Butter Pecan Cookies.

Buttery, soft ‘n chewy cookies exploding with toasted pecans and brown sugar flavor. 

Buttery, soft ‘n chewy cookies exploding with toasted pecans and brown sugar flavor!

Welcome to recipe #2 of my Christmas Cookie Palooza! Just like last year, we’re celebrating the holidays with 10 new cookie recipes. Bake one, bake two, heck… bake all ten recipes and join the cookie monster madness.

Sally's Christmas Cookie Palooza

Maybe it’s just me, but I think butter pecan is an underrated ice cream flavor. Quite often overlooked and running with the “boring” pistachio and rum raisin ice cream crowd. For the record, I love all three of these ice cream flavors! And that’s exactly why I made today’s cookie recipe. They’re salty, they’re sweet, and they’re rich with butter flavor.

Buttery, soft ‘n chewy cookies exploding with toasted pecans and brown sugar flavor!

Along with pie and more pie, I made these butter pecan cookies for Thanksgiving last week. Baked them on Tuesday and by Thursday, half were gone. And then the entire batch was mysteriously missing on Friday morning.

If it’s not their chewy edges, soft centers, and buttery flavor– it’s the toasted pecans that make these cookies so incredible. Emphasis on the toasted! The toasty, nutty flavor of these pecans is crucial to their flavor. If you’ve never toasted nuts before adding them to a recipe, you are missing out. The flavor is 84573849% better. I actually did the calculation yesterday; it’s really that much better.

Diamond of California is my go-to brand when it comes to baking with nuts. Chop up the pecan halves (or simply use chopped pecans) then bake at 300F for 15 minutes, stirring once during that time. In test batches, I only used 1 cup of toasted chopped pecans. But taste testers and I agree that you need plenty more nuts in the cookie dough! Around 1 and 1/2 cups is ideal. The more pecans, the butter. I mean better.

Butter Pecan Cookies with Toasted Pecans

If you haven’t noticed, butter plays a big role in today’s cookie recipe.

Food Science // Nerd Alert

As I’ve explained recently, butter is where most cookie recipes begin. It has several jobs, including keeping the cookies tender and also imparting flavor. As today’s butter pecan cookies bake, the milk proteins inside of the butter begin to brown– giving these cookies a nutty flavor. Which is intensified with the toasted pecans. A win win butter pecan situation.

Not only this, how butter is mixed into cookie dough affects a cookie’s texture. In my Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe, I use melted butter. Melted butter is what makes them so insanely dense and fudge-like. But with today’s cookies, I chose to cream the butter and sugars together. During this creaming process, air is incorporated into the dough which, in turn, helps leaven the cookies as they bake. The cookies rise up, the centers stay soft, and the edges slightly crisp and become chewy.

You’ll notice that this cookie dough is supremely soft and a little sticky. And you know what’s best for soft, sticky cookie dough? Chilling. Chill this dough for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. What a drag, right… waiting for cookie dough to chill. But trust me about this one. Chilling allows the cookie dough to thicken and the brown sugar*, butter, and toasted pecan flavors to enhance. The longer you chill, the better. Just remember that the longer you chill the cookie dough, the longer you should let it sit out at room temperature before rolling into balls and baking. The results of chilling this cookie dough are worth the wait.

*I use a higher ratio of brown sugar to white sugar in this cookie recipe. Brown sugar = rich flavor, ultimate chewiness, moist texture, and soft cookie centers. Brown sugar compliments the butter pecan flavor so well. You’ll love it!

Buttery, soft ‘n chewy cookies exploding with toasted pecans and brown sugar flavor!

I rolled some cookie dough balls in sugar, others I did not. The sugar makes the baked cookies have a beautiful sparkle, but really doesn’t do much in terms of flavor– besides (duh) just making the cookies taste sweeter and less salty/sweet.

So, coat the cookie dough balls in sugar if you’d like.

Buttery, soft ‘n chewy cookies exploding with toasted pecans and brown sugar flavor!

