This pecan shortbread — crumbly, salty and buttery, with a touch of cardamom — is delicate in flavor but sturdy enough in structure for a dessert on the go, ready for picnics or potlucks. Make this easy shortbread a day or two before you need it. After slicing, store the pieces in a tightly closed cookie tin. They’re lovely alone, just out of the tin, but you can augment them with a bowl of cherries, nectarines and peaches, or ice cream, if you wish.
• 1 1/2 cups/340 grams salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 3/4 cup/160 grams sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 3 1/2 cups/448 grams all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups/179 grams toasted, chopped pecans
• Powdered sugar, for dusting
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Put butter, sugar, vanilla and cardamom in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.
Carefully add flour and pecans, and mix a few minutes more, at low speed at first, then medium, until dough comes together. Remove dough and knead for 1 minute. Press dough into a 9-inch square cake pan. (Alternatively, press into a 9-inch fluted French tart pan with a removable bottom.)
Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool and cut into squares, bars or wedges with a serrated knife while still slightly warm. Store in a tin until needed. To serve, arrange on a plate and dust with powdered sugar.
Total time: 1 hour, plus cooling, serves 8-10.