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Butter Pecan Shortbread

Butter Pecan Shortbread is a wonderfully simple yet so, so delicious recipe. With a short list of ingredients and a quick prep time, these are sure to be among your favorite quick and easy treats!

overhead view of a stack of Butter Pecan Shortbread

Butter Pecan Shortbread

Shortbread is one of the simple joys of the baking world. Usually, there are just a handful of ingredients. The effort is minimal. And, the simple flavors are just right.

Of course, throw some pecans into something, and I’m definitely on board. With those few ingredients and very little time, you can have this Butter Pecan Shortbread in the oven. Your kitchen will be filled with the delightful aroma of buttery cookies and toasted pecans.

Having some great quick and easy recipes is such a must for bakers, and these Butter Pecan Shortbread are an excellent addition to that category. If you’re a fan of all things butter pecan, you’re going to love having these in your baking arsenal!

stack of Butter Pecan Shortbread on a white plate

What You’ll Need

Here’s the wonderfully short list of ingredients for these amazing shortbread!

  • Unsalted butter – Set out the butter about half an hour before baking to allow it to soften.
  • Brown sugar – You can use light or dark brown sugar, depending on your taste preferences.
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour – As always, measure by weight for best results. Otherwise, spooning and sweeping is the way to go.
  • Pecans – Remember to set some aside for the topping.
  • Coarse sugar – I love the look of coarse sugar (like sanding sugar) on these bars. It really helps dress up a simple baked good. If you don’t have coarse sugar or sanding sugar, you can certainly use regular granulated sugar. It might not have the same aesthetic appeal, but it will still add that extra sweetness.

How to Make Butter Pecan Shortbread

You’ll love how quickly and easily these bars come together!

Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, allowing the lining to hang off on two sides so that it will be easy to lift after baking.

Combine the wet ingredients. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is creamy. Mix in the vanilla.

Add the flour and pecans. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour and mix until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the pecans. The mixture will be crumbly but should hold together when pinched.

Transfer the dough to the pan. Spread the dough evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining pecans and the coarse sugar over the top of the dough.

Bake. Place the pan in the oven, and bake until the edges are lightly browned (about 25 minutes). After baking, place the pan on a wire rack and allow the bars to cool for 10 minutes. Then use the overhanging lining to lift the bars from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into squares.

Tips for Success

  • Make careful measurements. This is always important in baking, but especially so with shortbread.
  • Shortbread dough versus other cookie doughs. Shortbread dough doesn’t have the same consistency as something like chocolate chip cookie dough. When mixed, it will be crumbly but should hold together when pinched or pressed.
  • Don’t over-mix. While it will likely take several minutes to mix the dough, don’t overdo it. Too much mixing leads to tough, dense cookies.
  • Use a light-colored metal pan. Dark pans tend to over-bake the bottoms and edges.

How to Store Leftovers

Place the cooled bars in an airtight container and store at room temperature up to 5 days. For a few more days of storage, place the container in the refrigerator and bring the bars to room temperature before serving.

For longer storage, wrap the shortbread well with plastic wrap and place in an airtight, freezer-safe container or bag. Properly stored, they should keep in the freezer up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for an hour or so at room temperature.

Butter Pecan Shortbread

Yield 30 bars
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Butter Pecan Shortbread are deliciously sweet and nutty!

overhead view of a stack of Butter Pecan Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup (67g) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/4 cups (150g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (38g) chopped pecans, divided
  • 2-3 teaspoons coarse sugar (may substitute granulated sugar)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on 2 sides.
  2. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla and mix well.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour, beating until well-mixed. Stir in 1/4 cup pecans. The mixture will be crumbly.
  4. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with 1 tablespoon pecans and coarse sugar.
  5. Bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Using the foil, lift the shortbread out of pan. Cut into bars.

Notes

Recipe slightly adapted from Land O Lakes.

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More Shortbread Recipes

Visit the Recipe Index for more pecan recipes!

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    21 Comments on “Butter Pecan Shortbread”

  1. yes these do bring joy don’t they?

  2. When a cookie promises you that it will be buttery from the name alone, it’s golden. Love a good bite of shortbread.

  3. Oh wow, these look beautiful!

  4. Your shortbread looks gorgeous. I usually just make plain shortbread, although I have made a lemon & basil shortbread beofer. I love the sound of pecans in shortbread and it just shows you, it is adaptable.

  5. OMG!!!Gonna get the recipe right now!!!

    Kisses,
    Rita

  6. Oh man these look good! The whole pan shall be mine! *insert maniacal laugh*

  7. Mmm a butter bar is just what I need right now – maybe studded with chocolate chips as well… 😀
    Gorgeous recipe!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Fresh Fruit Tart

  8. Ok I want to bake EVERYTHING that you post. And I share your love of pecans! Thanks for all the happy eating, keep up the great work 🙂

  9. They look incredible. Love that they are so simple but they certainly look like they don’t skimp on taste.

  10. I’m planning to try these

  11. I’m drooling and gaining weight just going through and printing out so many of your recipes…I just wish they listed the CALORIES so I could pick and choose where to start on my GROWING collection! I think Bake or Break is WONDER-FULL! So there.

  12. Is the flour measurement pre or post sifting?  I was always taught to measure post sift but the mixture was not crumbly enough so I added a little.  

  13. I can hardly wait to make these for supper dessert tonight. You had me a butter, pecan, and shortbread all…that is a win!win!win! recipe. It will be worth the pound I gained just reading the recipe!!!Thanks so much for sharing your expertise!

  14. Very delicious and sooo quick and easy to make!  I need to get these in the freezer before I eat way more than I should!  Thanks for a great recipe. 

  15. How long will these keep at room temperature? I can’t wait to try them! 

  16. Can I bake these in a glass pan ???? 
    These are right to my alley lol 
    My hubby loves anything butter  Pecan  lol
    Don’t tell him I do too 😂😂 
    Also I’m going to try the butter pecan cake I know he will be very pleased 
    Every recipe I have used of yours we have absolutely loved and it turned out exactly as you said 
    I’m excited every time I see your emails lolol 
    It’s so fun trying these from you I still picture you as the lil cute always smiling girl running around and having fun on the church building lolol I sure miss those days!! 

    • Hi, Michelle! It’s good to hear from you! Glass pans can be tricky because they conduct heat differently than metal pans. If you need to use a glass pan, try decreasing the oven temperature by 25 degrees and watch that the edges don’t get over-baked. Hope you and your husband enjoy them!

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