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Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

4.7 from 10 votes
Nothing says "holiday baking" quite like these Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies — they are rich, buttery, and nutty, and a wonderful Christmas cookie treat.

Hi Bold Bakers!

From giving them as gifts, to making them as a fun activity with friends and family, I love how baking cookies is a way to bring people together during the holidays.  And nothing says “holiday baking” quite like these Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies — they are rich, buttery, and nutty, and a quintessential Christmas shortbread cookie.

As you know, shortbread is a staple for this festive season, but these aren’t just your average shortbread cookies, because they incorporate one of my favorite nuts: pecans. Easy to make in a large batch, and great to make ahead, these are lovely cookies to add to your holiday repertoire.

What is a shortbread cookie?

Shortbread cookies — not to be mistaken with a sugar cookie — are dry-yet-buttery cookies that are usually made of mostly butter, a bit of sugar, and a bit of flour. The reason it’s referred to as “short” bread is because of the nature of the crumb of the cookie.

The texture of my Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookie is on the cracker-like and crumbly side, making it delicate without much chew. One of the best parts about shortbread is that it always starts out the same, by creaming butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then adding in flour. My Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies combine both brown and white sugar, making all the difference in the flavor and aroma.

Then, of course, I add pecans — which take this cookie above and beyond. The added crunch and flavor from the toasted nuts is so lovely, making these truly special enough from any holiday occasion.

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Can shortbread cookies be frozen?

When the holidays hit, the key to culinary success is always preparation.

My Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookie can not only be made ahead, but they should be! Because the butter content of the butter pecan shortbread is so high, they can’t be shaped when the dough is fresh — they need to be chilled or frozen in the shape of a log, then sliced into discs to be baked. These shortbread cookies need to be chilled for a minimum of 2 hours to overnight.

If you do choose to make the dough ahead of time, it will also freeze beautifully. To bake from frozen: simply defrost, slice, and bake away!

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How to Make  Slice and Bake Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

The best part about my Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies is how easy they are to bake off. Once the dough has been whipped up, I turn it out of a bowl and then use my hands to shape it into a log. I wrap the log in plastic wrap, then twist each end like you would a piece of hard candy.

The result is an even shape that allows you to slice the cookies into really uniform discs. I love this effect, as it makes each cookie comes out perfect. The more uniform the cookie, the more evenly they bake, too. The finished cookies looks so professional and stack up perfectly making a great little stocking stuffer or gift.

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Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies Recipe

4.7 from 10 votes
nothing says "holiday baking" quite like these Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies — they are rich, buttery, and nutty, and a quintessential Christmas shortbread cookie.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 25
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 11 mins
Total Time 36 mins
nothing says "holiday baking" quite like these Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies — they are rich, buttery, and nutty, and a quintessential Christmas shortbread cookie.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 25

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (3oz/85g) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (2oz/57g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2oz/355g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 ½oz/71g) pecans, roughly chopped

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. 
  • Fold in the flour and chopped pecans.
  • Bring the dough into a ball and divide in half. Roll each half into an 8 inch log, then wrap it in plastic wrap. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap tightly to create a compact even log. Chill the dough for 2 hours to over night. 
  • When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 350°F (180°C) then line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
  • Remove the logs of dough from the fridge and unwrap them. Using a large sharp knife slice each log into 1/2 inch rounds.
  • Arrange the sliced cookies on the cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. 
  • Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden and slightly crispy.
  • Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow the cookies to cool completely.
  • Cover and store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

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25
Comments & Reviews

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Member
Dede Baja
5 days ago

OMyGosh! I can’t wait to try this recipe! I love pecan shortbread but always had store bought.

Rita Baca
Guest
Rita Baca
25 days ago

I dont know what I did wrong. My dough came out dry, couldnt form it or roll it out. It was real crumbling.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
21/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter chilled cut into1/2 in.
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans finely chopped
English toffee crumbled

Lisa
Guest
Lisa
5 months ago

I like to add a little almond extract as well…just a little tip!
I will try your recipe, looks yummy.

Millie Fleck
Member
Millie Fleck
11 months ago

Hi Gemma, I was just wondering if vanilla sugar could be used instead of adding in the vanilla extract? as have some I made in the cupboard.
Best wishes,
Millie

Haley
Guest
11 months ago

My two favorite cookies combined, pecans and shortbread. Need to make these ASAP.

Carol
Guest
Carol
11 months ago

Hi Gemma,
Can you toast the pecans before chopping them and putting them into the batter?
Best,
Carol

Member
Grace Ogechi
11 months ago

Wow is beautiful

Nancy M
Guest
Nancy M
11 months ago

I was trying to measure by grams instead of cups but I think your conversions must be off. For example, One cup of flour, depending on the type, runs between 110 and 120 grams. All purpose runs 120 grams per cup. This recipe indicates 2.5 cups is equal to 355 grams when, in fact, it’s closer to 300. I’ve decided to use cup measures instead, but would appreciate an update so I can use grams in the future.

Love your recipes! Going to try the ladyfingers next.

CharlotteAnn
Member
CharlotteAnn
11 months ago

Thank you for all the wonderful recipes and ideas. I haven’t had a chance to make too many, however I am going to once we get settled.

Garima
Guest
Garima
11 months ago

Love your recipies Gemma. Planning to try a few this Christmas. Can i freeze these slice and bake cookies so i can use them maybe a month later.

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for a FREE profile and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new dessert recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

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