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Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies Image

Naturally Sweetened Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies made healthier by replacing granulated sugar with natural cane sugar. The cookie dough in this recipe comes together easily in the food processor. It can be made ahead, frozen, and baked right before serving for the most delicious fresh-out-of-the-oven healthy shortbread cookies.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 19 minutes
Total Time 39 minutes
Servings 28 cookies
Calories 120kcal


  • ¾ cup (4 oz.) natural cane sugar
  • 1 cup pecans divided
  • 2 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons water at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons of butter melted and cooled
  • 2 ¼ cups (11 ¼ oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg white mixed with 2 tablespoons of water


  • Using a spice/coffee grinder, ground the natural cane sugar in 3 batches until it is fine and powdery. Set aside.
  • Reserve 30 of the whole pecan-halves to use as garnishing. It should be ½ cup in total.
  • Whisk together egg yolks, water, vanilla extract, and butter in a small mixing bowl until combined. Set aside.
  • Place the rest of the pecans (approximately ½ cup) in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely ground. Add in the flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Process until combined.
  • While the food processor is still running, add the butter mixture through the tube. Process until thoroughly combined. You may have to stop the food processor a few times and scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
  • Transfer the dough onto a clean work surface and knead until smooth. It might be a little powdery, but it will come together as you knead with the body heat from your hands.
  • Using a knife, divide the dough into two equal pieces.
  • Roll each dough into a 6-inch log that is about 2-inches thick. Wrap each log tightly using stretch film and place upright in tall glasses. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours up to 2 days.
  • When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 325 F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Working with one log of dough at a time, slice into ¼-inch thick cookies, turning log every few slices to prevent sides from flattening. Space them ¾-inch apart from each other on prepared sheets.
  • Brush cookies with the egg white-water mixture, then gently press the reserved pecan halves into center of each cookie.
  • Bake one sheet at a time, until the edges of cookies are beginning to brown and set, 16-19 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. Let the cool before serving.



Notes: 1. The number of cookies you end up with might change with the size of your logs. 2. As you will see in the video, I only baked one of the rolls. I froze the second roll to see if it will still be good in a few days. Before I was ready to bake, I took the frozen dough out of the freezer, let it thaw in the fridge overnight, sliced, and baked it in the morning. It was just as good. So feel free to freeze them for fresh shortbread cookies for future.


Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 28mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg