Bake like a blue ribbon winner! Try this cookie recipe from Wisconsin State Fair home baker

MILWAUKEE — Want to bake like a blue ribbon winner? Try this award-winning cookie recipe from Wisconsin State Fair home baker Joan Giesfeldt. It won the Gold Medal Flour Cookie Contest at the 2014 State Fair. Find an entire recipe collection at The 2015 Wisconsin State Fair runs August 6-16. 

Recipe: Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies with Brown Butter Cream Filling

Shortbread Cookie:

2 3/4 cups Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour

3/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans, divided

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or bean paste

Butter Cream Filling:

1/2 cup brown butter

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In bowl of a food processor, pulse together Gold Medal flour, 1/2 cup toasted pecans, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Add butter; pulse until mixture is crumbly. Whisk together cream, egg yolks, and vanilla. With food processor running, slowly pour mixture through spout. Stop processor and pulse until mixture forms a ball. Remove dough. Add in remaining pecans and stir by hand. Place dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Freeze for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay parchment onto cookie sheets.

Butter Cream Filling: Part One. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Cook, stirring constantly until butter foams and turns golden in color and has a nutty aroma. Immediately remove from heat, and strain through at fine mesh sieve. Cool to room temperature.

Remove dough from freezer. Using a 2 1/4 inch ridged cutter, cut as many cookies as possible, rerolling scraps, no more than twice. Using a 1 inch ridged cutter, remove centers from half of the cookies. Sprinkle open center cookies with remaining sugar. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on baking sheets.

Butter cream Filling: Part two. Blend using a mixer at medium high speed, beat brown butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Use cream immediately. Spread about 1 teaspoon butter cream filling onto whole cookies and top with cookies with the center removed. Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Yield: two dozen cookies. Makes 24.