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This is about...a favorite Christmas cookie
     For years I was OBSESSED WITH CHRISTMAS COOKIES. I would start the day after Thanksgiving making thousands of them, at least 15 different kinds. Every year, my reputation preceded itself in that friends and family would start asking me as early as Halloween about when their present from "Santa" would be arriving. It was a lot to do, but I always loved it.
     This is one of my ALL TIME TOP 3. I 've been making them for so long now that I barely remember where the recipe came from. I know I originally saw it in a Family Circle magazine from what I think was the late 70's. It's simple and addictive, beyond being ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! I usually can't help myself when it comes to tweaking recipes, but with this one, I didn't need to change a thing. It's perfect, just the way it is.
      I cut them into diamond shapes, but you can cut them into squares or any size and shape that you like. These are very rich. So don't be surprised if you find yourself eating a bunch of them in one sitting. Happy Holidays! PEACE, LOVE AND JOY TO YOU, YOUR LOVED ONES AND THE WORLD!

LESSONS Learned:
1. Make sure to butter or spray the pan with cooking spray before you line it with the parchment and then again after.
2. Don't over-bake the shortbread crust. It will still have time to bake more with the topping.
3. With the pan still slightly warm, you can gently lift the cookies out of the pan, parchment and all and place them directly onto a cutting board. Just let them COOL COMPLETELY before cutting them into cookies.
4. I like to cut off about 1/2" around all 4 edges first, so that all the cookies look uniform.

(originally from a 1970's Family Circle magazine)

For the shortbread base:
1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened (I use Land 'o Lakes)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I use Heckers)
pinch salt

For the pecan topping:
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Make the shortbread base:
     Place the rack in the center of the oven, and preheat it to 375 degrees. Butter or spray with cooking oil an 8" x 8" square pan, (I like a glass pyrex one). Cut out a 12 " x 12" square piece of parchment, and cut 3 " diagonal slits into each corner. Fit the parchment into the pan, (You may have to tweak it a little to fit). Set aside.
     In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the egg, combine, and then stir in the flour. You can knead the dough a few times to get the flour incorporated.
     Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 13-15 minutes, until the dough is slightly puffed no longer shiny. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the temperature down to 350 degrees.

Make the pecan topping:
     In a small heavy bottomed saucepan, add the butter, 2 sugars and honey. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil, and continue to boil for 2 1/2 minutes more.
     Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the heavy cream. Be careful, because the mixture will bubble up. Return the pot to the heat and boil for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and stir in the pecans, completely coating them. Immediately pour the mixture over the shortbread base. You can gently nudge the pecans around to more evenly redistribute them if you like. Bake for exactly 25 minutes. The topping will not be quite set, but will set up as it cools. Cool completely. Cut into diamond shapes. I cut diagonal lines 1 " apart and then vertical lines 1" apart to create the diamond shape. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 64 small cookies. YUM!
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