This recipe, from pastry chef Ben Mims, appeared in our 2012 Cookie Advent Calendar. Ben says: "Adapted from an old Southern Living recipe, I make these cookies every Christmas for my family. Before the combination of salt and chocolate became en vogue, these cookies had me hooked, thanks to the salty nuts on top of sweet, buttery shortbread and topped with dark chocolate"
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened ½ cup sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 egg yolk 1 ½ cups flour ½ tsp. kosher salt ½ cup salted pecan halves ½ cup salted cashews 12 oz. semisweet or milk chocolate 2 tsp. vegetable shortening
1. Heat oven to 350°. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl and beat on medium speed of hand mixer until smooth and evenly combined. Add vanilla and yolk, and beat until smooth. Add flour and salt, and beat until just combined. Using 2 tablespoons, portion and roll dough into 1" balls; place balls 2" apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, and using the bottom of a glass or measuring cup dusted in flour, press each ball to flatten into a disk. Alternately press pecan halves and cashews around the edge of each dough disk to create a border; bake until lightly golden, about 10–12 minutes. Let cool completely.
2.Combine chocolate and shortening in a bowl and melt in the microwave. Using a spoon, drop about 1 tbsp. chocolate in the center of each cookie so it spreads to the nut border; let chocolate cool to set before serving.