Monday, July 19, 2010

[Cookie 083] Maple-Pecan Shortbread

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Stroke of genius. How did I not think of this before. Oh man oh man.

Okay, let me back up. Backstory first. Well, there's no really backstory per se, but more of a source of inspiration. Barbecues; grills; charcoal. Fire! This is how we cook foods during the hottest days of the summer in order to avoid heating up our kitchen to hellish temperatures, right? Oven-roasting is out, as is loading up all 4 burners with huge pots of boiling water and simmering stews, and obviously baking seems completely out of the question. Thus the spareness of posts on this blog (or at least, that's the excuse du jour). So how to get around this issue without confining all baking to the wee hours of the night, if we are to do it at all?

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Here's my great, albeit hair-brained, idea: BBQ'd cookies!!!!!!!!

Okay, okay, I can feel your collective eye-rolling coming at me from all over cyberspace--it sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. You make sure to make a cookie dough that doesn't spread hardly at all, so as to avoid it dripping in between the grill bars. And the dough will have nuts it in, because fire roasted nuts are next to godliness. And then, once grilled, you serve these cookies with grilled fruits (grilled peaches anyone??). Dollop with ice cream. Dessert. Done.

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Alright, so maybe that won't work. But here's a more rational idea: what about putting your cookie sheet (or other metal heat-enduring surface) on top of your grill and then closing the lid, essentially using your BBQ like an outdoor oven. Does that work? Has anyone tried that?

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Anyway, these cookies here, these Maple-Pecan Shortbread don't exactly seem like a super summery cookie (more of an autumnal one, in my opinion, what with the maple and the pecans and the everything), but I made them for both a summer picnic, as well as a 4th of July BBQ at my brother and sister-in-law's house, and they were a hit at both events. These cookies are really good. Surprisingly so. In fact, they might have been even more of a hit at the 4th of July BBQ since by then they were a day old, and these guys improve with age FOR SURE.

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So you got ya dough, which has ground up pecans in it as well as a hefty amount of maple syrup, and after the baked cookies have sat around for a day, the maple flavor really deepens. Actually, the recipe also calls for Maple Extract, which I couldn't find anywhere so I omitted it--and no problem! The cookies were still extremely mapley, but I bet they would be really incredible if you have maple extract on hand as well.

Lastly, because you roll out the dough and cut it with a cookie cutter, and then decorate each cookie with a pecan half and some turbinado sugar, you WITHOUT A DOUBT produce a beautiful set of cookies. You can't really screw up the look of these, unless you don't know how to use a cookie cutter (and if that's your situation, you probably shouldn't be reading my blog, juss sayin'). So, they are perfect to bring to a party if you want to impress people but not do anything too elaborate. Simplicity is highly underrated in baking!

And very very lastly, if you are just crazy enough to try either of my BBQ cookie ideas--LET ME KNOW SO WE CAN BE FRIENDS FOREVER!! If you send pictures, I will love you even more/think you are even crazier/admire you a lot. And even if you bake these in the normal way, I will admire you for enduring the oppressive heat of your kitchen in the name of tastiness!

P.S. AWSHIT this is genius!!

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P.P.S. Sorry for the lack of photos! I was too busy eating cookie dough/pecans to grab my camera during the baking process -_-

Maple-Pecan Shortbread
Makes about 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/2 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves (about 2 1/4 ounces), finely chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure maple extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

  • Directions

  • Into a medium bowl, sift flours and salt. Whisk in 1/2 cup chopped pecans, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and light, about one minute. Add the maple syrup, egg yolk, and extract; beat on medium speed until well combined. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined. Dough should be smooth and pliable. Flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic; chill until firm, 1 1/2 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out rounds using a two-inch cookie cutter; place one inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with beaten egg; sprinkle centers with remaining 1/4 cup pecans. Sprinkle the entire surface with turbinado sugar.
  • Bake cookies, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to four days.


  • ****
    {End Results}
    Baking Difficultly: 2/5
    Ingredient Accessibility: 2/5 (Maple extract, where y'at?!)
    Tastiness: 4.5/5
    Attractiveness: 4/5
    Is it worth it?: Hell yeah! Worth firing up the ol' oven in July...maybe...

    {Pairings}
    Drink: I'd wash these guys down with some iced tea, perhaps with a sprig or two of sage thrown in? (That's how my ma makes hers, and it's da bomb diggity!)

    7 comments:

    Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

    These look awesome and how creative to use the BBQ. I'm not usually a big shortbread fan, but introduce nuts and for some reason I'm a complete 180.

    Monica H said...

    These are bee-you-tee-ful cookies. I want to make these right now and stare at them all day.

    I've seen maple extract at Wal-mart sold by Adam's extract, but it's artificial and called Mapel not maple. ha ha!

    Chef Dennis said...

    those cookies could not be more perfect! I love pecans...
    I have a pizza stone, and I have seen grill stones sold, I would think you should be able to bake just about anything in the grill, just using more of an indirect heat....and trying to get the temperature constant.
    sure sounds like its worth a try!

    Patricia Scarpin said...

    Another recipe of yours going to my "to bake" list - and it goes on and on, sweetie! These are so adorable and I have a bag of pecans begging to be used.
    Beautiful!

    Adriana said...

    superyuuuuum! i love your green picnic basket and i luuuuuv these! my mum would love them... it's gonna be an adventure baking them when i'm on vacation, august, the heat of spain... meh, i'll make them anyway

    Jessica said...

    Your self control is amazing. I doubt I would have had enough cookie dough left to make any cookies! lol

    I LOVE shortbread and with pecans...too much! YUMMY!

    jessyburke88@gmail.com

    Main Street said...

    Ok I just found your blog after googling "peach cookies" and one of your posts came up. I LOVE the Martha Stewart book and I think your idea is fantastic...Beautiful photographs, too. I will definitely keep an eye on this now, you've made me want to open that book back up and get to work. The pumpkin cookies with the browned butter icing are the BEST and are always a hit when I make them for gatherings....Looking forward to making some peach cookies now!

    --Jessica
    mainstreetsisters.blogspot.com