These scrumptious Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies are the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth this fall or holiday season!
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It's cookie season (AKA the BEST time of the year), and do I have some delicious recipes for you this week!
Every holiday season, I love making all my favorite cookie recipes, and I always test out a few new ones, too. These Maple Pecan Cookies are actually one I've made many times before, because they're the cookie crumble in my Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt recipe.
Each bite of these Pecan Shortbread Cookies is such a delight, that I finally decided to give this recipe the stand alone treatment. These tasty bites are definitely going into my annual cookie rotation from now on ... and I think you should add them to yours, too! You're going to love the buttery maple pecan flavor, and the simple maple glaze is irresistible!
Ready to bake a batch of these Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies for yourself? Just keep reading for all the mouthwatering details!
Like most shortbread cookies, this recipe uses pretty basic ingredients. Here's what you'll need:
- Unsalted Butter
- All-Purpose Flour
- Brown Sugar (I used dark brown sugar, but light will work, too.)
- Kosher Salt
- Maple Syrup
- Optional Glaze: Maple Syrup + Powdered Sugar
As with most simple recipes, don't skimp on good quality ingredients. For example, make sure to use pure maple syrup, not pancake sauce. And I really recommend using kosher salt, not table salt. It will really improve the flavor of everything you cook (not just cookies).
Don't have any pecans? Walnuts would work great, too.
You'll Also Need
To make this recipe, you'll also need a couple baking sheets, as well as a stand mixer to prepare the dough, and a baking rack to cool the cookies once baked. When adding the glaze, line a tray with parchment paper (makes cleanup a snap), and grab a a decorating bulb, a pastry bag, or a zip top bag. I can't recommend those ingenious decorating bulbs enough ... they're so much easier to handle than pastry bags for any sort of cookie / pastry decoration!
How to Make Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Okay, let's get started! This recipe is simple to make, and the dough requires no chilling. Who doesn't love that?
Toasting the Nuts
You will start by toasting the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat. Nuts burn easily, so make sure to watch them closely and to stir them often.
Once the nuts are toasted, transfer them to a cutting board and let them cool slightly. Then, chop them into small pieces.
Preparing the Dough
While the nuts are cooling, prepare the dough. Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and browned sugar. Then, mix in the maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt.
Add the flour to the butter mixture in two batches. Once the flour is incorporated, add the chopped nuts. You want to avoid overworking the dough (which will make the cookies tough), so blend just until everything is mixed.
Tip: To measure flour, lightly spoon it into a dry measuring cup, then use a knife (or something else with a straight edge) to level off the top. Do not scoop the measuring cup into the flour ... you'll end up packing the flour, and the cookies will turn out dry.
Shaping and Baking the Cookies
To shape the cookies, take a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Place the ball on a baking sheet (that's been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray), then flatten it into a circle about ½-inch thick.
Repeat this process with the remaining dough. You should get about 27 cookies or so.
Bake the cookies just until they're lightly browned on the bottom ... the tops and sides of the cookies should not be browned (see picture below). Check one of the cookies using a thin spatula or lift it gently with a fork. It should take about 10 to 12 minutes.
Let the cookies cool on the baking pan for about five minutes. Then, transfer them to a baking rack to cool completely before adding the glaze.
Glazing the Cookies
The maple glaze is optional, but delicious! It's also extremely easy to make and give the cookies a fancy finishing touch. I did half my cookies with the glaze and half without (there's more than enough glaze for all the cookies though).
To make the glaze, simply mix together the maple syrup and powdered sugar until smooth.
The glaze is fairly thick, but you should be able to drizzle it. If you think it's too thick, just add a few extra drops of maple syrup (stirring well after each) until you get the desired consistency. Conversely, you can always add more powdered sugar if you think it's too thin.
To frost the cookies, line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or foil), then place the baking rack (with the cooled cookies on it) over the pan.
Transfer the glaze to a decorating bulb, pastry bag, or zip top bag (snip the corner off just before drizzling). Then, drizzle the glaze over the cookies.
For best results, work quickly. That way, you won't get shaky lines. And drizzle the glaze right over the edges of the cookies ... you'll get nicer lines, and the parchment paper will catch the excess.
Don't these finished Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies look delicious? And trust me, they taste even better!
Storing the Cookies
Once you've added the glaze, let it harden for a few minutes. Then, you can store cookies in an airtight container. I have one of these pie containers, and it works perfectly for cookies, cupcakes, pies, etc.
I like to store these cookies in my refrigerator, which keeps the glaze from melting. After the glaze has chilled, you can even stack these Maple Shortbread Cookies to create more room in your storage container ... for more cookies, obviously!
Looking for more Christmas cookie ideas? Try one of these recipes next:
- Curry Shortbread Cookies
- Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies
- Honey Cookies
- Black Bottom Cupcakes (Mini Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes!)
- Poppyseed Kiss Cookies
- Chewy Ginger Cookies
- White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- Pecan Finger Cookies ... my all-time favorites!
- Stamped Cookies
- Classic Gingerbread Cookies
- Sour Cream Cut Out Cookies
- Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies
Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
For Glaze (Optional):
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray two baking sheets with nonstick spray.
- Place pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat. Watching closely, cook until lightly toasted, stirring frequently.
- Transfer pecans to a cutting board and let cool, then chop into small pieces.
- Meanwhile, cream together butter and brown sugar using a stand mixer. Mix in maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt.
- Add flour to butter mixture in two batches. Then, add chopped nuts, mixing just until combined.
- Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball. Place on baking sheet, then flatten (using your fingers) to about ½-inch thick. Repeat with remaining dough, placing cookies about 1-inch apart on pan.
- Bake cookies just until lightly browned on bottom, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies rest baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.
- Once cookies have cooled, mix together maple syrup and powdered sugar until smooth.
- Transfer glaze to a decorating bulb, pastry bag, or a zip top bag (snip the corner off when ready to decorate).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place baking rack (with cookies on it) on top. Drizzle glaze over cookies.
- Let glaze set, then transfer cookies to an airtight container to store. Enjoy!