Pecan Shortbread Square Recipe

fb-share-icon0
0
Pin Share0
Plate of Christmas Squares set out for afternoon tea
Pecan Shortbread Square

I call this type of square the “three-piece suit” of squares. That’s because there are three components to the square: 1) a tender, buttery shortbread crust; 2) a topping or filling; and 3) a buttery icing. This delectable Pecan Shortbread Square is always one that calls for a second piece!

There are several ways in which to make a shortbread crust for squares and bars. Some involve the creaming method where the butter is creamed with the sugar and then the flour is added. Others, like my recipe for Pecan Shortbread Square, blend or cut in the butter to the dry ingredients, either by hand or using a mixer or a food processor.  If using the latter, be sure to pulse the ingredients in just a very few quick bursts. I tend to use my stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for this process since I am going to have the mixer going for the topping ingredients anyway and it’s one less appliance out on the counter and to clean up afterwards.

The crust ingredients will be very dry as they are pressed into the pan. It is best to dock the crust with the tines of a fork to allow steam to escape during baking and also to eliminate the creation of air pockets causing the crust to bubble up here and there making an uneven base.

However, this can be a bit tricky as the base ingredients are very dry and crumbly (they’re supposed to be that way). The best way I have found to deal with this is to place the ends of the fork tines snugly between my index and middle finger and let my fingers rest gently on the base as the fork is inserted and removed each time. This will help to keep the base intact and eliminate the dry base ingredients from being disturbed and pulled out each time the fork is inserted and removed.

Pecan Square
Pecan Shortbread Square

It’s important not to overbake the base. Keep in mind that it will be going back in the oven when the topping is added so it will bake more then. Basically, the base is just going in the oven long enough to set it so that, when the topping is added, it does not seep down into the base, essentially losing the distinct separation of base from topping. The crust should only take about 10-13 minutes to set in the oven. It should not brown. If left in the oven too long, it will become hard and chibbly when cut. Keep an eye on it as it bakes and as soon as it shows the slightest sign of starting to tan and beginning to pull away from the pan sides, remove it from the oven.

Let the base cool completely to room temperature on a wire rack before adding the topping. The base typically takes 35-40 minutes to cool. The purpose of this is to keep the topping from seeping into the base which is what could happen if applied when the base is still hot or quite warm. A small amount of seepage is expected from when the heat and the square ingredients meet in the oven but not so much that the base cannot be identified separately from the topping.

Cool the square completely before frosting. To allow the icing to set before cutting, I recommend placing the frosted square in the refrigerator for about 35-45 minutes. I also find the square cuts better if it is brought back to room temperature for about 15 minutes after refrigeration and if the knife is warm. Simply run the knife blade under hot water for a few seconds and dry it well on a tea towel before cutting the square. Repeat for the cutting of each row of squares.

Pecan Shortbread Square plates well, holds together well, and can easily be picked up in the fingers and eaten. It’s a great addition to any sweet tray any time of the year. This is a square that will freeze quite well in an airtight container (that’s if there is any left over to freeze).

Christmas Plate filled with holiday squares
Pecan Shortbread Square

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Pecan Shortbread Squares

Ingredients:

Shortbread Crust Base:
1½ cups all-purpose flour (or gluten-free one-to-one baking flour, if required)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup + 1 tbsp butter (cubed into about 1” pieces), at room temperature for about 15 minutes

Topping:
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1¼ cups brown sugar, lightly packed
¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp all-purpose flour (or gluten-free one-to-one baking flour, if required)
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup sweetened shredded coconut

Icing:
6 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
¼ tsp pure almond extract
1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
1¾ cups + 2 tbsp (6.5 oz) sifted icing sugar (aka confectioner’s or powdered sugar)
1½ tbsp water or milk

Method:

Line 9”x9” baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough paper overhang on sides to grip and lift baked square from pan for icing and cutting. Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

For Shortbread Crust Base:
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour and sugar together. With mixer set at medium speed, mix in the butter just until crumbly. A food processor may, alternatively, be used to make the base, pulsing the mixture for just a very few short bursts. Mixture will appear dry.

Press mixture evenly into prepared pan. Prick base all over with tines of fork to allow steam to release as the base bakes and to eliminate air pockets from forming. As the base mixture will be dry, this is easiest done if the ends of the fork tines are held between the index and middle fingers placed on the crust base as the fork is inserted and removed. This will help keep the base intact while it is being docked with the fork tines.

Bake 10-13 minutes, or just until edges of crust start to turn very pale golden in color and slightly pull away from pan sides. Do not overbake or crust will be hard. Cool for about 35-40 minutes in pan on wire cooling rack before adding topping.

For Topping:
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl. Set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the eggs lightly at medium-low speed. Increase speed slightly and beat in brown sugar and add the vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing just until combined and smooth. Remove bowl from mixer stand and manually fold in the pecans and coconut just until ingredients are combined. Pour mixture evenly over baked and cooled shortbread crust base. Bake in center of 350°F oven for about 25 minutes, or just until top is set and slightly firm to the touch. Cool completely in pan before icing.

