Maple & Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Crispy, crunchy, brown sugar shortbread, made with maple extract and toasted pecans, is one of our favorite cookies ever and perfect for your holiday cookie collection. We dip half the cookies in maple glaze and garnish with more toasted almonds for a beautiful finished look! For another delicious cookie, try our toasted pecan shortbread cookies!

The key to making good shortbread is using good quality butter and keeping the ingredients simple. Also, you want to handle the dough as little as possible — just enough to gather the dough into an ball and shape it. And finally, you need to chill the dough before baking it to a golden-brown.

We like to make the dough and roll it into 2-inch diameter logs for a uniform look, but you can also roll the dough into balls, (much like you do Snowball/Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies), and flatten them with the bottom of a glass. If you choose this method, be sure to dip the bottom of the glass in a bowl of granulated sugar before smashing each of the dough balls to a 1/4-inch height.

These shortbread cookies are also so delicious even without the icing and they stay crispy for a long time when stored in an airtight container and they freeze very well, too.

Toasted Pecan Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies

Brown sugar shortbread with toasted pecans & maple extract, iced with maple syrup icing.
Servings 24 Cookies
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temp (8 oz. or 2 sticks)
  • 1 cup packed, light brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (for on top of the icing)

Maple Icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup


Shortbread Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 325 ℉. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Place butter in a mixing bowl or the bowl of your standing mixer. Beat butter for about two minutes until very creamy. Add brown sugar and maple extract and continue to beat until fluffy. Add flour and salt and blend until well integrated. Finally stir in 1 cup of the finely chopped toasted pecans and mix well. The mixture will be rather thick at this point.
  • Place dough on a large sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log, 2-inches in diameter. You can make 2 or 3 logs, if it’s easier! Completely wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up.
  • Remove dough from the refrigerator and slice the logs into 1/4-inch rounds. Place rounds on prepared baking sheets.
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  • Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until cookies begin to look golden brown. Turn the tray 180° halfway through the baking. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  • Once cooled, dip each cookie in the maple icing (recipe below) to cover half of the cookies. Immediately sprinkle coarsely chopped pecans over the icing so they stick to the moist icing. Allow icing to harden before storing cookies. *Note – if you plan to make the cookies ahead, store them before icing them and ice them when you are ready to serve them. The icing can make the cookies too soft, if you store them with the icing on.
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  • *Note – if you plan to make the cookies ahead, store them before icing them and dip them in the icing up to a few hours before you’re ready to serve them. The icing can make the cookies a little soft, if you store them with the icing on.
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Maple Icing

  • Using a whisk, blend sifted powdered sugar, maple syrup and milk together until smooth. Add a little more sugar or milk if necessary to arrive at a good dipping consistency.
Course: Dessert
Keyword: christmas cookie exchange, Christmas cookies, cookies, maple pecan shortbreaad, pecan shortbread, shortbread cookies, toasted pecans
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