My adventures in raw and vegan dessert and the occasional savory recipe creation!
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
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