These cookies are perfect for the holidays because they are slightly more complex in flavor than say, a delightful decorated sugar cookie. Everyone will love their chewy edges, toasty flavor, and soft centers. I guarantee they’ll disappear just as quickly as they did in this house. If you want to go overboard, and you totally should, crush them up and sprinkle on top of butter pecan ice cream.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Butter Pecan Cookies

Buttery, soft 'n chewy cookies exploding with toasted pecans and brown sugar flavor. This cookie dough required chilling - at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (195g) Diamond of California chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light brown sugar (or dark brown)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature preferred
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (312g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional

  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar, for rolling
  • sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. In a 300F degree oven, toast the chopped pecans on a large parchment paper or silicone mat-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes. Stir twice during this time. Turn oven off and set pecans aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in eggs and vanilla on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Add the toasted chopped pecans, mix on low for about 5-10 seconds until evenly distributed. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough.
  4. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes-- if the cookie dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  6. Once chilled, the dough might be slightly crumbly, but will come together if you work the dough with your hands as you roll into individual balls. Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each, into balls. You may roll the cookie dough balls into the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar listed under the "optional" ingredients. It's optional because I merely did this for looks-- the sugar gives them a pretty sparkle. Or you can bake the cookies without the sugar rolling and sprinkle with a little sea salt when they come out of the oven. If you love salty/sweet, do the sea salt.
  7. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes (13 minutes for crispier cookies), until slightly golden brown around the edges. My oven has hot spots and yours may too- so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time. The baked cookies will look extremely soft in the centers when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. If the cookies are too puffy, try gently pressing down on them with the back of a spoon. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. Make ahead tip: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Baked cookies freeze well - up to three months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well - up to three months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

See more Christmas Cookie Palooza recipes.

Buttery, soft ‘n chewy cookies exploding with toasted pecans and brown sugar flavor!

Guess what I’m doing this week! How cool is this… I’m working with Diamond of California’s Twitter for a week. Ask me all your baking questions and I’ll try my hardest to get it answered for ya. Make sure you hashtag #DearDiamond and tag Diamond Nuts (@diamondnuts) and me (@sallysbakeblog) too. Yay, holiday baking’s in full force.

PS: There’s a giveaway, too! Each day, Diamond of California will choose 1 twitter follower who asked me a question under #DearDiamond and that person will win an autographed copy of my cookbook, Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook. Yay, fellow cookie monsters.

Dear Diamond Twitter Sweepstakes

I’m working with Diamond of California to bring you this recipe!

Buttery, soft ‘n chewy cookies exploding with toasted pecans and brown sugar flavor!
Buttery, soft ‘n chewy cookies exploding with toasted pecans and brown sugar flavor!

157 comments

  1. Wow these are good! I left the dough to chill for 1 day and it def is worth it. Also much easier to roll in balls. I made large tablespoon balls and even plus secret cookie dough nibbling I still had 3 dozen cookies. Probably a bit tinier than yours. Froze 12.

    Followed the recipe to the T and with dark brown sugar.

    Thank you 

  2. I made these as Gluten Free cookies and substituted 1.5 C Bob’s Red Mill all purpose Baking mix (the one with the garbanzo flour) and 1C Almond meal/flour. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum. All other ingredients the same with the additional of two tablespoons of Amaretto liquor and 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut.  I let the dough chill overnight. The texture of these -especially given that they were GF, was amazing!! I did use 1/2 cup organic sugar and 1 cup Coconut sugar. (I did not have brown sugar available. ) The coconut sugar worked well and resulted in a slightly less sweet cookie. I think the brown sugar would make it more “Butter Pecany”. Anyway, they were really good. 

  3. OMG, these cookies are delicious!
    Me: Would you like to try these cookies I just made?
    Son: Sure mom but just one. 
    Me: Ok.
    Son: Mom come back. I’m going to need a couple more of those cookies!

    The recipe is prefect as is. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Wow these are delicious! I also threw in some chocolate chips which worked well. We used these cookies as the sandwich for a pecan pie ice cream sandwich and it was perfection. 

  5. Hi Sally, I mixed up this batter and let it chill overnight. I’m baking them this morning any mine are coming out very flat, not like your picture at all. What am I doing wrong? I want them to be thicker. Your picture looks like it has a cake texture inside the cookie. I want that!! 

