These pecan shortbread cookies are everything you want in a cookie– they’re buttery, nutty, and have just a hint of sweetness from the vanilla beans. Shortbread cookies are super simple to make and you can eat the cookie dough! Let’s get baking!
Let’s Talk Ingredients
Butter: I always opt for salted butter. Make sure it’s room temperature!
Flour: I use unbleached all purpose flour.
Powdered Sugar: This can also be called Confectioners Sugar but it is not the same thing as Superfine Sugar. If you don’t have any powdered sugar, you can make it by grinding granulated sugar in a spice grinder for 30-45 seconds.
Pecans: I like using toasted, unsalted pecans.
Milk: I use 2% milk, but this recipe would work with any milk (including non-dairy milks).
Vanilla Bean Paste: I use Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste. It’s worth the splurge!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I make these with a different nut?
A: Of course! Any chopped nut would be delicious in this recipe. Two of my favorites (besides pecan) are walnuts and hazelnuts.
Q: What is vanilla bean paste?
A: Vanilla bean paste is a combination of concentrated vanilla extract and vanilla bean powder. It has a stronger vanilla flavor and the caviar from the vanilla bean. You can find vanilla bean paste at most speciality food/kitchen stores. If you don’t have it, you can substitute a vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Q: Why do you have to chill the dough/cookies?
A: Chilling the dough helps the butter harden enough that the cookies aren’t too soft to roll. Chilling the cut cookies helps the butter harden so the cookies don’t spread in the oven.
Vanilla Bean & Pecan Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pecans finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons milk
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Add the softened butter to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed
- Add the powdered sugar (1/2 cup) and mix to incorporate.
- Next, add the flour (2 cups) gradually.
- Next, add the pecans (1/2 cup) and milk (3 tablespoons).
- Mix just until the dough comes together and no lumps of flour remain.
- Divide in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the cookies until they are a 1/4” thick. Be gentle with the dough– it is very soft.
- I used a round 2" cookie cutter but you can cut these cookies into any shape you like. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the cookies in either the refirdgerator or freezer for 10 minutes (either one will work– you just want the butter to cool slighly so the cookies don't spread).
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bottom edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. Enjoy.