Cookie Recipe: Pecan Caramel Shortbread

To some, Pecan Caramel Shortbread might qualify not only as a luscious variation of classic shortbread recipe, but also as a tart. The crust largely follows the time-honored ratio in shortbread’s traditional three key ingredients: one part sugar, two parts butter, and three parts white flour. But this version’s filling is so thick and rich that it can be eaten with a fork as a dessert. You decide.

Pecan Caramel Shortbread

Prep time: 20-30 minutes

Bake time: 30-40 minutes, divided

Makes about 18-24 triangular wedges

Ingredients

Shortbread

6 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 egg

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

 

Caramel Pecan Filling

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 cup pecan halves

2 tablespoons heavy cream

½ cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

  2. Combine dry ingredients for the shortbread in a medium bowl: all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the 6 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing at a low speed until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the mixture in three batches, mixing each time until just blended, until finally the dough comes together evenly.

  4. Scrape the dough into a 9-inch spring form pan or tart pan with a removable bottom. Use your fingertips to press the dough evenly on the bottom of the pan and up its sides about ¼ inch. Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes while you mix together the filling.

  5. In a small saucepan, combine the stick of butter, honey, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Cook the mixture over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Continue to boil the syrup for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the pecan halves and the cream. Combine the mixture thoroughly. Pour the pecan mixture into the shortbread crust. Sprinkle the shortbread with ½ cup miniature chocolate chips.

  6. Bake the shortbread for 20-30 minutes until the edges are firm and the center moves only slightly. Remove the shortbread from the oven. Allow it to cool completely.

  7. Remove the sides of the spring form pan or the tart pant. With a large kitchen knife, cut the shortbread into wedges.
     
  8. Store shortbread in an airtight container with waxed paper in between layers.

A Special Baking Tip from The Elf

The top layer of the Pecan Caramel Shortbread may appear loose when baking time is finished, but it will become firm as the shortbread cools.

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