March 24, 2010

Dark Chocolate Pecan Shortbread

Keebler's Pecan Sandies were always a staple growing up in my household. Their presence was brought on by my father's incredible love for them. Surprisingly, they were the only few "sweets" that he would often buy. My mother on the other hand was more smitten with Keebler's chocolate chip deluxe varieties. Although I did eat pecan sandies (often times because they were the only things around), they didn't leave the same intimate satisfaction that chocolate chip cookies often did. No, my love for pecan sandies didn't bloom until later, when I could truly appreciate them.

Pecan sandies are shortbread type cookies not too sweet, but rich and buttery. Their crisp and crunchy texture, makes them exceptional paired with coffee, tea, ice cream, or an ice cold glass of milk. The texture alone is one that seems to just melt in your mouth. I wanted this cookie reminiscent of Keebler's famous "sandy" cookie, but far superior in taste and flavor. Dark chocolate pecan came to mind, because it's my favorite of their sandy variety.

I always like making cookie dough a day or two ahead chilling it in the refrigerator or freezer. This way, the dough has time to relax, the flavor is intensified, and the dough spreads evenly. I chopped the toasted pecans finely to create a more "nut meal" type texture acting as a flavor enhancer and providing a little more "flour" like structure. Since I didn't have mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, I took the regular sized one and gave them a ruff chop.

3/4 c toasted pecans chopped finely
1 1/2 c pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp butter shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 tsp water
1/3 c semi chocolate chips chopped fine

In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour, soda, salt and mix well, then set aside. In another medium sized bowl cream butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then add egg, vanilla, and water. Blend for about 5 mins to further lighten the batter. Setting the mixer on low, combine flour slowly and blend until combine. Then add toasted pecans and semi-sweet chocolate and blend until combined. Transfer the mixture unto the counter top laced with plastic wrap. Wrap up the dough and shape into a log 2 inches across. Chill the dough for at least 4 hours, but a day or two for maximum flavor. Preheat an oven 350 degrees and remove the chilled dough from the frig. Next cut each cookie about a 1/2 inch thick and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly brown. Place cook sheet on a cooling rack and cool for 5 mins. Remove the cookies from the sheet and place them back on the rack allowing them to cool completely. Enjoy!