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Cocoa Nib Pecan Shortbread Cookies on a marble slab ready to eat.

Cocoa Nibby Pecan Shortbread Cookies

*Advance Prep Required* A cherished and easy shortbread cookie, these Cocoa Nibby Pecan Shortbread Cookies make a generous homemade gift or a festive treat. Make ahead and freeze for later or bake and enjoy a long storage life.  *Plan ahead! These cookies need to rest in the refrigerator for at least two hours prior to baking.
NOTE: Prep time above is an estimate based on my experience making these cookies. This time can vary depending on baker experience.
UPDATE (12/20) For Vegan or Egg Free options, see notes.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Pecan Shortbread Cookies, Shortbread Cookie Recipe
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours 48 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 41 minutes
Servings 53 Cookies
Calories 95kcal
Author Traci York | Vanilla And Bean


  • 1 C (112g) Pecan Halves
  • 2 Sticks (16 Tbs/226g) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 C (170g) Cane Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbs Bourbon *see note
  • 2 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 C (40g) Cocoa Nibs
  • 1 C (170g) All Purpose Flour
  • 1 C (170g) White Whole Wheat Flour aka Ivory Wheat Flour or sub All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Egg White optional
  • Turbinado or Raw Sugar for sprinkling if using the egg white.


  • Preheat oven to 325F (163C). Spread the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast for about 8 minutes or until fragrant. Allow to cool, then chop into small pieces. 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, cane sugar, sea salt and vanilla bean extract. Mix on medium for about 2 minutes or until smooth (not fluffy), stopping to scrape bowl at least once. Add the bourbon and mix again on medium for about 30 seconds, or until incorporated. Scrape down bowl. Add the cocoa nibs and pecans and mix on low until just incorporated. Scrape down bowl. Add the flour all at once, pulse to start, then mix on medium until the dough forms somewhat of a ball on the paddle and has pulled away from sides of the bowl.
  • On a floured work surface, dump out dough and divide in half. Shape each clump into a log, 2" (5cm) thick, gently rolling and adding flour as needed so it wont stick to you or the work surface. You'll want to make sure a hollow doesn't develop in the center of the log as this will create a hole in the middle of the cookie. It this occurs, rest the dough for about 10 minutes, then use your rolling pin to beat and condition the dough, then reroll pinching where needed to avoid the dreaded hollow log! Once the log is shaped, wrap each log in plastic wrap. Carefully place in refrigerator on a flat surface for at least two hours or up to two days. 
  • At this point the dough can be frozen for up to two months. Be sure to double wrap the logs if freezing.
  • Remove the log(s) from the refrigerator, unwrap the log. Using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of egg white all over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the log with turbinado or raw sugar, rolling it as needed to cover the surface areas.
  • Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Using a serrated knife, cut the cookies 1/4" (6mm) thick, without sawing but rather with a firm cut down. Place on sheet pan with at least 1" (2 1/2 cm) between cookies. Place back in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (do not skip this step or the cookies will spread). Preheat oven to 325F (160C).
  • Bake cookies for 23-26 minutes or until golden, starting to check on them at about 20 minutes due to oven variations. They'll be darker on the bottom than the top when done.
    Remove from oven and using an offset spatula, carefully transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. They'll crisp up as they cool. 
  • Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to two weeks.



*Water may be substituted for bourbon if desired. 
To Make Egg Free Cookies: Omit the egg wash and sugar on the surface of the cookie log. Bake as directed. 
To Make Vegan Cookies: Use Earth Balance buttery sticks, add just a pinch of salt and omit egg wash and sugar on the surface of the cookie log. Reduce the bake time to 19-23 minutes. They tend to brown quicker than with dairy butter. 
Recipe adapted from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet.


Calories: 95kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 114IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg