Double rum makes these flavorful cookies doubly irresistible
Shortbread with pecans and rum. How did that happen?
Well, Mrs. Kitchen Riffs set out to make some plain shortbread cookies. But she was feeling nut-crazed—and happened to have some nice pecans on hand. So she couldn’t resist grinding them up and adding them to the dough. The result was delish, but it cried out for holiday flavoring. And what could be more festive than rum? In went a couple teaspoons.
The cookies that emerged from the oven were wonderful, with a subtle rum note. Then Mrs K R said, “Oh, hey, it’s holiday time. Let’s get down and decadent!”
So she doubled the fun by adding a rum-flavored frosting. Which made these cookies epic, IMHO. I bet you’ll agree.
Recipe: Rum-Frosted Pecan Shortbread Cookies
As the intro to this post suggests, these are fancied up shortbread cookies. They somewhat resembe our Black Walnut Sandies. But Mrs. Kitchen Riffs (the baker in our household) got some additional ideas from a pecan shortbread recipe by Monica Glass. The frosting makes these morsels rich and irresistible.
Mixing the dough for these cookies takes 20 to 30 minutes. Then you need to chill the dough for at least half an hour in the freezer (or an hour in the fridge). It takes another 15 minutes or so to cut the cookies and bake them (though you may need to bake multiple rounds).
This recipe makes about 3 to 4 dozen cookies (depending on how large you make them). They keep well for a week or more if stored in an airtight container.
For the cookies:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup pecans, coarsely ground
- 2 teaspoons dark rum (can substitute vanilla extract)
- 1 additional stick unsalted butter, melted
- 16 ounces confectioner’s sugar
- 2 additional tablespoons dark rum (or to taste; optional)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pecan halves for garnish (optional)
For the cookies:
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, and salt). Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer), cream the butter with the brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in the ground pecans and beat until well blended. Add the dark rum and mix well.
- Tear off an 18-inch length of wax or parchment paper. Spoon a few dollops of dough down the length of the paper until you’ve formed a strip about 10 to 12 inches long and about 2 inches thick (the dough will be soft). Fold the paper lightly around the dough. Using your hands to press against the paper with a slight rolling action, shape the dough into an oblong-shaped log. Repeat until you have formed all the dough into logs.
- Wrap the dough in the paper, then place in plastic wrap or a plastic food storage bag. Place the dough logs in the freezer for at least half an hour, or in the refrigerator for at least a full hour (can chill overnight; see Notes).
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place one rack in the lower third position, the other in the upper third position. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Unwrap the chilled dough (which should now be firm) and place on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into slices of ¼ inch or so. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them about an inch apart.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are set and becoming brown around the edges. Halfway through, reverse the cookie sheets (switch from top to bottom, and front to back) to ensure even baking.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on their sheets for five minutes. Then, using a wide spatula, transfer them to a wire rack to continue cooling. While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting (see below).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer), mix 1 stick of melted butter with the confectioner’s sugar until smooth.
- Add rum (if using), then vanilla extract. Beat until fluffy.
- Use a knife or spatula to frost each cookie generously. Garnish with pecan halves, if desired. Serve and enjoy.
- Adding cornstarch to the dough helps keep the cookies soft. You could probably substitute cake flour for the combo of all-purpose flour-plus-cornstarch, but we haven’t tried this.
- You can substitute light brown sugar in this recipe, though we think dark brown yields the best flavor.
- For grinding the pecans, we generally use a mini-food processor. A few quick whirls is enough to grind pecans (or other nuts, such as walnuts) to the perfect texture.
- You could substitute light or amber rum in this recipe. But dark rum adds a particularly rich note to these cookies. We used Myers’s Jamaican, but any decent brand of dark rum should work.
- If you don’t want to use alcohol in these cookies, you can substitute vanilla extract or another flavoring of your choice.
- You can mix the dough for these cookies a day ahead, and then chill it overnight. When ready to bake, just proceed with Step 5 of the cookie procedure.
- These cookies are best when the dough is sliced fairly thin and the cookies are baked until they’re starting to brown.
“Probably should put out a plate of these for Santa on Christmas Eve,” I said, taking another cookie.
“Yup,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Santa Claus must be a cookie expert by now. It would be nice to get his professional opinion.”
“After one of these, he’ll probably rustle up some particularly nice presents for you,” I said. “Don’t forget to pour him a glass of milk, too.”
“Think I’ll put out a cocktail instead,” said Mrs K R. “I’ll bet free drinks are what he relies on to keep warm in that open sleigh.”
