Family reunions and feasts are part of many rituals, as is ditching both for a sandy beach and a margarita. How you end the feast is as individual as the gorgeous light shows up and down our city streets.
We’ll be having chocolate mocha yule logs at our Christmas dinner mostly because it’s the only time of year I’m crazy enough to make them.
If you prefer something simpler, these buttery gems are just the thing to enjoy with your cognac. They’re as simple to make as any cookie recipe in your collection. The trick is to chill the dough, then slice up the little sticks of dough quickly and bake. Don’t forget to toast the nuts ahead of time. Leave some for snacking later. You can eliminate the chocolate dip. You can also ditch dessert altogether and go straight for the hard stuff. Santa understands.
Toasted Pecan Shortbread
What you need:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ⅔ cup golden brown sugar, packed
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
- sea salt flakes
- 4 oz bittersweet good quality chocolate, melted
What you do:
- Beat butter and brown sugar together in mixer thoroughly. Add vanilla and mix again.
- Sift flour and salt together in separate bowl. Add to mixer with speed on low and then increase speed to medium to blend.
- Stir in toasted chopped nuts.
- Turn the dough out onto wax paper and form it into a rectangle about one inch thick, 6 inches by 8 inches. Wrap the block up tightly with plastic wrap and chill for two hours. You can also make it a day ahead and just leave in fridge until you’re ready to bake.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Move oven racks to top and bottom third position in oven. Line two baking sheets with Silpat or parchment.
- Cut the chilled dough lengthwise into two equal pieces, then cut crosswise into slices about a quarter inch thick. Place on cookie sheets 1 inch apart. Press a few flakes of sea salt on each cookie.
- Bake for 15 minutes, rotating pans midway through baking. Let cool on racks.
- Melt chocolate in double boiler set over simmering water. Dip each shortbread into chocolate, or if you prefer, drizzle it over. Let it dry before adding to your holiday cookie plates.
For all my readers: I wish you plenty of music and merrymaking, be it a with a modest repast or a magnificent spread.
Don’t forget the pets.