Monday, December 26, 2016

Pecan Shortbread Crisps

     Gourmet Shortbread Crisps!
     Crisp shortbread cookies are a nice accompaniment for holiday banquet spreads.  Shortbread Crisps are usually lightly sweetened, so they can be paired with savory items.  Nut, herb or spice flavored shortbread crisps often accompany banquet style cheese platters.  Semi sweet shortbread crisps are nice on their own too.  
     Pecan Shortbread Crisps:
     This recipe yields 35 to 40 thin crisp cookies.  
     These Pecan Crisps are only slightly sweet and they are savory enough to pair with cheese.  
     This recipe is far easier to make with a steel gear driven cake mixer.  This recipe can be made by hand, but creaming butter is hard work.  A paddle attachment on an electric mixer is the proper attachment to use for creaming.
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of unsalted butter in an electric mixer bowl.
     Add 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
     Cream the butter mixture at a medium high speed, till the butter becomes a pale whitish yellow color.  (Do not over mix or the friction will heat the butter!)
     Turn the mixer off.
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of all purpose flour.
     Add 1/4 cup of fine ground pecans.
     *Use a food processor to grind the pecans to a fine ground consistency.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.  (to taste)
     Mix at a low speed, till the ingredients are combined.
     Turn off the mixer and set the pecan shortbread crisp dough aside.
     Step 3:  *After the shortbread dough is made, it should be formed as a cylinder shape before it is chilled.  A sheet of parchment paper works good for making an even round long cylinder shape.  This recipe will require about 3 parchment paper tubes that are about 1' long.     
     Place a 16" x 12" sheet of parchment paper on a counter top.
     Place a mound of dough that is 1 1/2" tall and 1 1/2" wide across the length of the parchment sheet.  
     *Leave about 2" of bare paper on each end, so the paper can be twisted tight to seal the tube shut and to press the dough into an even cylinder shape.  (Picture the paper wrapper as being a like the wrapper on a Tootsie Roll Candy!)
     Step 4:  Use your hands to roll the dough and paper together to create a long cylinder shape that is about 1 1/2" wide
     Twist the bare ends of the paper to seal and compress the dough into an even cylinder shape.
     Step 5:  Refrigerate the paper wrapped dough cylinder, till it becomes solid.
     Step 6:  Remove the parchment paper.
     Cut the chilled dough on a 45º angle into 3/16" thick slices.  (This will create a thin oval cookie shape.) 
     Place each slice of dough on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.  (Line the cookie dough slices in rows and be sure that there is about a 1" space between each cookie.)
     Step 7:  Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the pecan shortbread crisps turn a light tan color and they are crisp.  
     Step 8:  Set the pecan crisps pan on a cooling rack.
     Let the pecan crisps cool to room temperature.  
     Step 9:  Carefully use a thin cake spatula to free the pecan crisps from the parchment paper.
     Arrange the pecan shortbread crisps on a platter or in a cloth lined basket.

     Fresh made Pecan Shortbread Crisps add a nice touch to a party platter or banquet spread!                                         

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