The Recipe Redux is a group of like-minded food bloggers whose mission is to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Each month members post recipes to their blogs following a theme set by the group moderators. This month’s theme is healthy picnic or al fresco recipes. Click the Recipe Redux link at the bottom of this page to see links to all the posts for this month’s challenge.
It can be tricky to healthify a classic recipe because many people steadfastly insist that classic recipes not be tampered with – that they’ve earned their title precisely because they can’t be improved upon. (In case you’re wondering, “healthify” is a made-up word defined by me as follows: to take something not normally considered healthy and change it to make it more nutritious while keeping some of its defining characteristics intact.) So, if you dare to tinker with one of these recipes, make sure the finished food is as good as, or better than, its classic counterpart. And, if you’ve swapped out some of the recipe’s usual ingredients and replaced them with more nutritious ones, the true accolades will follow when tasters realize that not only does the food taste delicious, it’s healthier too! These Almond Pecan Coconut Sugar Shortbread cookies are a case in point and are perfect for this month’s Recipe Redux theme – healthy picnic or alfresco recipes. After all, no picnic would be complete without an easy to eat handheld dessert!
Almond Pecan Coconut Sugar Shortbread cookies have a delicate melt-in-your mouth texture with brown sugar and caramel notes. They’re gluten-free and are sweetened with coconut sugar, a natural, unrefined sweetener made from the sap of the coconut palm tree. Traditional shortbread cookies are made with wheat flour, but these are made from a combination of almond flour and pecan meal. Almond flour is widely available in most grocery stores, but pecan meal can be hard to find. Fortunately, you can easily make your own by grinding pecans in a blender or food processor to a fine, powdery consistency.
Rolling cookie dough out to a consistent thickness throughout is important for cookies to bake evenly. Even minor variations in the thickness of rolled out dough can cause some cookies to brown in the oven too quickly and leave others raw on the inside. One tool I love for rolling out cookie dough and pie crusts is this rolling-pin. It enabled me to roll out the dough for these Almond Pecan Coconut Sugar Shortbread cookies to an exact ¼ inch thickness. If you like the look of traditional shaped shortbread cookies, be sure to use a cutter like this one.
It’s not very often that a healthy version of a classic recipe tastes better than the original but such is the case with these Almond Pecan Coconut Sugar Shortbread cookies. These cookies freeze beautifully and travel well. Be sure to take some on your next picnic!
- ½ cup (3 ounces) coconut sugar
- 2 cups (8 ounces) finely ground almond flour
- ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (2 ounces) pecan meal (see note #1)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Process the coconut sugar in a blender or food processor until it has a fine, powdery consistency. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the almond flour and butter together. Add the coconut sugar, pecan meal, salt, baking powder, and vanilla extract. Stir until a soft dough forms.
- Roll out the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper (see notes - #2) to a thickness of ¼ inch and, using a shortbread cookie cutter (measuring 3¼ inches x 1¼ inch), stamp out 33 shortbread cookies and place on the baking sheets.
- Using the tines of a fork, gently poke each cookie to make the classic shortbread design.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until just starting to brown around the edges.
2. If the dough is very soft and sticky, leave it in between the parchment paper, place it on a baking sheet, and transfer it to the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer to firm up so it will be easier to stamp out the cookies.
LIKE THIS RECIPE? PIN IT FOR LATER!
I’m linking up with Deborah at ConfessionsofaMotherRunner.com and Sarah at AWhiskandTwoWands.com for Meatless Monday. Be sure to check out the other posts from my fellow bloggers!