Maple-Pecan Shortbread

1 cup pecans
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup maple sugar crystals or unbleached cane sugar (or white sugar from sugar beets)
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/3 cup vegan margarine
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
safflower oil, for oiling cookie sheets

In a blender or food processor, place the pecans, and pulse a few times to roughly chop. Transfer 1/3 cup of the chopped pecans to a small bowl and set aside. Add the oats to the remaining pecans in the blender and process for 30-60 seconds to finely grind them together. Add the flour, maple sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, pulse a few times to combine, and set aside. In a medium bowl, place the margarine, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond extract, and stir the mixture until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well to combine. Add the reserved chopped pecans and fold gently to incorporate them. Cover the bowl of dough, place it in the refrigerator, and chill the dough for 30 minutes or more.

Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil (or mist with oil) two non-stick cookie sheets and set aside. Transfer the chilled dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 2-inch squares or diamonds or into desired shapes with small cookie cutters. Using a fork, gently poke the surface of each cut cookie a few times. Working in batches, carefully transfer the cut cookies to the prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Allow the shortbread to cool on the cookie sheets for 3 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat the baking procedure for the remaining cut cookies. Store the cookies in an airtight container.

Yield: 4 Dozen


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