For icing:
Place butter in bowl of stand mixer and beat at medium speed until creamy. Blend in the almond and vanilla extracts. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the sifted icing sugar, about one-half cup at a time. Add the water (or milk), a couple of teaspoons at a time. Increase speed to medium-low to blend ingredients then increase speed to high and beat an additional minute to ensure ingredients are well combined and icing is smooth. Additional milk or water may be required to make icing of desired spreading consistency. If adding additional milk or water, add by ½ teaspoon at a time. Icing should be of spreading consistency but not “soupy”.

Using the parchment paper overhang, lift square from pan and transfer to cutting board. Peel away the parchment paper. Spread icing evenly over cooled square. Refrigerate for about 35-45 minutes to set icing before cutting squares into desired size. Squares freeze well.

Yield: One 9”x9” pan of squares

Connect with My Island Bistro Kitchen on Social Media

Join the Facebook page for My Island Bistro Kitchen:  https://www.facebook.com/MyIslandBistroKitchen/

Follow “the Bistro” on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/PEIBistro/

See the drool-worthy gallery of mouth-watering food photos from My Island Bistro Kitchen on Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/peibistro/

Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.ca/peibistro/ and pin the Pinterest-ready photo at the end of this posting to your favorite Pinterest boards!

[Printable Recipe]

Pecan Shortbread Squares

Tender buttery shortbread base topped with a rich and slightly chewy pecan-filled topping characterize this delectable Pecan Shortbread Square. Frosted with a buttery icing.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword Pecan Shortbread Square, Pecan Square, squares
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust Base:

  • cups all-purpose flour (or gluten-free one-to-one baking flour, if required)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp butter (cubed into about 1” pieces), at room temperature for about 15 minutes

Topping:

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • cups brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour (or gluten-free one-to-one baking flour, if required)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut

Icing:

  • 6 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
  • ¼ tsp pure almond extract
  • 1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • cups + 2 tbsp (6.5 oz) sifted icing sugar (aka confectioner’s or powdered sugar)
  • tbsp water or milk

Instructions

  1. Line 9”x9” baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough paper overhang on sides to grip and lift baked square from pan for icing and cutting. Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

For Shortbread Crust Base:

  1. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour and sugar together. With mixer set at medium speed, mix in the butter just until crumbly. A food processor may, alternatively, be used to make the base, pulsing the mixture for just a very few short bursts. Mixture will appear dry.
  2. Press mixture evenly into prepared pan. Prick base all over with tines of fork to allow steam to release as the base bakes and to eliminate air pockets from forming. As the base mixture will be dry, this is easiest done if the ends of the fork tines are held between the index and middle fingers placed on the crust base as the fork is inserted and removed. This will help keep the base intact while it is being docked with the fork tines.
  3. Bake 10-13 minutes, or just until edges of crust start to turn very pale golden in color and slightly pull away from pan sides. Do not overbake or crust will be hard. Cool for about 35-40 minutes in pan on wire cooling rack before adding topping.

For Topping:

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl. Set aside.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the eggs lightly at medium-low speed. Increase speed slightly and beat in brown sugar and add the vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing just until combined and smooth. Remove bowl from mixer stand and manually fold in the pecans and coconut just until ingredients are combined. Pour mixture evenly over baked and cooled shortbread crust base. Bake in center of 350°F oven for about 25 minutes, or just until top is set and slightly firm to the touch. Cool completely in pan before icing.

For icing:

  1. Place butter in bowl of stand mixer and beat at medium speed until creamy. Blend in the almond and vanilla extracts. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the sifted icing sugar, about one-half cup at a time. Add the water (or milk), a couple of teaspoons at a time. Increase speed to medium-low to blend ingredients then increase speed to high and beat an additional minute to ensure ingredients are well combined and icing is smooth. Additional milk or water may be required to make icing of desired spreading consistency. If adding additional milk or water, add by ½ teaspoon at a time. Icing should be of spreading consistency but not “soupy”.
  2. Using the parchment paper overhang, lift square from pan and transfer to cutting board. Peel away the parchment paper. Spread icing evenly over cooled square. Refrigerate for about 35-45 minutes to set icing before cutting squares into desired size. Squares freeze well.

Recipe Notes

Yield: One 9”x9” pan of squares

Pin Me To Pinterest

Christmas plate filled with Pecan Shortbread Squares

You may also enjoy these other square and bar recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen:

Classic Nanaimo Bars
Sweet Marie Bars
Date Squares
Coconut Date and Cherry Square
Unbaked Chocolate Coconut Square
Old-fashioned Jam Squares
Decadent Chocolate Chip Squares
Vintage Rainbow Square
Marshmallow Squares
Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square

fb-share-icon0
0
Pin Share0