Brown Sugar Shortbread

Last Monday while I was home with Caroline and James (Margaret was on a trip with my mother), I got the urge to make cookies. I grabbed one of our quick recipe cookbooks and found this favorite recipe for brown sugar shortbread. Yes! This is a great recipe to make with kids because there's lots of ways for them to be involved. Of course there's the usual measuring and pouring, but Caroline also liked cutting up the butter into chunks, and James enjoyed running the food processor as we counted eighteen one-second pulses. They both enjoyed pressing down the dough with a flat-bottomed measuring cup. I decided to score the dough myself rather than delegate to Caroline---something told me she would want to make the cookies HUGE. Not that I blame her.

This recipe is super easy, requires simple stuff you probably already have on hand, and is sooooo good.

2/3 cup finely chopped pecans 1 3/4 cup (8 3/4 ounces*) all purpose flour 1 cup packed (7 ounces*) brown sugar 1/4 cup (1 ounce*) confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting the cookies 1/2 teaspoon salt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2'' pieces

Preheat to 350 degrees. Spray a 10x15 jelly roll pan with cooking spray.

Process the nuts, flour, sugars and salt in a food processor with a steel blade until uniform, about 3 seconds. Sprinkle the butter evenly over the flour mixture and pulse until it resembles coarse cornmeal, about eighteen one-second pulses.

Dump mixture into the pan. Use the flat bottom of a measuring cup to pack the dough into the pan and smooth the surface. Use the back of a knife to mark the dough into [number of squares of your choice].

Bake until deep nutty brown and fragrant, 15-18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Use a knife to cut through the shortbread and make individual cookies. Cool the cookies for 10 minutes, then pop them out of the pan and transfer to a wire cooking rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar (we don't do this--they seem sweet enough to us) and serve.

*Seriously, who measures flour and sugar anymore? Kitchen scale=life improving thing. Especially as the designated dishwasher in our house.