Pecan Shortbread Cookies

The following post is from Amy of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free:

Pecan Shortbread Cookies at
source: Amy

Christmas just isn’t Christmas without cookies. My love of holiday cookies comes honest, straight from my mom and grandma. Every Christmas, my mom made batches upon batches of Christmas cookies – all beautifully decorated too. My grandma always had a plate of Christmas cookies to share when we gathered on the big day. She would tell you who she exchanged with and which ones were the best. She’d tasted them all, of course.

The best thing about Christmas cookies is that they’re those special treats that you only get once a year. You know, pecan sandies, angel shaped sugar-cookies, and if you’re from Ohio you get buckeyes. They make the plate of cookies complete.

I spent a lot of time reinventing my favorite holiday cookies before my kids were born. I wish I could say that I have lots of time to bake but my two boys occupy most of my time, and with both of them being under two, cookies aren’t high on their priority list.

Regardless, I love having cookies on hand for friends that stop by, to give to Nate’s teachers, and for Santa. I always leave the best cookies for him.

These Pecan Shortbread Cookies are everything a Christmas cookie should be – decadent, beautiful, and memorable.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

makes about 30 (2 1/2″ cookies)


  • 1 cup toasted pecans, divided
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons Amy’s Basic Flour Blend
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups unsweetened carob chips
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening
  • sea salt for sprinkling


Process 1/2 cup of toasted nuts in a food processor using the pulse button until finely chopped and set aside.

Cream the butter and the agave in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. (Please note that this is a different type of light and fluffy than when using white sugar – it’s a little darker in color and looks a little heavier.) Add salt, vanilla extract, and flour blend, and mix on the lowest setting just until blended. Add the processed nuts and mix again just until incorporated. Cover the dough and refrigerate it for 20 – 3o minutes to make it easier to handle.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Process the remaining 1/2 cup of toasted pecans using the pulse button until finely chopped. Put the chopped pecans on a plate. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop to portion the dough evently, spacing about 1 inch apart. Once the first sheet is full of cookies, roll each dough ball in the nut mixture to coat, roll into a ball and place back onto the tray. Use a flat bottomed glass to press the cookies 1/4 inch thick. Put the first tray in the oven. Repeat process with remaining dough.

Bake one tray at a time for 15 – 18 minutes until the edges start to turn lightly golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack lined with a paper towel to cool completely.

Once cool, bring one inch of water to boil in a 4 quart saucepan. Put the shortening in the bottom of a glass or stainless steel bowl that will fit snugly on top of the pan. Add 1 1/2 cups carob on top of the shortening. Once the water reaches a boil, turn the heat off and put the bowl on top of the saucepan. Let it sit for several minutes, stirring occasionally to help the carob melt.

Once melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan and dip the cookies halfway into the carob. Shake gently to remove any excess carob. Set coated cookies on waxed paper, sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and allow it sit until carob is fully set.

What cookie is necessary to make your Christmas complete?

A stay-at-home mom, wife, and passionate cook, Amy strives to make each meal healthy and delicious. When she’s not doing laundry, dishes, or caring for her son, she plays around with food in the kitchen developing new recipes, which she shares at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. Amy also publishes The Balanced Platter and authored the book Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free: 180 Easy & Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less.