As someone who often enjoys dessert too quickly, the sandy-sweet richness of shortbread gives me pause. Like Southern Living: Classic Southern Desserts says, these call for a few minutes to savor every bite. Toasted pecans boost the flavor and provide a pleasant crunch.
Tips: You want to watch the butter for browning, so use a skillet with a lighter bottom. Cast-iron wouldn't be the best choice here. Look for it to turn yellow, to gold, to brown with dark bits in it—it should also smell nutty.
Tweaks: This shortbread recipe gets it right on two accounts: browning the butter and toasting the pecans. Doing both catalyses chemical reactions that create deeper, richer flavors in dairy and nuts. The recipe doesn't specify how to toast the pecans, but you can easily do so by spreading the pecan halves on a lightly greased baking sheet and roasting them at 350°F for 5-7 minutes. Finely chop them after they've cooled to add to the shortbread.
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As always with our Bake the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of 'Classic Southern Desserts' to give away.