Sometimes a flavor combination has me searching the internet for a recipe. And sometimes that search leads me to something wonderful. Other times, I find lots of recipes, but they just aren’t what I’m really in the mood for.
That was the case with this cookie. I wanted something that had caramel and pecans, and I wanted it made into a shortbread cookie. I couldn’t find anything to my liking. Layers of shortbread and caramel, or caramel drizzled over cookies, or sandwiched between 2 cookies. All fine. Not what I was looking for. So- I stopped looking. And made my own recipe. I had made cookies before, where I used sweetened condensed milk in place of sugar. I thought- why not make a caramel sauce and do the same thing? It worked, and gives the cookie a nice subtle caramel flavor. Don’t feel like making the caramel sauce? (I don’t know why you would say this- it’s so easy to make!) Use a jar of caramel ice cream topping. The shortbread has just the right texture for me- it doesn’t crumble when you bite it, and the toasted pecans add richness.
Caramel Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Makes 3 dozen
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup caramel sauce, cooled (recipe below)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium size mixing bowl, cream together the butter and caramel sauce. *Note: I used a spoon to do this, and there were some small pieces of butter that didn’t get incorporated into the caramel- that is ok. Add in the salt and flour- mix well. Stir in the pecans.
Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Flatten the cookie slightly. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets onto cooling racks and cool completely. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Over medium heat, dissolve sugar- stirring gently. Once sugar is dissolved, increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil. You are looking for this mixture to turn amber-colored. Note: You normally see the color happen in the center of the pan. Once you notice this, start to slowly swirl your pan over the heat. This will allow for a gentle mixing of the sugar- without you using a utensil (which would introduce cold sugar crystals back into the mixture).
Once the mixture has tuned amber, remove from heat and slowly add in the heavy cream. This will bubble, so use caution (it also causes the sugar to seize- this is ok). Once all the cream has been added, return to the heat and stir till sugar has melted into the cream and sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool (sauce will thicken as it cools).
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread your chopped pecans onto a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Place in the oven and stir every 2 minutes until toasted (this should only take 5-6 minutes). Note: You can also do this on the stove top in a medium-sized saute pan- over medium heat.
Do you like caramel and pecans? What would you do with homemade caramel sauce?
R.I.P. Chris C. (1951-2012).
Made with love, not calories!