- 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter,* room temperature
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (6 ounces) natural cane sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups (9 ounces) pecan meal
- 1 cup (5.7 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar for coating
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about four to five minutes. Scrape the sides and paddle well. Add vanilla and beat for another minute. In a separate bowl, combine pecan meal, flour and salt. Add this to the butter mixture in two additions, mixing only until combined. Gather dough into a ball (it will be quite tacky) and turn onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into two logs roughly 12-inches long and 2-inches round. Wrap log in plastic wrap, place on a cookie sheet and freeze for 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare a sheet tray lined with parchment. In a separate shallow bowl, add the turbinado sugar and set aside. Remove from freezer and, working quickly, unwrap the logs. Cut quarter-inch discs using a serrated or other sharp knife. Press one side of the sliced cookie into sugar and place sugar-side up on lined pan, leaving 1 inch between cookies for spread. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden. Transfer to cooling rack.
*I prefer to use cultured butter, but European-style, such as Kerrygold, works well too. Cultured butter gives the shortbread a more tender crumb and texture and a slightly tangy flavor due to the lactic acid introduced in the churning process.