Barely adapted from Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo.
Preheat the oven to 325 F (315 F convection). Place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Toast the pecans: Zingerman's prefers the oven at 325 F but I like doing it on the stovetop over medium low heat where I can move the pecans around and keep a close eye on them. However you do it, toast them until fragrant and slightly darker and then remove to a bowl to cool.
Chop the pecans when they are cool. You want pieces close to the size of a pea.
Cook the bacon until browned and crispy, once agin by whatever method you prefer. I cooked an entire package of thick cut bacon in a medium-low oven, and then set aside 3 slices for this recipe. Just make sure the bacon is crisp and not chewy.
When the bacon cools chop it similarly to the pecans.
Whisk the pinch of fine sea salt into the flour. Set aside.
Cream the butter in a stand mixer. When it is creamy, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the sugar. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl again, and then add the water and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated and then repeat scraping again.
Add most of the flour and mix on low speed. When it is mostly incorporated, add the remaining flour as well as the chopped pecans and bacon. Mix on low speed until everything is evenly incorporated and coming together as a dough--do not over-mix.
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the dough out in balls, 12 cookies to a sheet. It is easiest to use a 1-ounce or 2-tablespoons cookie scoop.
Each ball should be slightly flattened--Zingerman's uses their hands, but I chose to use one of my Nordic Ware Geo Cast Cookie Stamps dredged in flour--I knew the "stamp" would not show well, but it did give the cookie some rustic definition. After flattening the cookies, sprinkle them with Demerara or Turbinado sugar and a pinch of coarse or flaky sea salt.
Bake the cookies for 16-18 minutes; if you are not using convection, rotate the sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking. The cookies will be golden on the bottom and just slightly browning on top when they are done.
Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets. Like all shortbread type cookies, these will keep nicely in an airtight container.