Elegant, nutty shortbread, crowned with pecan halves, is baked the traditional Scottish way, in a round pan, then cut into wedges. They’re perfect for a tea party — even if it’s just you, the cat, and a mug of Earl Grey.—Tina Salter
3/4 cup chopped pecans
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups flour
16 pecan halves
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the chopped pecans on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan. Bake, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Leave the oven set at 350°F (175°C).
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour, mixing well. Stir in the chopped pecans.
3. Press the dough evenly onto the bottom of a 9-inch-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. With a fork, prick the dough all over at 1/2-inch intervals. With a table knife, carefully score the surface of the dough about 1/4 inch deep into 16 wedges. Press a pecan half into each wedge. Bake until the shortbread is lightly browned, about 30 to 35 minutes.
4. Let the shortbread cool in the pan, about 15 minutes, then cut along the scoring lines into wedges. Carefully remove the wedges from the pan, transferring them to a wire rack; cool completely. Store in airtight at room temperature up to 5 days.
Recipe © 2001 Diamond of California. All rights reserved.