Refrigerator Pecan Shortbread
1 cup pecans
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line a small loaf pan(7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/2") with plastic wrap, so that the wrap lines the bottom and sides and the extra wrap drapes
over the edges. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, work the pecans in on-off motions until they are finely ground. Add the flour and sugar to the nuts and work the food processor again until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Add the butter, salt, and vanilla to the food processor, and work the mixture again in on-off motions just until it forms a dough. Pack the dough into the lined loaf pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Rap the pan once hard on the counter to settle any air pockets. Cover the dough with the excess plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least half a day or as long as 2 days.
Preheat oven to 350F. Have 2 ungreased baking sheets on hand. Turn the dough out onto a counter and peel off the plastic wrap. Use a long knife to cut the dough in half lengthwise. Then slice crosswise across each log to make 1/4" thick, square-shaped slices.
Arrange the squares on the baking sheets and bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are pale brown. Halfway through the baking, switch the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom in the oven. Leave the cookies to settle for half a minute, then lift them from the sheet with a metal spatula and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
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