Monday, November 2, 2015

Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbreads from Victoria Hamilton!

A very warm welcome to our friend Victoria Hamilton. Victoria writes the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, the Merry Muffin Mysteries, and the Teapot Collector Mysteries. 

WHITE COLANDER CRIME, her most recent book, will be in bookstores everywhere tomorrow! Perfectly timed for the holidays, it takes place during a Dickens Days Festival!

Don't miss out on another one of Victoria's amazing giveaways. It includes books and a tote! Scroll to the bottom for the super easy instructions to enter.

I was raised in a working class home by a assistant nurse mother and welder/philosopher father. We never went without, but life wasn’t lavish. When I moved out, working in retail and then a factory, I was quite poor, just getting by most of the time. It was a gift, really. Some difficult years made me appreciate the relative comfort of today, and I never forget it.

Baking supplies were seldom on the grocery list. Who can afford real butter and chocolate chips on a barely-scraping-by budget? However… I always had brown sugar and flour in the house. One day we had company, an older acquaintance. I made brown sugar cookies; not shortbread, I’m sure, because I would have used margarine, not butter. He raved about them! They reminded him, he said, of the cookies of his childhood. It made me feel so good that he liked them, and I’ve never forgotten that sometimes, simple is… simply wonderful.  

These are not the same recipe, but they’re close, and perhaps even better for the addition of pecans. These, then, are my Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbreads. They are buttery and crisp, good with tea and great for every day, or the holiday season!

Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread Cookies

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup finely chopped pecans (you’ll need almost 2/3 cup whole for ½ cup chopped)
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (I added this, though it is not necessary, but the hint of spice is nice!)
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Coarse Sugar for decorating (optional)

1 – Preheat oven to 350
2 – Line cookie sheet with baking parchment.
3 – Stir flour with salt and pumpkin spice in medium bowl.
4 – Chop pecans quite fine.
5 – Beat butter with sugar in large bowl with electric beater until blended.
6 – Gradually stir in half flour mixture until well blended, then add remaining flour and knead lightly with hands until blended… do not over knead!
7 – Roll out on a floured surface until ¼ inch thick.
8 – Use cookie cutter, or cut into diamonds or rectangles with sharp knife. You can make fork indentations on them if you like, so they look like classic shortbread cookies. Lift carefully onto baking sheet
9 - Bake for 12 – 14 minutes – don’t over bake! They should be a light golden brown. Cool slightly and move to plate.

Cookies will keep well in an airtight container for up to a week, and can be frozen.

Shortbread ingredients.

Mixing shortbread.

Cutting shortbread.

Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbreads

Photos: the cookie cutter is vintage, the teapot is new red transferware, and the cookie plate is vintage unmarked red transferware, just like in the book and on the cover of White Colander Crime. The teacup, part of my collection, is vintage Wedgwood, Covent Garden pattern, though I’ve never seen one with this particular style of saucer.

About the book:
In the new Vintage Kitchen Mystery from the author of No Mallets Intended, the Heritage Society is re-creating a perfect Victorian Christmas—until good tidings go bad...

Queensville has great expectations for their Dickens Days festival. A tourist-trade boom means a big turnout for the opening of Queensville Historic Manor and for Jaymie Leighton, food columnist and vintage cookware collector, a chance to promote the manor and give away homemade goodies.  At the end of a long day of festival fun, Jaymie discovers the battered body of local woman Shelby Fretter.

Shelby predicted her own murder in journal entries—and all clues point to Cody Wainwright, the troubled son of Jaymie’s beleaguered newspaper editor. But considering the entire Fretter family had its share of dirty secrets, Jaymie’s not convinced  by the case against Cody. With twists all over, she’s going to have to work like the Dickens to wrap up this investigation before Christmas—especially with the real killer ready to kill again.


You can find Victoria online:
Victoria Hamilton Mysteries:
Twitter: - or - @MysteryVictoria


Comment for a chance to win this (pictured) super prize package including:
Books… White Colander Crime, Death of an English Muffin and Shadow of a Spout!
A Cozy up to a good mystery! book tote, watercolor pencils, tea and more!

Canadian and US entries welcome. Contest runs November 2nd to Midnight, November 5th. Please comment with your email address, eg: yournname (at) yourserver (dot) com.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. These look fantastic! And I'm in the fruitcake recipe. I adore fruitcake. :D

    kadiebleu (at) gmail (dot) com

    (now with my email typed correctly)

  3. Shortbread favorite! Wonderful set of books! All of them on my must-read list.

  4. The cookies look yummy! Thank you for the recipe and a chance to win.

  5. This recipe sounds scrumptious and the book sounds great! Thank you for sharing and for the chance at this awesome giveaway!

