Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Wisconsin State Fair Winner

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Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies 1

Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies: these are an outstanding winning recipe from the Wisconsin State Fair, created by Joan Giesfeldt. They are an all-time-favorite from our archives, winning 1st place a decade ago, 2014.

They are an impressive cookie, and Joan shared a few tips about preparing them:

Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies 2

Toast the pecans ahead of time to bring out their nutty aroma and flavor. (Note: Browning the butter for the filling is going to boost that nuttiness also.)

Toasted pecans

For the vanilla ingredient, Joan says she prefers a Madagascar version. She also used an ultra-fine baker’s sugar for sprinkling on the top half of the cookie.

Bowl of flour

With the richness of the dough, her other tip is to handle the dough as little as possible once it comes out of the freezer. The cookies will keep their form a bit better.

Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies Step 3

When we test ran these toasted pecan shortbread cookies, they were a favorite among our tasters. Let’s just say one off them said they were magical!

Cookie lovers and baking fans: take the time to bake a batch of these sooner rather than later. They are totally worth your time!


P.S. Looking for more Wisconsin winning recipes? Don’t miss this one, yet another all-time favorite.

Toasted Pecan Shortbread with Brown Butter Cream Filling

Shortbread Cookie:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans, divided*

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste


Brown Butter Cream Filling:

1/2 cup brown butter

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In bowl of a food processor, pulse together Gold Medal flour, 1/2 cup toasted pecans, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Add butter; pulse until mixture is crumbly. Whisk together cream, egg yolks, and vanilla. With food processor running, slowly pour mixture through spout. Stop processor and pulse until mixture forms a ball. Remove dough. Add in remaining pecans and stir by hand. Place dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Freeze for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lay parchment onto cookie sheets.

Butter Cream Filling: Part One. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Cook, stirring constantly until butter foams, turns golden in color, and has a nutty aroma. Immediately remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Cool to room temperature.

Remove dough from freezer. Using a 2 1/4-inch ridged cutter, cut as many cookies as possible, re-rolling scraps no more than twice. Using a 1-inch ridged cutter, remove centers from half of the cookies. Sprinkle open center cookies with remaining sugar. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on baking sheets.

Butter cream Filling: Part Two. Using a mixer at medium high speed, beat brown butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Use cream immediately. Spread about 1 teaspoon butter cream filling onto whole cookies and top with cookies with the center removed. Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

*Toast pecans ahead of time by baking in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350 degrees F, 5-10 minutes.

Makes 24 sandwich cookies

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