Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pecan Shortbread


To somewhat resolve my inner conflict over the sugary food related things I do at work, I've decided that I'd really like to establish my own repertoire of basic recipes, made with local sugars...perhaps to appear in my imaginary bakery. I really enjoy working on recipes and testing my knowledge of baking theory to adapt them. Shortbread was a delicious and simple place to start. And pecan sandies are among James' favourite cookies.


I made 9 different versions of shortbread before arriving at this one. I know it seems like a lot, but most of that was spent just tweaking the sweetness level, as I found most recipes too sweet and rich. This one is nutty, slightly sweet, not too buttery, and has that short texture characteristic of shortbread. I have been thinking of giving them out with Christmas gifts, but I keep eating them all.


I also had a chance to use the fun cookie cutters my sister is getting me for Christmas. We have a bad habit of just telling each other what we want as gifts, and I knew where to find these in Toronto, so I offered to pick them up for her. For once, I am glad she never reads my blog...she'll never know I had them out of the box.


Pecan Shortbread
(makes two dozen, twenty gram cookies)

Ingredients:
  • 218 grams whole wheat pastry flour
  • 74 grams ground pecans
  • 5 grams/1 tsp fine salt
  • 131 grams ghee, soft
  • 61 grams honey
Instructions:

1. Combine dry ingredients, and set aside.
2. Beat softened ghee until light and airy. Add honey and beat until combined.
3. Add dry ingredients to ghee/honey and mix until just combined. Don't over mix—the dough will be dry and crumbly. Chill for about an hour or so.
4. Shape the cookies as desired—flatten balls of dough into discs, roll and cut out shapes, etc... Bake at 300-325 for 15-17 minutes.

Notes:
1. My oven is way out of sorts. My oven thermometer tracks the temperature going between 250 and 350, when it's set at 325...so I'm trying to give the most accurate baking temperature I can.
2. If it is important that your cookies hold a cut-out shape, place them in the fridge, shaped and on the baking tray, for another 15 minutes before baking.

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