  6. What a wonderful flavor of cookie for fall in our run up to Thanksgiving. I love the idea of nibbling though a plate of these, pot of tea on the table and good book in hand.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  7. I'd love to try the fruitcake! I have this book on my wish list.

  8. Thank you for the Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread Cookie recipe ... sounds delicious!

  9. What a lovely reminder that the hard times make us appreciate the good times, Victoria. I love this cover! I would snatch it right off the shelf!

  10. I like shortbread but have never made it.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  11. I am excited to continue reading this wonderful series. And the recipe shared today sounds delicious. I am very excited to see the fruitcake recipe in the book!


  12. The cookies look great. The books look even better. Thank you for the chance!

  13. The recipe sounds as great as the book.

  14. Thank you for the give away. I'd like to try the recipe also.

  15. I've always enjoy your books and always eagerly awaiting new ones.

  16. Gracious I love the sound of these cookies , and I already love your books , so win , win ! Thank you for such a lovely giveaway !

  17. I'm always looking for good cookie recipes--and ones that aren't chocolate. This recipe sounds just perfect. I'd like to nibble on the cookies while reading your good cozies.

  18. I pinned the recipe to my Pinterest page for future use. The books in your giveaway are making me drool as badly as the shortbread did. I'd love to add them and the bookbag to my collection.

    NoraAdrienne (at) gmail (dot) com

  19. I love shortbread cookies so I am definitely trying these. they sound perfect to snack on while curled up with a good mystery.

    eswright18 at gmail dot com

  20. I adore shortbread cookies and will make these to take to work (if I keep them at home, I'll eat all of them myself !). Looking forward to this new book. The library has it on order. hharra (at) bsu (dot) edu.

  21. I love cozies, love giveaways, and shortbread cookies. These sound like the ones my grandmother used to make every holiday, and I'm 73 so that was eons ago. BTW, this series is wonderful and I'm awaiting my copy of WHITE COLANDER CRIME. Thanks for the great series.

  22. I need to try the shortbread recipe. I love cookies!

  23. Hello Victoria, I always look forward to reading all of your books, thanks for writing them! Have a wonderful November Maureen

  24. Hi, Victoria! LOL the Vintage Kitchen series has inspired me to love my own vintage (okay, old) kitchen. I used to want to remodel it, Now I just want to furnish it with vintage items and brands! I suppose it's a little cheaper, LOL! Love shortbread - I can't make pie crust to save myself, but I can make shortbread. Odd, hmm? My email is phenomshel at live dot com.

  25. Buttery shortbread with pecans? I think I'm in heaven.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  26. Great prize package!! This cookie recipe makes my mouth water it sounds so yummy.

  27. Thanks for the recipe! I love brown sugar, pecans, and shortbread. I'm planning to make them for the man I love and his front office staff. They should be a hit. White Colander Crime on my wish list.

  28. Even after too much Halloween candy, these cookies made me really hungry. Thanks for the chance to win.

  29. Would love to win! Thanks for the chance.

  30. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway. Can't wait to try the cookies.

  31. I love a nice shortbread and this recipe looks divine. I can't wait to try it.

  32. I love this series and would love to win this wonderful prize package. The recipe looks amazing too!! Than k you for the chance.

  33. Have to try the pecan shortbread cookies! I love most anything with pecans as I grew up on a pecan grove.
    Gatorgirl56 at gmail dot com

  34. This would be awesome to win! moriah93ohio(at)yahoo(dot).com

  35. Your cookies sound good. I can't wait to try them. My mom made icebox cookies. Another simple cookie made with ingredients most have in their kitchens other than the nuts. I'd love to win your prize package. lkish77123 at gmail dot com

    1. Linda... icebox cookies! The kind with candied fruit in them? I had forgotten about them. Maybe I'll make them to give away this Christmas to friends.

  36. I love shortbread, and your cookies sound amazing. Your china is lovely--I especially like the Covet Garden cup and saucer. Thank you for such a great giveaway!

    1. I love teacups and saucers! This was a thrift store find... Wedgwood for $3.99!!

  37. Thank you so much for the recipe I am going to try that. I am looking forward to reading this, thanks for the review, Penney

  38. What a fabulous prize! Thanks for the chance to win! And thanks for the recipe.

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com