Chocolate Dipped Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Pecan Shortbread CookiesYou know what I was just thinking?

It feels like it’s been forever since I made cookies. Like, I can’t even remember the last cookie I made. Eek.

Oh God, when was the last time I ate a cookie?

I. Can’t. Even. Remember.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Is it sad that I’m sort of maybe totally kind of panicking? Cause I am. You gotta understand, it’s a pretty sad day when you realize you haven’t made or eaten a cookie in what seems like a million years.

A. Million. Years.

So, as we can see, when I panic I apparently like to over exaggerate. It hasn’t been a million years, but it has been about seven months since I shared a cookie recipe. You have to admit, that’s kind of a long time. I don’t even know how that happened. Definitely not intentional either. I wouldn’t deprive you like that on purpose. That would just be cruel.

Funny enough, the last recipe I posted was also a chocolate dipped cookie. I really don’t know how that slipped my mind considering it was the beginning of my obsession with dipping the bottoms of cookies. I find it unfair for the top of the cookie to have all the fun. Fair point, huh? The dipped bottom, to me, is like putting a big fat shiny bow on top of a present; it just makes it that much better.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

These cookies almost didn’t make it up on the blog. Why you ask? Oh, let me just tell you. For those that don’t know or don’t remember, my brother has two huskies, (Ms.) Meeka and (Mr.) Archer (look here for their picture). They are the cutest things on the planet. And, that is in no way an exaggeration. Scouts honor on that one. As a rule we don’t feed them human food, mainly because they have super sensitive stomachs and can’t seem to handle it. That doesn’t mean, however, that they don’t try to eat human food whenever they get a chance. Adorable troublemakers. That’s what they are.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

I’m sure you noticed these cookies require some work–I swear the end product is so totally worth it though. The dining room table became my work station, or at least half of the table did. It’s a pretty big table. Decent height. Lined with chairs on each side. I had rows of finished cookies just sitting on wax paper as I finished up with the caramel outlining. There was about five cookies left when it happened.

Meeka, my lovely little niece, came running in and quite literally face dived into a row of completed cookies. I repeat face dived. She tasted licked about two rows worth of cookies before I could pull her away. TWO. ROWS. WORTH. That’s a lot of deliciousness (and hard work, I might add) that went straight into the trash. Oh, and the kicker, in the panic I forgot to finishing filling in the trees with caramel on the cookie I had been working on when the face dive occurred. Ask me when I realized this? When I was opening the container filled with cookies to give to one of my coworkers. I was completely embarrassed. Like, blushing hardcore red. I gave someone an unfinished cookie. Poor under-decorated cookie. Poor person eating the cookie. Sad. Sad. Sad. Luckily, my coworker didn’t seem too mind at all. Thank the Baker God’s on that one.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Anyways, I should probably tell you a little about these cookies. It’s a buttery, melt in your mouth, shortbread cookie packed with chopped up pecan pieces dipped in milk chocolate and then outlined with some caramel. Oh, and it’s stamped with a Merry Christmas cookie stamp to make it festively beautiful. This is probably the first cookie I’ve made that I received equal amounts of compliments on taste and looks. Seriously, people love these cookies. I ate more than half of love these cookies. And, clearly, dogs love them too.

You know what that all adds up to, right?

Winning.

And, the fact, that I absolutely insist that you go make them. If you don’t, I may or may not have to force feed you to eat them. You don’t want that. You just don’t.

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Yields: about 30 large cookies

Utensils:
Merry Christmas Cookie Stamp
Large circle cookie cutter

Ingredients:
2 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups finely chopped pecans
3 cups milk chocolate candy melts
1/2 cup of caramel

Directions:
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy.
Beat in powdered sugar until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add salt and cornstarch. Mix until incorporated. Gradually beat in the flour until combined.
Using a spatula, fold in the chopped pecans.
Gather the dough as best you can into a ball and place on a piece of parchment paper. Cover the top of the dough with another piece of parchment paper and roll to ½ inch thick. Slide the parchment-covered dough onto a cutting board and place in the fridge. Let chill for about 50-60 minutes.
After the dough is finished chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a large circular cookie cutter (or, cup that is slightly larger than the stamp), cut your cookies into circles. Firmly press the cookie stamp into each cookie-if the dough becomes too sticky or tough to work with place back in the fridge until it’s easier to handle.
Bake for 6 minutes, reverse tray (this will ensure an even color on the cookies!), and bake for another 5 more minutes or until lightly brown.
Let cookies cool for about a minute on the cookie sheet, and then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Once cookies have completely cooled, melt the milk chocolate candy melts in a microwave safe bowl, in 15 second intervals, until of drizzling consistency. Dip the bottoms of each cookie in the melted chocolate. Place cookie upside down on parchment paper until the chocolate has hardened.
Once chocolate has hardened, flip the cookie around. Using a piping bag with a very small tip or simply dipping a toothpick in the caramel (I used the toothpick method, it takes more time, but it ensures that the ‘Merry Christmas’ stays legible), fill in the stamped part of each cookie with caramel.

