Maple and Pecan Shortbreads

TOTAL TIME: 2 hr 25 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 1 hr 30 min
Cook: 40 min
YIELD: 24 bars


  • 1 1/2 cups/355 ml pure maple syrup
  • Ice water, for chilling


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

For the shortbread: Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure to leave several inches of overhang on each side to lift out the shortbread (or use a rectangular tart mold with removable bottom).

Cream together the sugar and butter, using an electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla, and then the flour and salt. The dough will be crumbly, pea-size balls. Dust your fingers in flour, evenly distribute the crumbles throughout the dough, and then press evenly into the pan and the edges, forming a smooth dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Bake until the shortbread is a nice golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the crust completely in the pan set over a wire rack.

For the maple butter: Bring the maple syrup to a boil, without stirring, in a small high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the syrup, lowering the heat to medium if it begins to foam up to the top of the pot, until a candy thermometer reaches 235 degrees F to 240 degrees F (113 to 116 degrees C), soft-ball stage, about 15 minutes.

Place the saucepan in a basin or bowl of ice water. Let cool, without stirring, until the thermometer reads about 120 degrees F (50 degrees C), 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the water. Beat the syrup, using a hand-held electric mixer on medium-high speed, until creamy, light in color (like peanut butter) and thickened, about 5 minutes. Continue to stir the maple syrup using a wooden spoon until it has lightened a few more shades, lost some of its sheen and slowly oozes off the spoon.

Spread the maple butter over the cooled crust. Top with the toasted pecans and gently press into the maple butter. Sprinkle with sea salt. Set the pan aside for 30 minutes so the maple butter can set. It will change from a shiny finish to a dull, matte finish. Gently lift out of the pan and cut into 24 pieces.



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  • on December 04, 2012


    This cookie is probably my new favorite. The ingredients are minimal, the techniques used are simple, and if you follow the directions, you will get a pan of the most ridiculously delicious cookies ever. Seriously, this stuff is like crack and I can't stop eating it. This was my first time working with maple syrup and found it a little tricky to get it to the right temperature. It required some patience and perseverance, but it came to temp after about 20 minutes of cooking, just like the recipe said. I had to keep my maple syrup over low heat after the initial boil so as to keep it from boiling over the side of my sauce pan. Also, make sure your ice water bath is prepared before you start boiling your syrup and not while your syrup is cooking because once it starts cooking, you should not take your eyes off the syrup, unless you want a sticky, sweet, and unfortunate accident in your kitchen. Other than that, the directions are easy to understand and follow.

    Awesome recipe!

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