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52 Weeks of Baking: Pecan Pie Cookies

Pecan Pie Cookies For When You Don't Want to Bother With Crust

Pecan pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts, but that doesn't mean I always have the patience (or time) for making pie crust from scratch, toasting nuts, and all of the other steps necessary for its assembly. That's where these tender, nutty thumbprint cookies come into play. No, they're not an exact analogue to the Southern favorite, but they satisfy the craving in less than half the time and are delicious in their own right. What's more, these are considerably sturdier, making them a better candidate for tucking into a care package for a loved one or toting into the office for a co-worker's birthday.

Pecan Pie Cookies

Pecan Pie Cookies

Pecan Pie Cookies


  1. 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. Kosher salt
  4. 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) firmly packed dark brown sugar, divided
  5. 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  8. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  9. 1 cup finely chopped pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together 1 cup brown sugar with the butter on medium-high, until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula between additions. Mix together until just combined.
  3. Shape dough into roughly 1 1/4-inch balls using a #50 disher. Place 2 inches apart onto the parchment-lined pans. Make an indentation in each cookie with your thumb, rotating your thumb to hollow it out into a round well.
  4. Whisk together 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and cream in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Fold in the pecans. Fill the well of each cookie with a scant teaspoon of the pecan filling. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool for 2-3 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry
Nicole-Perry Nicole-Perry 2 years

Hi @Ann Nonymous, @mugwump is correct. Canned whipped cream isn't interchangeable with whipping cream (most canned whipped cream is lower fat than whipping cream, and it's also sweetened). A gluten-free flour blend like Cup 4 Cup ( or King Arthur's blend ( should work here, but the recipe has not been tested with either; let us know how it goes if you try it out.

Robyn15157299 Robyn15157299 3 years
These are great cookies, better then pecan pie according to my husband! After reading some of the comments I added chopped chocolate chips to the pecan mixture. I also decided to freeze the prepared cookies for about 15 minutes before baking them. This prevented them from spreading. Next time I need to be more careful when making the well, a few were made too deep & resulted in the filling creating a hole in the cookie when baked, but they still tasted delicious.
Jess15074621 Jess15074621 3 years
These are hands down my favorite cookies to make!! So easy and so good!!! Absolutely delicious!!
chinois chinois 4 years
Chilling the raw cookies (after they're formed) in the fridge for at least 15 min.before baking, should help minimize spreading while they bake.
Kendra77 Kendra77 5 years
I made these for our Thanksgiving dinner today and they are a hit with the kids. I made them with Splenda Brown Sugar and they came out great.
nholcombe nholcombe 7 years
I made these tonight - followed recipe exactly - and they turned out delicious!! My oven browned the bottom edges a teeny bit, which I don't like - but it was still good and the crunch complemented the filling crunch! They turned out so well and I am sending them to my long-distance boyfriend in the mail. I hope they keep!! Thanks for the great recipe!!
liladdieshudiva liladdieshudiva 9 years
I think my sweetie will like these.
onebizeebee onebizeebee 9 years
These cookies were very easy to make, but were a bit TOO SWEET. Has anyone tried lessening the brown sugar or substituting it for something else?
taratootie taratootie 9 years
Hey everyone! I made some slight changes to the recipe and I have some delicious cookies! I posted it in a blog on my profile if you want to check them out (there are even pics)! I can hear the ooooo's and aahhhhh's now... lol. See you all!
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
Made these for Thanksgiving. My advice to others: Keep them small, and don't jam your thumb in too hard. They really spread out, and if the middle is too thin the nuts will go right through and leave you with a donut shaped cookie and a mess of cooked nuts. My first batch didn't come out so well, but the rest were a huge hit.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
casscole casscole 9 years
these came out amazing!! im even making another two batches to give to my professors as holiday gifts AND making an entire batch for my boyfriend!! LOVED them! thank you!!
Fidgit Fidgit 9 years
I made these for thanksgiving and my family loved the alternative to a heavy piece of pie after all that we ate during dinner! I might even make another batch for my christmas cookie trays...
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Easy and yum...
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