THIS year, our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies baking extravaganza starts off with a classic pecan shortbread from Liz Pats. Liz's mother made these cookies for years, and they are now a staple on Liz's holiday platters.
250 ml (1 cup) butter, softened
60 ml (1/4 cup) superfine sugar (also called berry sugar)
30 ml (2 tbsp) vanilla
500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour
about 24 pecan halves
Preheat oven to 160F (325F). In large bowl, beat butter and sugar together. Add vanilla and mix, and then stir in flour to combine thoroughly. (Do not over-mix.) Take about 15 ml (1 tbsp) of dough and flatten it in your hand. Place a pecan half in the centre and then roll dough around it into a 2.5 cm (1 in) ball. Place 2.5 cm (1 in) apart on baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until bottoms are light brown. Top cooled cookies with buttercream icing. Makes about 2 dozen.
Tester's notes: These lovely vanilla-scented shortbread cookies aren't too sweet. Liz likes to top them with buttercream, but they are so rich I just dusted the warm cookies with sifted icing sugar.