 

Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Mini Pecan Pie Cupcakes

Mini Pecan Pie CupcakesIf I could live anywhere in the world, I would live in—well actually, there are a few places I would want to live, but right now, there is one place at the top of my list—the South.

Whether it’s Georgia, the Carolina’s, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, or any of the other states, I don’t care. I just want to be able to live, breath, and proudly announce that I’m from the South. Don’t get me wrong. I love my home. How could I not? Most of the time we have beautiful weather, beaches are about 15 minutes away, and in terms of leisure activities there is quite a lot to do. But, California does lack in a few areas that the South makes up for.

Which areas you ask? Well, let me tell you.

Country Music Love. Anyone who loves country music is part of the minority here, and since I’m going through a hard-core country phase this is slightly disappointing.

Cowboy Boot Love. I own a pair of red, very cute, if I do say so myself, cowboy boots. How often do I wear them? Not as much as I would like. Why? Because they attract stares, as in, ‘why are you wearing those ridiculous boots, you weirdo ‘ stares. When you’re around country lovers, however, you get compliments on your boots because everyone, girls and boys alike, are rocking their cowboy boots proudly.

Southern Gentleman. You had to know this would make the list. Come on. Boys that speak in an adorable drawl, hold the door open, and wear those nice fitting jeans with a t-shirt and cowboy boots . What’s not to love? Have you seen an episode of Hart of Dixie (which, by the way I just started watching and am completely hooked on) or a picture of Luke Bryan or Blake Shelton?

And, let’s not forget the Food. Specifically dessert. Peach Cobbler anyone? Sweet Potato Pie? Or, how about a heavenly slice of Pecan Pie? I’m guessing you can see where my inspiration for this recipe came from. These cupcakes are probably the closest I’m getting to the South for a while. But, I’m not too upset, because they are pretty darn delicious.

Mini Pecan Pie Cupcakes

These Mini Pecan Pie cupcakes are essentially a bite size version of pecan pie. The cake itself is a shortcake that is extremely moist with a subtle buttery flavor—I think if pie crust could be an actual cake, then it would definitely taste like this shortcake. The mini cupcake is filled to the top with pecan pie filling that is sweet, gooey, and packed with crunchy pecans. Together the pie filling and the shortcake make a perfect pair that will have all your pecan pie cravings filled in no time!

Mini Pecan Pie Cupcakes
Yields: about 27 mini cupcakes

Ingredients:
Cupcakes
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
½ cup milk, at room temperature

Pecan Pie Filling
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup butter, melted
¾ cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease each well of a mini cupcake pan and set aside.
Whip together sugar, eggs, and vanilla until mixture is fluffy, pale, and slightly thickened (about 3 minutes).
Add vegetable oil and melted butter. Mix until well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder.
Alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool completely.

Pecan Pie Filling
While the cake is baking, make your pecan pie filling.
Mix sugars and cornstarch until combined. Pour into a small saucepan.
Stir in melted butter, corn syrup, salt, and eggs.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil.
Remove from heat (if you see small pieces of cooked egg, it means the eggs weren’t beaten enough—pour the mixture through a strainer into another bowl before adding the vanilla and pecans).
Stir in vanilla and pecans.
Let sit for about 10 minutes and then refrigerate for about an hour or until the filling has set.

Assembling Cupcakes
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, take a knife and cut out a small to medium circle in the middle of the cupcake. Remove the cut out circle from the cupcake.
Using a ¼ teaspoon, dig out the middle part of the cupcake—make sure not to break the bottom of the cupcake.
Once all the cupcakes have been hollowed out and the pecan pie filling has set, use a ¼ teaspoon to scoop the filling into the cupcake.
Scoop enough filling so that the top of the cupcake is brimming with pecans and some of the gooey goodness is drizzling down the side.

 
Mini Pecan Pie Cupcakes