Orange Pecan Shortbread Cookies Drizzled with Dark Chocolate
Ahh…the holidays are truly upon us! It’s getting frigidly cold outside here in New York and beginning to feel like winter. Soon the snow will follow and officially Christmas will be here! Meanwhile, the holiday parties are starting to ensure we pack on the pounds to keep us warm this season (or so it feels), and one of those parties for me recently was a cookie exchange.
Now let’s all admit it, we act like it’s all in great fun but the reality—we all want to bring that kick-ass cookie that everyone raves about as we act so modestly surprised and respond, “Oh, this? It was nothing!” So I spent a lot of time trying to find that perfect recipe. In particular I was trying to find a cookie that I could use my Priester pecans from Alabama. I also wanted to pay a tribute to the magazine formally known as Gourmet, so I used their website to search for the perfect cookie.
I decided on a pecan shortbread cookie recipe but wanted to add some extra elegance to it. So I changed the recipe by adding the zest from a tangerine to the batter. Then to add a special finish I also generously drizzled some gourmet, dark chocolate on top, which is a really nice balance to the tangerine zest. The final product was just what I was looking for.
So here is the recipe from the January 2008 issue of Gourmet, along with my changes. Note that it makes about 3 dozen cookies:
- 2/3 cups pecan halves (2.5 ounces)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons tangerine zest (about 1 tangerine)
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 5.5 oz. good dark chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Toast pecans in oven, then cool. Leave oven on.
- Finely chop pecans and set aside.
- Blend together butter, sugars, vanilla, salt and zest in a bowl with a fork until combined well. Stir in flour and chopped pecans until a soft dough forms (dough will be sticky).
- Form 1-inch balls of dough and arrange 2 inches apart on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Flatten balls to 1/3 inch thick using bottom of a glass (flour it if necessary).
- Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are golden, about 13-15 minutes. (The original recipe suggests 20 minutes, but I found that my cookies were slightly burned at that length. Be sure to keep a close eye on them.) Cool cookies on sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.
- Once the cookies have cooled, melt the chocolate in a double broiler. (You can also melt it in the microwave. Just break it up into small pieces, and microwave on 20 second increments mixing in between. Do not overcook it!)
- With a spoon, generously drizzle the melted chocolate over the tops of the cookies and let cool until chocolate hardens.