Mini Shortbread Stacks

Sugar-glazed pecans and tender apricots pleasantly contrast with these shortbread cookies. Serve extra pecans as a snack on their own or sprinkle them on waffles, pancakes, or ice cream sundaes.



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Yield: About 32 cookies
Prep Time: 45 mins
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Ingredients
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    1 1/2  cups 
    pecan halves
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    1/2  cup 
    granulated sugar
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    2   tablespoons 
    butter (no substitutes), cut up
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    1 1/4  cups 
    all-purpose flour
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    3   tablespoons 
    brown sugar
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    1/2  cup 
    butter (no substitutes)
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    2   tablespoons 
    finely chopped pecans
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    8 - 10   
    dried apricots
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    1  8  ounce package 
    cream cheese, softened
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    1/4  cup 
    sifted powdered sugar
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    1   teaspoon 
    finely shredded orange peel
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    1   tablespoon 
    orange juice
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    Mint leaves (optional)

Directions
Glazed Nuts:

1.
For glazed nuts, line a cookie sheet with foil. Butter the foil; set aside. Combine pecan halves, granulated sugar, and the 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy, large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat; shake skillet occasionally until sugar begins to melt. Do not stir. Reduce heat to low; cook until sugar is melted and golden, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Pour onto the prepared cookie sheet. Cool completely. Break into clusters; set aside.
Shortbread:

1.
For shortbread, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the flour and brown sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the 1/2 cup butter, using a pastry blender, until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Stir in finely chopped nuts. Form the mixture into a ball and knead until smooth. Roll out dough 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1-1/2-inch scalloped cookie cutter to cut rounds. Place rounds 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven about 10 minutes or until bottoms just start to brown and cookies are set. Transfer rounds to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.
2.
Meanwhile, place dried apricots in a small bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain and cut apricots into strips.
Cream Cheese Spread:

1.
For cream cheese spread, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add orange peel and juice until combined. If necessary, stir in additional orange juice until of spreading consistency.
2.
To assemble, spread shortbread rounds with cream cheese spread. Top with glazed nuts and apricot strips. If desired, garnish with mint leaves. Makes about 32 cookies.
Make Ahead Tip
  • Prepare nuts up to 3 days ahead; store in airtight container.
Nutrition information
Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 138, Fat, total (g) 10, chol. (mg) 1, sat. fat (g) 4, carb. (g) 11, fiber (g) 1, pro. (g) 1, sodium (mg) 60, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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