While shortbreads are usually thought of as sweet, these Cheddar Pecan Shortbreads are definitely on the savory, snacky side. Anything with cheddar cheese, pecans and cayenne pepper is definitely on my must try list. But I must warn you, these are absolutely, positively addictive. There is not way to eat just one – hence the large number it makes!
When I had my take out shop, we sold these Cheddar Pecan Shortbreads and they were always a winner with wine, beer, lemonade or nothing at all.
They are perfect for the holidays as they can be kept in an airtight tin for weeks and in the freezer, unbaked for months. One thing to mention is that they will seem a lot zippier if eaten when just baked. They should be made and stored in a tin for at least a few days to mellow them out - even better for the busy times.
I found a cheddar cheese by Cabot that is marked "Seriously Sharp" and used that. Buy the sharpest cheese you can find so the cheese comes out in the cracker.
A quick turn in the processor or mixer and you are looking at least 12 dozen shortbreads, depending upon how thick you cut them. That's about it for the Cheddar Pecan Shortbreads. Just make 'em and enjoy 'em!!
Zippy Cheddar Pecan Shortbreads1 cup pecan pieces (114 grams or 4 ounces)
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese or Extremely Sharp if available (225 grams)
½ pound butter, cold for the processor method, room temp for the mixer method
2 ½ cups all purpose flour (340 grams or 12 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 7 minutes until fragrant and lightly colored.
Cut the cheddar cheese into ½ to ¾ inch pieces and set aside. Cut the butter into the same size pieces and keep cold.
Place the flour, salt and cayenne in the processor. Pulse several times to mix.
Add the cheddar cheese chunks and process until the cheese cannot be seen. You will have an orange looking mixture.
Add the cold butter and
process until the dough is just about finished coming together. Do not add water or any liquid to get it to all up. If necessary, redistribute the dough in the processor to help it along. When the dough comes together completely, add the pecans. Pulse to cut mix theme into the dough Don't process pass this point or the pecans will be cut in too finely as I did. And even if you do, the flavor will be there and it will be fine. It's just chunky pecans vs. fine pecans. Chill the dough if necessary in order to be able to roll it.
The butter should be room temperature and the cheese should be grated.
Place the butter and cheese in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream until completely mixed. Add the salt and cayenne pepper, beating to incorporate. Add the flour in 3 parts, mixing each time until completely incorporated. Lastly add the pecans. Chill the dough if necessary to roll it.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces (225 grams each or 8 ounces). Roll each into a log 13 to 14 inches long. Wrap in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate until firm. The rolls may be frozen at this point for several months. Thaw in the refrigerator to cut.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut into slices about ¼ inch thick. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until just colored.
Cool completely. Store in an airtight tin.
Makes approximately 200.
Susan Crothers says
Helen, I am so impressed that you share your creative brilliance and baking prowess with us so generously (i.e.for free). Thank you! I made the chocolate Guinness cake for Paddy's Day. Complete silence except for sensuous moans of delight took over the ta le while my guests ate it. These cheddar pecan short-breads are on tap for my next ladies' happy hour. Bless you!!
Helen S Fletcher says
Hi Susan - So happy you enjoyed the Guinness cake. I'm not allowed to make the Cheddar Pecan shortbreads anymore because I can eat all of them in short order. These are one of my absolute favs. Hope they become yours also.
I have made these numerous times, and they are fabulous! My cousin, who is addicted to cheese, says I must bring these every time I visit!
Helen S Fletcher says
OMG Tracy - I can't make these anymore because I can happily eat the entire tin. So easy for so much enjoyment. I agree with your cousin.
Karen McCreary says
Helen , I love all your recipes ! These sound so easy and yummy I can hardly wait to bake them . I did follow the link to the Puff Pastry Crackers and they , too , sound awesome . The video of you on the TV program was hilarious !! I couldn't believe how thick that guy seemed ! Crazy fun !! You have the most wonderful laugh ! I was laughing out loud at 2 AM and wishing the clip was longer . I'm going to try the "Merbteig" recipe for Christmas if I can still get that recipe . What an interesting one it is . THANK YOU for your work . We could have a lot of fun together , I'm sure . ((HUGS)
Hi Karen - what a delightful comment. Kent sure was struggling with the puff pastry crackers. The off camera hosts and technicians were all laughing with me. All of my posts remain up at this point so do enjoy the Murbteig. By the way, these can be made early as they benefit from a bit of aging. Hope that helps your baking schedule.
My fiancé can't have nuts. Is there a substitute for the pecans or is it absolutely necessary? He would definitely devour these as long as there are no nuts.
Hi Christine - you can leave the nuts out. They are still delicious.
Leslie B. says
Helen, you warn not to process the pecans too much when adding them, yet the dough appears very smooth with only finely chopped pecans visible as little dots of brown crumbs. Can you be a little more specific? Thanks.
Hi Leslie: The warning is because I added mine too soon. But the flavor is there no matter if you see them or not. If you are using a mixer it doesn't matter but the processor will cut them in very finely. Make the dough completely, then add the pecans and pulse them in. The batch I made for TV had more visible pecans.
Hi, Helen. This looks like a very handy recipe to have on hand. Our daughter-in-law is expecting twins in early 2017, and if she likes these as much as I think she will, I'll be making a LOT of them to stash in her freezer for the (many) times I'm sure she will forget to feed herself while busy taking care of the twins. So thanks for sharing! I do have one question: do you think I could use white whole wheat flour as a substitute for all-purpose flour to increase the nutritional profile somewhat? Our DIL is trying hard to eat as healthfully as she can right now. Thanks for your advice! I really enjoy your blog.
Hi Lynette - absolutely you can use white whole wheat flour. I love it. It isn't as distinct as regular whole wheat. Wow, twins. It was all I could do to handle one at a time. Enjoy them, as you know the time just flies by.
Pam Hopp says
Is the 2 1/2 cups for AP flour?
Hi Pam - yes 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour.
You inadvertently left out the word "flour" in the ingredient list. Do you use all-purpose flour or some other type?
Hi Fern and Pam - yes it is 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. It is fixed.
These are a must try!
Edna Phillips says
I love your blog. Thank you for being you, such a kind, sweet ,sharing spirit! I can't wait to make there to send to my Sailor great grandaughter ☺
Hi Edna - thanks so much. I just used your comment on my TV segment this morning. Everyone agreed you are a fantastic grandmother.