You can measure success any way you please, but as for me and my (sparkle) kitchen, success is having a stocked cookie jar. You can stitch that on a little pillow, if you like. When I have time to live up to my high standards of success, I like to try new variations on classics. I made a batch of shortbread last week and I was pleased to find out that my betrothed loves buttery, crunchy, simple shortbread as much as I. This should make for a pleasant union indeed. I wanted to try to add a little something extra to the shortbread, and I thought to add toasted pecans. I got a bit carried away and toasted some oats too, and let me just say: wow. I will be stirring toasted oats into my baking more often. Oats, especially toasted ones, add a pleasant, warm, nutty flavor.
My two additions (oats and pecans) weren’t overpowering to the delicate shortbread flavor. So, what’s a girl to do but find an alternative way to go over the top completely. I whipped up a quick cherry-almond buttercream and sandwiched it between two cookie layers. I loved the cookies and the frosting, but know that the frosting is still a work in progress. The frosting looks like it curdled and I wasn’t able to fix it. I will update with a revised frosting recipe, but it’s just appearance, ya’ll. This stuff is goooood.
Just to prove my success (by my own measure), please note the pleasantly-stocked cookie jar:
Toasted Oat and Pecan Shortbread with Cherry-Almond Buttercream
For the shortbread, you will need:
- 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. cinnamon, optional
- Heat oven to 325.
- Lightly spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Spread oats in a single layer and bake until toasted, approximately six minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
- Heat pecans next, also for four to six minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.
- Meanwhile, stir together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon (if using) and 1 cup toasted oats in a large bowl.
- Add in chilled butter, chopped into slices, and vanilla. Stir until a dough forms, but note that this is going to be a fairly course batter. Stir in pecans last. Here’s how my batter looked:
- Press dough into a square baking pan (two 8×8 pans would be perfect). If you are like me and you don’t have two 8×8 pans, you can try my method of forming a flat mixture on a cookie sheet (i.e. avoiding washing an extra dish).
- Sprinkle remaining oats on top and bake until firm and golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
- After you remove the pans from the oven, quickly slice into bars before the cookies can set. Cool completely before inverting pan and removing your cookies. Even if your small dog really thinks you should just give her some while she can smell it cooling.
For the cherry-almond buttercream, you will need:
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 21 ounces of cherry pie filling, low sugar variety, if available
- 2 tsp. almond extract
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- Combine ingredients in order listed above in a large mixing bowl, stir together until smooth.
- Note that this makes a ton of frosting. You won’t need most of it for this dish, but it’s so tasty you might not mind the leftovers.