    • Hi Kerry, these cookies should definitely be on the thicker side. Did you change anything about the recipe? Was your butter melted at all? Make sure you’re using large eggs, not extra large. Is the dough too soft? Keep it cold as long as possible right before baking the cookies.

      • I used eggs from a friends chicken so I’m not sure what size they were. That could be the problem. I’ll try it with store eggs next time. Either way they were declicious!

  6. These look wonderful and I’m going to make them! I have a new gas range with a gas convection oven. Is the temperature and time listed for convection cooking? If not, what temp and timing should I use? Thank you!

    • My recipes are for conventional ovens. If using convection, decrease temp by 25 degrees. The bake time will be about the same, maybe a minute less.

  7. Thank you! I can’t wait to bake these!!!

  8. Do you think these cookies would hold up if I shipped them to Arizona (HOT!)?

    Thanks

  9. I typically just make oatmeal or pb w/chocolate chip cookies, but I had pecans and opted to try my hand at making your recipe a few days ago.
    I followed all the ingredients minus the option of rolling them in more sugar and sprinkle salt. I whipped up the batter on Monday and set it in the fridge to chill 24 hrs. Yesterday I scooped individual dough ball at 74oz each and was able to get 52 (more that 2 1/2 dozen). I set the dough balls back into the fridge  (didn’t roll, simply dropped as the scoop intended) and refrigerated them another hour before putting each, on a tray, in the freezer to later bag today. 
    Out of the 52 cookies I removed 8 from the freezer to bake. These cookies came out perfect. I didn’t flatten the top as I liked the way they baked and settled. Very happy my family and I have 3 different cookie options in our 2nd freezer and very thankful not only that you’ve shared the recipe, but thankful you provided actual gram weight when making them.  Perfect!!!

  10. They are so good, my friends can never get enough. I freeze them and before I know it they are gone and I need to make more.

    • Sally I made this cookie recipe as a gift for a relative birthday. I accidentally put 1 tsp of baking powder instead of 1 tsp baking soda. Could you tell me how this effect the outcome when she bakes them for her birthday next week ?

  11. My cookies came out as flat as pancakes. But, they had a great taste. I chilled the dough for 3 hours. Not sure if my dough was not chilled enough or I beat the batter too long. Any suggestions, Sally?

    • I saved some of the dough chilling until the next day and I had the same results. I tested my baking soda to make sure it was still good and it was. So…I must have beat the butter/batter too long.

    • Hi Teresa! How about chilling the dough then rolling the dough into balls and chilling for another hour or two? I know that’s a long time, but you can always let it chill overnight. Or even add a few extra Tablespoons of flour. That will help too!

  12. I baked these for only 8 minutes because I made them a little smaller and they burned on the bottom.

  13. They were perfect! Shape, taste, consistency, everything was perfect. Followed the recipe, every step and it was perfect! Love them, yummy! Thanks!

  14. Just made them..fabulous…xoxo 

  15. I just made these for my husband’s VFW meeting. They are so delicious and dangerous. Hard to stop eating them. I am glad we did leave enough for the Veterans at the meeting. They are buttery and chewy as described. Thank you for a new “go to” recipe when in need of something yummy.

  16. These sound wonderful. I would like to make them smaller and use a cookie scooper. Also would like to freeze them then cook later. Any suggestions as to how long to cook them?
    Thanks,
    Rita

  17. Hi is there anyway adding cranberries would be good? 

  18. Made these with canna butter. Tasty treat instead of meds. I did add a bit of baking powder to compliment the soda. Yum.

  19. These sound great — all the other Pecan Sandies recipes out there are for crisp cookies. I do have a question, though. You said the edges are chewy…do they stay that way? My husband has trouble chewing (bad dentures) and I want him to be able to have soft cookies. Would maybe an extra egg yolk or some cornstarch make them softer? And how about chopping up the pecans super finely — would that work?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Michelle! They do stay chewy, but are incredibly soft. You can certainly chop up the nuts to be a little more fine. I don’t recommend adding any cornstarch. Try baking the cookies for a minute less. Super soft that way.

  20. Thanks for the quick reply and advice! I’ll definitely be trying these soon! 🙂

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