“Hey, you’re right,” I said. “That must be why he’s so jolly.”
“And you know all that milk people put out for him?” added Mrs K R. “He gives it to his reindeer.”
Merry Christmas to all. And to all a good bite.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Lemon-Almond Glazed Cookies
PB&J Thumbprint Coookies
Double Orange Dark Chocolate Cookies
Almond Sugar Cookies
Anise Drop Cookies
Chocolate Drop Cookie
Chocolate Pepper Cookies
Coconut Kisses (Macaroons)
Black Walnut Sandies
Or check out the index for more recipes
Oh John, leave it to you and the Mrs to come up with a yummy spiked cookie. These I'm certain would be gobbled up in no time in my house. Great for parties too! Thanks for sharing.
These are very similar to my favorite holiday cookie called a Pecan Butter Ball; except for the booze. They were my Grandma's recipe so I've always hesitated to change them up but I just know she enjoyed a tipple or two and probably wouldn't mind!
These cookies would be way too addictive, especially with that frosting :D
Hi Vicki, these really are nice! Tons of flavor and we like the way they look, too. The frosting is perfection! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Barb, it's fun to both make recipes as written, and tinker with them. Because you just never know. ;-) I'll bet your grandma would like this one! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Uru, back from your travels? These really are addictive - the frosting is incredible! Thanks for the comment, and I hope your holidays are wonderful.
Pecans are my favorite nuts and I have a large container full and I have a bottle of Bacardi 8 dedicated for baking this year. I guess you know what I'll be doing with them.
I love the look of these, John. What great cookies. I love how the recipe makes enough for a small army too. And rum and pecans? Delicious combination. We always leave Santa a beer and some shortbread. And that reminds me - I'm well stocked for beer but am yet to bake any shortbread. And I'm sure today's not the day for it - it will be 37C in Sydney today (98.6F) xx
Hi Karen, Bacardi 8 has great flavor! Wonderful for baking. Have fun! And thanks for the comment.
Hi Charlie, 37C? Yikes, that's warm! Santa will enjoy that beer. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi John , one more cookie to bake and this is it , I can just taste them now , HMmm the rum , I love the idea you can freeze them and bake later , that way I won't run out . I showed the photo to my kids and told the what type and they said yippee , mama is going to make some drunk cookies , thanks so much for sharing and a very Merry Christmas to you , Mrs. K R and family . :)
Santa is one lucky guy if he's getting a plate full of these. I'm sure the reindeer will be most happy, too! ;)
I love this cookie! And i never knew that about the reindeer and the milk! Have a wonderful holiday with Mrs. KR, John. It has been a great year reading all of your posts and I'm looking forward to another one! Cheers!
Hi Nee, your kids are so much fun! These are delish - I think you'll enjoy. We sure did! Thanks for the comment, and I hope your Christmas is wonderful.
Hi Carolyn, Santa really does score with both cookies and cocktails when he visits us! ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Abbe, that reindeer and milk deal is a little known fact. ;-) Thanks for those kind greetings, and for taking time to comment. I hope you and the Manservant have a wonderful holiday!
Looks like everyone is making shortbreads this week. They're such great holiday cookies and I love the rum icing on yours. They look delicious! They'd be dangerous in my house because I have absolutely no willpower! Thanks!
Did you look like a "Santa Claus" with white creamy topping stuck on your lips after enjoying these cookies??? - LOL! I thought you would.
Merry Christmas and Happy 2014!!!
I always suspected that reindeer and milk trick - Santa you goofy man. I'm pretty sure the milk slows them down. Cocktails and beer this year so Santa can make his way down here, okay?
I'm sure he'd like one of these lovely shortbread cookies though. No calories for Santa.
Pecan shortbreads taste delicious but with the rich creamy rum frosting it sure goes decadent and beyond delicious....what brilliant ideas to add pecan grounds and top the cookies with rum frosting...a definite for these holidays,thanks so much for this inspiration...HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! :-)
Cookies with 3 stick of butter and rum - definitely a perfect holiday cookie! :) A very unique and delicious looking cookie! Hope y'all have a wonderful holiday season!
Oh, yeah, bring on the rum for the holidays! Your booze infused cookies sound amazing. Merry Christmas to you and Mrs. KR!
Hi BIll, I know all too well that lack of willpower thing! And shortbread cookies are wonderful - no wonder we're all making them. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Zoe, how did you know I'm not the dandiest eater in the world? ;-) Merry Christmas to you, and I hope your New Year's is wonderful. And thanks for taking time to comment.
