I’ve mentioned that I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting lately. I haven’t even purchased white sugar and flour since we’ve been back in the U.S. I’m on the search for alternative sugars and flours to use in my baking to mix things up a bit and improve nutritional value. Right now I’m using demerara sugar (unrefined cane sugar) and whole soft white wheat pastry flour.
I’m co-hosting a cookie exchange this weekend so that is giving me plenty of opportunity to play around in the kitchen using my new ingredients. Last night as I was flipping through recipes I came across one my mom gave me a few years back. It is for a homemade version of the pecan shortbread cookies made by that popular cookie company with elves. You know, those packaged cookies that remain in the aisle I no longer go down at the supermarket.
Those cookies are darn good though and I have made the original recipe before, but of course this time I wanted to try out my new choices of sugar and flour. I tried making a cake last week and it didn’t turn out so well hence it wasn’t blog material. I was anxious to see how it would do in the cookies.
They turned out great! So close to the original version that I would not even be tempted to switch back. The cookie is soft and tender just the way I like my shortbread and I upped the pecans a bit so that you get at least one piece in each bite.
I’m sure this week I’ll end up buy the white flour and sugar for the party because there are a few things I want to make without experimenting, but these cookies are a great start for treats with fewer processed ingredients.
My Pecan Shortbread
½ cup unsalted butter, softened ¼ cup demerara sugar 1 tsp vanilla 1 cup whole soft white wheat pastry flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill) ¾ cup pecans, chopped
Cream the butter and sugar. I give this a little extra time because the sugar has a much larger grain than refined white sugar. I want to make sure it is incorporated as much as possible. Add in the vanilla. Mix in the flour and blend well. Finally mix in the chopped pecans.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. The dough will be slightly dry and crumbly. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap or place in a container and chill for 30 minutes. Grease your cookie sheet lightly with butter and remove the dough from the fridge. Roll pieces of the dough into 1-inch balls and flatten slightly. Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Mine came out in 12 because I don’t like them too done. Makes about one dozen with a couple to spare. *If you want to try the original use white sugar and cake flour.
I’m submitting these cookies to Food Blogga’s Eat Christmas Cookies Season 3. Check out the blog to submit your own. Then head over to the ongoing round-up post for all the the cookie recipes you could possibly need this holiday season.
Lori Rice is a freelance writer, recipe developer, food photographer and nutritionist. Fake Food Free is a creative outlet that allows her to connect with people from around the world who share a love of travel, food culture and cooking.