Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Orange-Date Shortbread

Posted by - louanne

I was really happy when I saw the December challenge, as I've had this recipe on my "to make" list for 4 years.  Yes, seriously, 4 years.  Every Christmas, I would always think this is the year I'm going to make those cookie, but I just never got around to making them.  Well, as soon as I saw "shortbread" I immediately found the recipe and made sure that I had everything I needed. 
Since these are a layered cookie, they look quite impressive, especially with the darker middle which results from the finely chopped dates.  Orange and dates are two ingredients that truly complement each other, and the pecans add a wonderful crunchiness to the cookie.  We send cookies to family & friends, so I'm always looking for a cookie that can stand up to the shipping process; this cookie definitely passes the test.  It's sturdy and the flavor only improves over time.  Additionally, this is a large batch cookie, so we had plenty to share, as well as some to keep; they are delicious with orange-flavored tea.  Many thanks to Nancy for this delicious challenge!

Orange-Date-Nut Shortbread
Adapted from Southern Living Cookies
8 oz pitted dates
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and finely chopped

Dough needs to chill before baking; preheat oven to 350 degrees when ready to bake.
Butter and line a 9x5 loafpan with parchment paper so that the parchment extends over the long side of the pan; set aside.
In a food processor, combine the dates, orange zest, and orange juice.  Process until dates are finely chopped.
In a large bowl, cream butter and vanilla together until butter is creamy. 
Add sugar and egg, beating until fully mixed.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add flour to butter mixture, beating until well-combined.
Mix in pecans.
Divide dough into 3 portions. 
Press one portion into the loaf pan.
Beat date mixture into another portion of the dough, and press onto the pecan mixture in the loaf pan.
Press remaining pecan portion onto the date portion.
Cover pan and chill for at least 2 hours.
Prepare baking pans by lining with parchment paper and preheating oven to 350 degrees.
Once chilled, remove layered dough from loaf pan.
Cut dough, lengthwise, into 4 pieces.
Cut each piece into 1/4" slices.
Place pieces onto prepared baking pan, about 2" apart.
Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before moving onto a rack.


Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

My family would adore this. All of the ingredients are our favourites.

Well done on baking something you've been wanting to for so long!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I think we landed in shortbread heaven. I am definitely making these. The orange takes this over the top. I feel inspired again!!!:)

pfeffernc said...

Oooh, I never thought about shipping cookies to family. And you are right, shortbread would hold up well. I will have to give these a try eventually, my hubby loves dates!

Vivian - Let's Try These... said...

these look beautiful! Good job!