Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spiced Maple Pecan Shortbread







Last week was the first hard freeze in Minnesota.  Now, I am not a big fan of the cold by any means, especially bundling up to run in below freezing temps.  But as I headed out for my run on a frosty morning last week I was dazzled by the beauty of the frost on the grass, it was sparkling from the light the street lamps cast on it (as it was still dark).  This glittering frost made me think of sugar atop a dessert, and I had the strong desire to create one! 

Being that I didn't have a lot of time that day, shortbread seemed like a good idea.  It is one of my favorite simple cookies, and it lends itself well to many flavorings.  Since it is fall, I thought it would be wonderful to use pecans, maple and spice in my shortbread. This time though I was not going to make a typical shortbread recipe, I decided to go against the shortbread purists and use (gasp) coconut oil in place of butter in my recipe.  I have had success doing this in many other recipes, but this was my first time doing it with short bread.   I was worried that the coconut oil would affect the texture, being that it had to be warmed a little and liquified to be mixed in...therefore creating more of a batter than a dough.  But a good 20 minutes in the freezer before baking solved that problem!  The shortbread filled my kitchen with a heavenly aroma...almost like that of french toast from the maple and spices. 
Once the shortbread had cooled and it was time for testing I was pleasantly surprised that I liked this shortbread better than the classic!  The texture was a little different due to the oil, slightly more crunchy, but almost MORE flaky and buttery!  The flavor was intense, sweet and caramelly with light spice notes!  My Mom who tasted them told me that she would call these cookies something of a cross between a snickerdoodle and a pecan sandie...then she kept raving about how they were the best shortbread she had tasted!  I will definately be experimenting more with coconut oil in my shortbread in the future, and you should too!  Here is the recipe if you would like to try these out!


Spiced Maple Pecan Shortbread
Makes 12

1 cup coconut oil, slightly above room temperature
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup maple sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
turbinado sugar for sprinkling top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the rack set in the center. Mix all shortbread ingredients together in a large bowl until well blended, then press into an 8 inch tart pan with a removable bottom sprinkle sugar over the top and press in. Place in the freezer to chill until set, about 20-30 minutes. Place in the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes until set and lightly brown. Remove from the oven, score the shortbread into 12 wedges with a sharp knife. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Makes a dozen

14 comments:

  1. You got a freeze already? Wow! Love the idea of a shortbread and a sandie.

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  2. I'm not a big fan of the cold either, but since moving to Austin...I miss seeing the world blanketed in snow/frost! These shortbread wedges would be perfect on a warm or cold day. I love how you used coconut oil, and I'm excited to give these a try. Thanks for sharing love!

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  3. This looks amazing. Shortbread has always been my favorite but I never thought of using coconut oil instead of butter. How does it affect the texture?

    As soon as my kids and husband devour the almond biscotti I made yesterday, this is on the menu.

    Thanks!

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  4. This shortbread looks so tasty and much more healthy than the standard recipe. I'll def have to try this one. Thanks for sharing :-)

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  5. I love shortbread! I have never seen a recipe with coconut oil before -- much more healthy than butter. Great idea. I love the description of your mom's -- what's not to love about snickerdoodles and pecan sandies??!!

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  6. I love maple and pecan together and I love shortbread. I think these look divine!

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  7. These sound great! I tried making a shortbread a few weeks ago, but it just didn't bake right. This makes me want to try again.

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  8. hmm..looks yummy as always! nice shoot too :)

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  9. I've always loved classic, made with butter shortbread, but then again, I do love all things coconut too. Coconut oil shortbread just became a distinct possibility, especially since I do favor vegan baking. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  10. I gave you the One Lovely Blog Award!
    http://www.sweetsaltyspicy.net/2010/11/one-lovely-blog-award.html

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  11. These spiced nutty shortbread wedges are really great for the cold days with a cup of hot drink!

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  12. I am so excited to try your recipes!! They look positively delicious :] Especially this one, the spice cake, and the exotic caramel corn! YUM. Love the blog lady!

    <3Marea @www.TheFoodieFixx.blogspot.com

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