Hi Maureen, Santa doesn't mind slow reindeer - gives him more time to enjoy his cocktail. ;-) And don't worry, he'll be showing up at your house. Just leave out those cocktails, OK? ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Kumar, they're really good, and that frosting is wonderful. Happy Holidays to you, and thanks for the comment.
Hi MJ, Mrs K R doesn't stint on butter! We're having a great holiday season and hope you're having the same. And thanks for the comment!
Hi Liz, one can never have too much booze at this time of the year! Merry Christmas to you, and thanks for the comment.
Pretty cookies! Merry Christmas to you and Mrs. K R
Hi Alyssa, thanks! And Merry Christmas to you!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Simply gorgeous cookies with all the right holiday flavors! I use booze as flavoring a lot when baking. Have a wonderful Christmas week both of you!
Oh My Gorgonzola! Rum-frosted cookies? Decadent is right, John. I love 'em. It Is Christmas, after all. Either go big or buy Oreos. I'm so glad you went big. Thanks for sharing a great recipe and for the smiles.
Wishing you and Mrs KR the very best of holidays, John. Happy New Year!
These will be perfect and I think I have all the ingredients.
Santa will love these. I hope you post what cocktail you leave out for him!! Happy holidays!!!!!
These cookies sure are impressive! WOW!
Hi Rosa, it's a wonderful cookie! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!
Hi Paula, isn't this nice? Booze in cooking, particularly baked goods, is so nice. Thanks for the comment, and I hope you have a terrific Christmas too!
Hi John, you're right about the going big or buying Oreos! ;-) Thanks for the comment, and I hope you have a terrific Christmas and happy and prosperous New Year.
Hi Candy, aren't these so nice? Such a great cookie! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Debra, you can check out Santa's cocktail this Wednesday. ;-) Thanks for the comment, and I hope your holidays are wonderful!
Hi Shashi, aren't they nice? Truly terrific! Thanks for the comment.
These sound amazing. So glad that you and Mrs Kitchen Riffs went the whole hog and doused them in rum frosting, yum!!!! Definitely loving the idea of these cookies as a Boxing day baking activity. Bookmarked, thanks John! Merry Christmas to you and the family!
Pecan Shortbreads are a favorite of mine. I like the use of the cornstarch. It adds a silkiness to all kinds of cookies but especially shortbread. And you know the rummy touch to the cookies and frosting just has to be out of this world! Mrs. K.R. sure does know how to please Santa:) I wonder if I would be going overboard if I baked up some of these cookies for Santa and left him a Rum Toddy to "wash" them down:)
Thank you so much for sharing, John. I sure am looking forward to that drink on Christmas Eve. Cheers!
I may have to reevaluate my Christmas baking plans - these cookies look delightful. I love cookies with frosting!
Hi Laura, it's a pretty safe bet that Mrs K R and I will go the whole hog! ;-) You'll enjoy making these. Thanks for taking time to comment, and Merry Christmas to you!
Hi Louise, I think a rum toddy is absolutely called for! ;-) Thanks for the comments
Hi Laura, they're really great! And I agree frosting on cookies can be fun. Thanks for the comment.
Epic indeed. Those cookies look awesome. And a merry Christmas to you, too!
Hi Beth, aren't they nice? Thanks for commenting, and I hope your holidays are wonderful!
Santa would be very grateful to receive some of these delights! Happy baking and season's eatings to you both. xox
Down and Decadent, indeed!! I'm loving this idea. Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!
Alcohol + Cookies = Big winner in my book!
Hi Lizzy, Santa would indeed be grateful! ;-) Seasonings eatings to you, too, and thanks for taking time to comment.
Hi Dan, isn't this so nice? I hope you have a wonderful holiday!
Hi Amanda, it really is a winner! Fun to make, more fun to eat. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Those cookies are perfect for this season!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to your family!
Yes adding rum is just heavenly.
I love using captain morgan, as it has booze, but it has a nice little bit of spice to it, so it doesn't just taste like rum--you know?
Merry Christmas to you!
Yes, I would love to try these cookies, double shot of rum...in the cookie and frosting...
Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you and Mrs. K R
Hi John, very nice and addictive cookies. Thanks for sharing the recipe and as usual, excellent pictures.
Merry Christmas to you and all at home.
Warm greetings from Malaysia.
Hi Raymund, aren't they nice? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!
Hi Dawn, I've never tried Captain Morgan - will have to give it a try sometime (although generally if I want spiced rum, I just add my own spices). Merry Christmas!
