Made in 1 bowl without eggs or leavening, this pecan shortbread is soft yet dense with crisp crumbly edges. We’ll use the simple slice and bake method, which helps guarantee thick cookies. No rolling pin required!
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (100g) finely chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup (50g) coarse sugar (I prefer this one)
- 1/4 cup (32g) finely chopped pecans
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the flour, cinnamon, and salt, then beat on low speed until combined. Beat in the chopped pecans. The cookie dough may look like it won’t come together, but keep beating– I promise, it will! The cookie dough will be thick.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, divide or cut into two. Shape each half into an 8-inch log, about 2.5 inches in diameter. The measurements don’t have to be exact. Tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours and up to 5 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I prefer to chill mine for 4 hours or even overnight– the colder the dough, the thicker the cookies.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- For Rolling: You can actually roll the logs before or after chilling them. Mix the coarse sugar and chopped pecans together on a large plate. One at a time, roll the log into the mixture. Press it down so the nuts and sugar stick to all sides.
- Slice each log into 12 equally thick cookies and place cookies on baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
- Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Baked cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving. You can make/assemble the cookie dough logs and chill in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (see step 2). Cookie dough logs freeze well too, up to 3 months. Allow the logs to thaw overnight in the refrigerator then continue with step 3.
- Pecans: I always use unsalted raw pecans. If you love salty sweet cookies, you can use salted/roasted pecans. Whichever you use, chop the pecans into very fine pieces. The smaller the pecan pieces, the more that can squeeze into each cookie and around the edges. It will be impossible to roll the logs into large chunks of pecans.
- Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.
Keywords: shortbread, pecans, egg free, Christmas cookies