day
January 23 — National Pie Day
January 29 — National Corn chip Day
Aren’t those totally awesome days, what a great idea to enjoy food!!
I wanted to bake Fig Newtons and Granola bars too, but as usual time was short and I made only the shortbread cookies.
Shortbread cookies have become my new favorite kind of cookies to bake. They are so quick and easy to put together — combine all the ingredients and that’s it, you are good to go. Dough either goes into the fridge for chilling or straight into the baking pan for baking. Also the resulting cookies have a great texture and they just melt in your mouth.
I found this shortbread cookies recipe on King Arthur site and I followed the variation for butter-pecan cookies. These cookies go straight into the baking pan with no chilling time required, so they are great to bake when you are short of time and need something sweet really quick (less than an hour is all you need to bake these). I baked them for my dear friends who prefer desserts that are not overly sweet and rich. They all loved them a lot.
Pecan Shortbread Cookies
- 2 1 cups Salted butter sticks or - at room temperature (I used unsalted and the cookies came out just fine)
- 1 cup Sugar Confectioners
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 2 cups All purpose flour
- 1 cup Pecans - toasted and finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease 2 round 9" baking pans. If you are worried that the cookies might stick to the bottom, then line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the parchment. I don't have 9" round pans, so I used one 9" square pan and one 6" round pan instead.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Then add flour and pecans (toasted and chopped) and beat until the mixture comes together. Initially it will look as if the dough is never going to come together, but after 30 seconds of continuous beating, it will come together. If it absolutely doesn't come together, then dribble in 1tablespoon water, until it does. This is a stiff dough.
- Divide the dough between the 2 baking pans and then smoothen the top with your fingers.
- Prick the surface with a fork all over to let the steam escape.
- Bake until the shortbread is light golden on the top surface and a deeper golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and immediately turn it out onto a clean working surface.
- When still warm, using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut the shortbread into wedges or rectangles. If you wait till the shortbread cools, then it will be difficult to cut the cookies.
- Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.