Hi Juliana, aren't these cookies nice? The rum is so tasty. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Hi Amelia, addictive cookies are the best kind. ;-) Merry Christmas!
How do you make cookies even better? Rum-flavored frosting, clearly! These look so good. I'm hankering for one now! Thank you for sharing. I hope you and yours have a beautiful Christmas!
Hi Monet, that rum frosting is really good. ;-) I hope you have a terrific Christmas!
I absolutely love to bake with spirit and would never substitute it for vanilla extract. These cookies are right up my alley and I would happily devour a plateful of it. Delish John, thanks for sharing. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Oh my -- these look wonderful. I wish I had seen these earlier. I'm definitely pinning them for next year. Merry Christmas!!
I agree with Mrs. KR: it's totally time to get decadent! and you did just that: a really great cookie for the holidays, to be sure. Happy Holidays to you and your family, John! (and stay out of the cold today! brrr. ) :)
Hi Anne, isn't baking (and cooking!) with spirits fun? Thanks for the comment and greetings, and I hope your and yours have a terrific holiday season!
Hi Amy, as you say, there's always next year. ;-) Thanks for the comment, and Merry Christmas!
Hi Shannon, getting decadent is good! We'll be out in the cold today — if we don't get our walk in, we get crazed! But we'll really bundle up — it's really cold! Thanks for the comment, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday.
Hi John , Just popped in to wish you and Mrs. K R a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours .:)
These cookies are definitely festive John! And I know Santa will appreciate them greatly along with one of your famous cocktails. Which one do you think he'd like? So many too choose from....
Wishing you and Mrs KR, a very happy and merry Christmas! Have a wonderful day tomorrow
Hi Nee, thanks! And merry Christmas from Mrs K R and me to your family. ;-)
Hi Nazneen, by the time Santa gets to our house he'll be really frazzled and ready to have one of every cocktail we've featured this holiday season. ;-) I hope you have a wonderful Christmas too, and thanks for the comment.
John, I thought I liked my chocolate covered pecan shortbread cookies, but your cookies top mine! Rum frosted - now, that sounds delicious! Great choice of cookies and a great unusual recipe. Merry Christmas, John, and cheers to a Happy New Year! :)
Hi Julia, it's hard not to like every cookie at this time of the year! I thought yours looked wonderful. Thanks for the comment, and I hope you have a terrific holiday.
Just wanted to stop back by to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.
Hi Karen, how nice of you! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year's!
I don't think I had shortbread cookies that are frosted. And with rum... must be so delicious! :) Happy Holidays to you and Mrs. K R!
Hi Nami, these are really worth trying - the frosting is extraordinary! Happy Holidays to you and your family!
These look so gorgeous! I have a big bag of pecans sitting at home, now I know what to do with them ;)
Hi Christine, always happy to help those who are lucky enough to have pecans on hand! Thanks for the comment.
I always love seeing sweet treats on your blog, John--Mrs. KR was spot-on with the rum in these shortbread cookies. Looks like these could make a wonderful care package gift, eh? Might have to do that soon, I know quite a few pals who love their shortbread. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Ala, these would indeed be a wonderful care package. ;-) Your friends would enjoy this, trust me. Thanks for the comment.
Oh I love alllll your cookies. This one is a personal fave as shortbread and pecans are my crack. Don't mind the rum too :-)
Have a great holiday season John and thanks for your support, your kindness and your wonderful comments this year past.
One of a kind....you are. Best wishes to Mrs KR!
Hi Kitchen Butterfly, aren't these such nice cookies? Crack indeed! Thanks for your kind words, and comment.
No need to let me know how long they'd store.. there wouldn't be a crumb left behind after one evening:) I love the idea of rum in the icing and the pecan on top is perfect!
Hi Barbara, yeah, that storage thing really isn't an issue for most of us, is it? ;-) The icing on this is wonderful - definitely worth trying. Thanks for the comment.
Pecan cookies are one of my mama's favorite, so Christmas or not, this would be a awesome gift to send back home to her! :)
Hi Pamela, this is one of those "Christmas" cookies that works throughout the year! Your mama needs these. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
I am so craving for pecans these days after eying my friend's creations with pecans. Even if christmas is over, I would make those for sure. Just need to find pecans! Thanks for sharing your recipe John!
Hi Helene, pecans are so wonderful! One of the best nuts, IMO. These are nice for Christmas, but great any time! Thanks for the comment.
I'm completely in love with these cookies.Rum and pecans and icing, this is heaven.
Hi Kim, aren't the flavors in this wonderful? We need to make another batch! Thanks for the comment.
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