Toasted Pecan Shortbread Squares

These toasted pecan shortbread squares are the perfect “pick me up” for a strenuous day of holiday planning, shopping, baking and wrapping! A rich filling of the toasted pecans with brown sugar and vanilla top a crispy shortbread layer below. The butter, subtle, crispy crust is the perfect foil to the sugary sweet topping. Once cooled, you can cut them into any size square you want from a tiny bite to a brownie size. We usually make 16 squares from one recipe, but you can cut them larger or smaller as you please.

When I was a kid, my mom had a delicious recipe for cookie squares that we simply called ”Two Bakes”. That was because we baked them twice, once for the crust and again for the topping. They were so yummy with a shortbread crust and a nutty sweet filling on top. I am positive that I copied the recipe when I was in high school and had the time to rewrite all of her recipes out on brand new recipe cards. But, when I remembered about these cookies and wanted to bake them for this year’s holiday cookie connection, I couldn’t find the recipe anywhere … not in my recipe box nor in hers, or my sister’s either. So, back to the drawing board I went to try to recreate them!

These Toasted Pecan Shortbread Squares are our new version of “Two Bakes” and we are so pleased with the result. As always, we toasted the pecans first, because the aroma and the flavor of pecans (or almost any nut for that matter) are enhanced when toasted. They are so delicious and we love not only the flavor, but the smell is divine, too!

Toasted Pecan Shortbread Squares

A buttery, crispy shortbread crust topped with rich toasted pecan and brown sugar topping are sure to please your holiday guests.
Servings 16 2-inch squares
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Pre-baking the Crust 20 minutes


  • 1 8 x 8 inch square baking dish Metal or glass, but reduce oven temp to 325° F if using glass.


Shortbread Crust

  • 4 oz. unsalted butter, softened to room temp 1 stick or 1/2 cup
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Toasted Pecan Topping

  • 4 oz. unsalted butter, softened to room temp 1 stick or 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans pieces, toasted


Shortbread Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350° F if using a metal pan, or 325°F if using glass.
  • Prepare an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Cream butter with an electric beater until fluffy and creamy. Add sugar and beat well to incorporate. Stir in vanilla. Add flour and blend until incorporated.
  • Pat into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, just until the edges turn slightly brown. Remove from oven and prepare filling.
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Toasted Pecan Shortbread Squares

  • Pre-toast the pecans in a 350°F oven for about 5 minutes, or just until aromatic and beginning to brown. Keep an eye on them, because they can go from perfect to burned in a hot minute!🔥 Remove from oven and cool. This can be done several days ahead of time, and stored in an airtight container until ready to use.
  • Cream butter and brown sugar together until well incorporated with an electric beater. Add vanilla and egg and beat well.
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  • Fold in the toasted pecans and spread evenly over the partially baked shortbread crust. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the topping is bubbly and nicely browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting and storing. When cooled, cut into 16 squares.
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  • Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container, but bring back to room temp for about 15 minutes before serving.
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Course: Dessert
Keyword: candied pecans, Christmas cookies, cookies, holiday cookies, pecan pie shortbread cookies, pecan shortbread, pecan shortbread squares, pecan squares, shortbread cookies

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