Get out your rolling pins and cookie cutters, here is the other award-winning cookie recipe that I promised to share with you from our newspaper's Christmas cookie contest. This cookie won first place in the "Cut Out" category and took second place overall. Shortbread has been one of my favorite kinds of cookies for many years and I loved the idea of a shortbread with pecans.
The heart shape also appealed to me since it is also used extensively in Danish Christmas decorating.
The original recipe had white and dark chocolate drizzles but I stuck with my fave - dark chocolate. These are delicious even plain without the chocolate drizzle. This recipe also called for cornstarch, which many shortbread recipes do, but I substituted rice flour, which I use in my regular shortbread recipe. You can find rice flour in the Bob's Red Mill section of the baking aisle.
Help yourself to a very, Merry Christmas!
Pecan Shortbread HeartsAdapted from the Cutout Winner of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Cookie Contest 2011
1 cup flour
2-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (I used rice flour instead)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup very finely chopped pecans (I used my mini food processor to chop them)
Powdered sugar or 2 ounces each dark chocolate and white chocolate for drizzling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Into medium bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch or rice flour, and salt.
In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar and vanilla. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture and mix until the dough begins to gather together. Mix in nuts - do not over mix.
Gather dough into a ball and place on a sheet of waxed paper. Flatten dough with a rolling pin between 2 sheets of waxed paper to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Remove top piece of waxed paper and cut out dough with a 1-3/4 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter.
Place hearts on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet about 1/2 inches apart. Bake until form to the touch and just beginning to color on the edges, about 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Sprinkle cooled cookies with powdered sugar or pipe melted chocolate decoratively across cookies or just enjoy plain.