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Trip report: Prickly Pear Orange Pecan Shortbread Cookies

So I’m in the third week of this whole “baking cookies inspired by each of our 50 states” thing, and I’m already regretting calling it “Cookies Across America.” Real missed opportunity there. But “Getting Baked with Shadi” is too cliché, and “United Cookies of Shadmerica” is just dumb.

Oh, well.

Today, I represented my home state of Arizona with a cookie so involved that I get bored before I even finish typing the recipe name: Prickly Pear Orange Pecan Shortbread Cookies. I’m going to be honest with you: prickly pear really isn’t my thing, and the “fruit spread” I acquired from Whole Foods was bitter as all hell. This recipe should not have worked. But, friends, it easily beats out the cookies from Alaska and Alabama. Like, it’s not even a close competition.

Where do I start? There’s the richness of the pecans, the citrus notes in the glaze and just the right combo of sweetness and crunch from the cookie. And the glaze provided the kick needed to temper the acrid prickly pear filling. It just works. Perhaps the only thing that didn’t work was the recipe author’s method for applying the glaze.

She used a fork. I used a fork, too. Yet, my glaze didn’t slide off each tine to create a rustic criss-cross pattern. It looked, well, perverse.

Shortbread

The X-rated appearance is compounded by the fact that I ignored the recipe’s call for “clear vanilla extract.” As it turns out, when brown vanilla and orange extracts are mixed with white sugar, the results look like something you wouldn’t want your boss seeing on a computer screen. The slipshod way I applied the glaze doesn’t help that mental image.

At least they taste good.