As a regular reader, you know my love of Shortbread cookies. In fact, one of my most popular posts was a blog I did about being in nursing school and baking Simple Scottish Shortbread Cookies with an elderly neighbor. That blog and recipe seemed to strike a chord with some people. I am not sure if it is because of the sweetness of my lovely neighbor or my favorite cookie! I have taken that beloved recipe and fancied it up a bit, (in a rustic sort of way) by making it into Maple Pecan and Bacon Shortbread Cookies.
Maple Pecan and Bacon Shortbread Cookies are a wonderful light, buttery cookie, coated in maple flavored frosting and topped with crunchy bacon and toasted pecans.
Since I am one who keeps my larder stocked, I always have flour, powdered sugar, homemade vanilla extract and maple syrup on hand. This cookie came out of my love of all things maple flavored. So, as I stood in front of my pantry, weighing my baking options, this cookie popped into my head. I was trying to come up with a fall cookie that touched on all that makes me happy when the weather turns cooler, the leaves change colors and fall from the trees. So, Maple Pecan and Bacon Shortbread Cookies were born.
This year, I taught myself how to make bacon, by curing and and smoking pork belly. I used some of this bacon from my freezer, chopped it up into little pieces and cooked it in a skillet until it was crispy. I then drained it on a paper towel and set it aside until I was ready to use it as garnish for the top of the cookies. I had toasted pecans, so I chopped some for the cookie and some for the topping, to partner with the bacon as a garnish.
Maple Pecan and Bacon Shortbread Cookies are beautiful and taste amazing. This buttery cookie is topped with both salty and sweet, so it becomes a perfect bite!
To make the cookie portion of this recipe, you will cream the butter with your stand mixer and then add in the flour, sugar, extracts, baking powder, salt and pecans. This will make a coarse mixture. With your hands, press it together into a ball. Cookies can often stick to the counter if you are cutting them out. I like to sprinkle powdered sugar on the counter instead of flour (since the cookie is sweet) and then I place the ball of dough on the counter and press it into a disc shape. This makes it easier to roll out with your rolling pin.
Since I was going for a fall cookie, I used my maple leaf shaped cookie cutter. If you don’t have any cookie cutters, you can simply use a sharp knife and cut these into squares or using a biscuit cutter, cut them into rounds. You would then place these on a baking sheet and bake them about 12 minutes or the edges are getting golden. When the cookies are baked, carefully remove them and place them on a rack to finish cooling. This is a brittle cookie, so they need to be completely cooled, before frosting .
To frost these, I combine the powdered sugar, melted butter and maple syrup and mix this until the sugar lumps have dissolved. Then, I take a completely cooled cookie and dip it face down into the frosting. Remove the cookie from the frosting and let the excess frosting drip off, then place the cookie on its back on parchment paper. A little residual frosting will continue to drip off. While the frosting is still wet, sprinkle the crunchy, bacon pieces and chopped pecans on top of the frosting and let it sit until the frosting has dried a bit.
Maple Pecan and Bacon Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar more for rolling out dough
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp maple extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 4-6 slices bacon, chopped small and fried until crisp set aside to sprinkle on frosted cookies
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans set aside to sprinkle on frosted cookies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the butter into a bowl or use a stand mixer and mix it well until it has been creamed or smooth.
- Add the sugar, mix again. Then add the flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla extract, maple extract and chopped pecans, mix until well incorporated.
- This dough will be thick and very easy to handle.
- I sprinkle powdered sugar out on the board I roll the dough, to prevent sticking since this is a cookie. Roll dough flat, to about 1/4" in thickness and either cut into pieces with a knife or use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes. Place cookies on baking pan and place in the oven.
- Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the edges are just very lightly golden. Let sit on the baking pan for a few minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire, cooling rack to complete their cooling.
- In a medium bowl, add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and melted butter together and stir until well incorporated.
- Dip the cooled cookies into the frosting, coating one side. Lay the coated cookies on their back to allow the excess frosting to drip off. While the frosting is still wet, sprinkle with the crispy bacon pieces and chopped pecans.
One of the things I like about this Maple Pecan and Bacon Shortbread Cookie is that the cookie itself is only slightly sweet. The maple syrup for the frosting is very sweet and creamy and the crispy bacon pieces and chopped pecans are a little salty. When you get a mouthful of this awesomeness, it is the perfect bite of crunchy, creamy, salty and sweet! What more could you want in a cookie?! Enjoy friends!!
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