These easy, no-fuss Pecan Shortbread Cookies are made with just a few ingredients and taste awesome with the addition of roasted pecans. Everyone will love this gluten-free version of shortbread. It's also perfect as a Christmas cookie. They are easy as there are only a few ingredients and there's no rolling dough into individual balls to flatten into cookie shapes. You will just roll the dough into a log and place in the freezer to firm up and then slice into circles, place them flat on trays, no mess at all. Enjoy!
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Preheat oven to 160c (fan-forced). Spread the pecans evenly over a baking tray and roast the nuts for approximately 8 minutes or until slightly darker and you get that lovely roasted nut aroma. Chop finely and set aside.
Meanwhile, add the melted ghee, honey and vanilla to a small bowl and whisk together.
Add the almond meal, arrowroot, baking soda, salt and the chopped pecans to a large bowl and mix well to combine.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well until the dough starts to come together, then use your hands to bring into a ball.
Place the dough in the centre of a large piece of baking paper. Form the dough into a log shape and roll it up in the paper, and as you roll back and forth lengthen the log to approximately 30cm in length with a diameter of 5cm.
Leave the dough rolled in the paper and place in the freezer for 1 hour or until firm.
Unwrap and cut into 0.5cm (1/8 inch) slices.
Place the slices flat on 2 large baking trays lined with baking paper, leaving space between for them to spread.
Place into a preheated oven at 160c (fan-forced). Bake for approximately 12 - 14 minutes until lightly golden and set. Cookies will crispen up as they cool.
Don't remove them from the trays until completely cooled, then transfer to a glass airtight container to keep them crisp. Store them for up to 5 days at room temperature or in the fridge for 10 days. Suitable to freeze.
Pecans are a rich source of dietary fibre, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and thiamin. Nuts are a great protein snack. Eat them raw or activated and it's best to avoid store bought roasted nuts that have been cooked in canola, sunflower or similar vegetable oils.
Ghee is a lactose-free ancient superfood. It is made by slow cooking and clarifying butter to remove the milk solids and lactose, it's pure butter fat. You can get the flavour of butter in your cooking without the dairy (please don't consume if you have an allergy to ghee). My favourite brands are Organic Valley Purity Farms or Puresoul grass-fed. It is also very easy to make yourself. Ghee has a high smoke point 485F/250C.
Use unrefined or raw honey. It is the most common natural sweetener in my recipes. It's best to buy local unprocessed honey as it has wonderful health benefits and can help with allergies. Generally honey sold in supermarkets has been processed. Honey possesses antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.
The most favoured gluten/grain free flour substitute in my kitchen is almond meal. It is finely ground blanched almonds and is also known as almond flour. It has a slightly sweet flavour so you don’t have to add as much sweetener when baking with it. Almond meal/flour is rich in manganese which helps the body heal after injuries and also helps the body break down carbohydrates. Almond flour is also rich in magnesium, which can help control your blood sugar levels. It's rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of serious health conditions like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Almonds are also a good source of calcium.
All kinds of nuts can be ground down to make a meal and are excellent for raw cheesecake or pie bases. Nut meals/flours are best stored in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer to prevent them going rancid.
Arrowroot is a herb, the roots are cultivated for its starch properties. It is used in my recipes as a thickener and I also like combining it with almond meal to produce a much lighter texture, more like a gluten flour. I find the starch helps to bind the ingredients together. You can substitute tapioca flour, which is made from the dried roots of the cassava plant. Tapioca can be used in baking, it has a slightly sweet flavour. However, I do not recommend thickening with tapioca, as it has a stretchy, gummy texture. Supermarkets only sell in very small containers, which is not cost effective. Purchase from baking specialty stores, health food stores or online. ( When substituting for cornflour in recipes, 2 teaspoons arrowroot = 1 tablespoon cornflour/starch).
Also known as Bicarbonate of Soda or Sodium Bicarbonate and is used as a rising agent in baking, it contains no gluten or grains. I use Bob's Red Mill baking soda as I find it rises better than other brands I've tried.
Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.