Coconut Pecan Shortbread Cookies with Caramel Filling

3 dozen

Double down on rich shortbread cookies by filling them with gooey caramel.


  • ½ cup sweetened desiccated coconut

  • ½ cup pecans

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough

  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the Filling

  • cup sugar

  • ¼ cup heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. To make the shortbread: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place coconut on a baking sheet, and toast until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring halfway through. Transfer the coconut to a cutting board, and finely chop. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

  2. Spread the pecans on the baking pan, and toast until fragrant and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Transfer the pecans to a cutting board, and finely chop. Add to bowl with the coconut.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract, flour, and salt; beat to combine. Stir in coconut and pecans.

  4. Form the dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill until firm, 30 to 45 minutes.

  5. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/4-inch-thick. Using a 2 1/4-inch fluted pastry cutter, cut out 68 rounds. Place the rounds, spaced 1 inch apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate dough 5 to 10 minutes. Using a 3/4-inch round aspic cutter, or the large end of a pastry tip, cut out and discard the centers from 34 cookies, making top halves.

  6. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking time. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container, at room temperature until ready to use

  7. To make the filling: Place the sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Set over medium-high heat, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, and cook until dark amber in color, about 5 minutes. Use a pastry brush, dipped in water, to wash down sides of pan to prevent crystallization as the mixture boils. Remove saucepan from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cream and butter. Transfer to a medium bowl, and let cool.

  8. To assemble the cookies: Spoon or pipe about 1/2 teaspoon caramel in the center of each of the bottom halves, and sandwich both halves together. Drizzle remaining caramel over the tops of the cookies. Let the caramel set at least 2 hours, and up to overnight.

Cook's Notes

Chill the dough well before rolling it out and loosen it from the work surface with a spatula several times during rolling. Before baking, choose the best-shaped cookies to be the tops, and cut holes in their centers with an aspic cutter or the large end of a pastry tip. When the cookies are assembled, a bead of caramel will show through the center.

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