Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett
Hands-on Time
20 Mins
Total Time
2 Hours 15 Mins
Yield
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

Step 2

Process cheese and butter in a food processor 10 to 15 seconds or until creamy, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add flour and next 3 ingredients; pulse 9 to 10 times or until mixture is crumbly. Add toasted pecans; pulse 4 to 5 times or until combined. Add half-and-half, and process 10 to 15 seconds or until mixture forms moist clumps.

Step 3

Transfer mixture onto plastic wrap on a flat surface; gather dough into a ball, and flatten into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour until firm, or seal wrapped dough in a zip-top plastic freezer bag, and chill up to 3 days.

Step 4

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Roll to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with 1 1/2- and 2-inch leaf-shaped cutters. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Step 5

Bake at 325° for 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool 15 minutes.

Step 6

Note: You can also freeze thoroughly cooled, baked shortbread leaves in an airtight container. Store in freezer up to 2 weeks.

Step 7

TRY THIS TWIST!

Step 8

Blue Cheese-Pecan Shortbread Leaves: Omit half-and-half. Substitute 1 (4-oz.) container crumbled blue cheese for Cheddar cheese. Prepare recipe as directed, pulsing 9 to 10 times after adding pecans in Step

Chef's Notes

Bake shortbread 3 days ahead and store in airtight containers, or make dough, chill up to 3 days, and bake right before your party.

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