Recipe: Pecan Shaker Cookies

This simple recipe is based on one from a Pleasant Hill, Kentucky recipe book. Pleasant Hill, Kentucky is a historic Shaker village and current destination open to visitors and overnight guests—an experience I highly recommend. You can learn about my visit to Pleasant Hill in a few of my posts from a cross-country trip I took years ago.

The recipe results in a pleasant cookie with a light, sweet taste and the pecans add a natural sweet, buttery flavor. You can prepare the recipe in a few ways. I chose to roll the dough into a cylinder, chill and slice. I made 2 cylinders so they were a manageable size. This made approximately 50 small (2 to 2 1/2 in) cookies in total. I experimented with different baking times, from 8 to 9 minutes. What I found is if you let the edges brown (9min) the cookie will be a bit more crisp and biscuit like. At 8 minutes—with just a hint of brown on the bottom edges (if any)—the cookie is still slightly tender, more like my idea of a shortbread.

Simple Shaker Cookies Recipe (with my addition of pecans)


  • 1/2 C butter
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C rough chopped pecans


Cream butter and sugar until well blended. Beat in egg and vanilla, mixing well. Sift dry ingredients together. Add this and chopped pecans to creamed mixture. Chill for at least 2 hours, then roll and cut on floured surface. (This dough can be rolled in a wax paper cylinder and sliced and baked after chilling. For cookie presses omit the chilling.) Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until firm but not brown.

(This recipe has many uses. It’s basic for fancy-shaped holiday cookies, plain icebox cookies or drop cookies.)

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