Maple syrup adds a robust flavor to this nut-studded shortbread.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 cup cake flour (not self rising)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecan halves (about 2 1/4 ounces), finely chopped, plus 24 whole pecan halves, for decorating
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Maple candy (about 1.5 oz), for sprinkling
- Sift flours and salt into a bowl. Whisk in chopped pecans.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and light, about 1 minute. Add maple syrup, egg yolk, and extract; beat on medium speed until well combined. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined. Dough should be smooth and pliable. Flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate until firm, 1 1/2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out rounds using a 2-inch cookie cutter; place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with beaten egg; place pecan half in the center of each cookie. Crumble maple candy into granules and sprinkle on top of the cookies.
- Bake cookies, rotating sheet halfway through, until golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 4 days.
MAKES ABOUT 2 DOZEN