Pecan Lemon Shortbread Hearts

1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
4 teaspoons lemon zest
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cups unsalted butter, chilled; cut in ½-inch cubes
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces
Vanilla sugar; optional

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. In food processor combine the flour, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and salt. Process briefly until well mixed. Add the butter and vanilla and, using rapid off-on pulses cut in until the mixture resembles a fine meal. Add the pecans and process until finely chopped.
3. Transfer the mixture to a large sheet of waxed paper and gather together into a flat disk. Top with a second sheet of waxed paper. Roll out the dough ¼-inch thick. Using a 3-inch or smaller heart shaped cutter, cut out cookies.
4. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheets, spacing them ½-inch apart. Gather up the scraps and repeat. Sprinkle the cookies with vanilla sugar if desired.
5. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes until just beginning to color. Transfer to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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