Ok, so you love pecan pie... but do you always have time to make pie? If the answer is "No", then I have a solution for you! Pecan Pie Cookies take less than 15 minutes to bake and are like little handheld pecan pies. If you find pecan pie too rich, then these are perfect for you because they are heavy on buttery cookie "crust" with just the right amount of sweet gooey pecan pie filling. I drizzle them with a bit of dark chocolate to finish them off nicely. When I made these for the first time, they didn't last even 2 days. They are so soft and buttery and the fact that they are not too sweet makes them very easy to eat! If you love pecan pie, you should check out my Easy Maple Brown Butter Pecan Pie and Espresso Chocolate Pecan Pie, and Pecan Pie Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE:
- Easy cookie recipe - you don't need to fuss over pie dough and make a mess of the kitchen. Although I LOVE making pastry... sometimes I just don't have time for it between work, my child and just... LIFE!
- Gooey pecan pie filling - this filling is so delicious that you will want to eat it with a spoon! You make it on the stovetop all in one pot. It's easy and so so good.
- Make ahead recipe - you can make the filling for the cookies days in advance since it should be chilled before you use it, so when you want to make the cookies, all you need to do is prep the cookie dough!
- Buttery pie crust cookie - the cookie dough is like buttery shortbread and it tastes like rich pie dough with a short, tender texture. They are slightly crisp on the edges and tender right through.
INGREDIENTS FOR PECAN PIE COOKIES
Here are some notes about the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Butter - you will use brown butter to make the crust, and then you will also brown some butter and use it to make the filling. Browning butter is easy and a great technique to learn if you enjoy baking because it adds so much depth of flavor to baked goods!
- Brown sugar - brown sugar adds caramel-like flavor due to the molasses content which makes the filling more complex. You can use light or dark brown sugar for this recipe. I chose light brown here because I wanted the taste of the maple syrup to shine, but dark brown sugar also tastes great!
- Corn syrup - corn syrup has special properties in that it contains certain types of sugar/carbohydrates that prevent crystallization and create a velvety viscosity so that the filling has a smooth consistency. You could replace it with maple syrup if you do not like using corn syrup, but I think it really helps with the texture.
- Eggs - three large eggs will add structure to set the filling since pecan pie filling is a sugar-based custard after all!
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla will add rich undertones. I like this Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract.
- All purpose flour - regular unbleached all-purpose flour works just great for the crust and you'll need just 1 teaspoon to guard against over-cooking the filling.
- Salt - it's so important in the filling to balance all of the sugar!
- Pecans - if you have time, I recommend toasting the pecans in the oven or in a dry frying pan over the stove to maximize their flavor before chopping them up to mix into the filling.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
- STEP 1). Make the pecan pie filling. Combine all ingredients except corn syrup in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until it just begins to bubble and thicken. This will take about 5 minutes. Immediately take it off the heat and pour it into a clean bowl. Let it cool completely and then refrigerate until needed. Once chilled, stir in the corn syrup.
- STEP 2). Make the cookie dough. Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat for about 2 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla and mix well. Mix in milk. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend well. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and fold it in until evenly incorporated and the dough is smooth.
- STEP 3). Chill. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- STEP 4). Fill the cookies. Scoop 2 tablespoon of dough and roll into smooth balls. Press a 1 teaspoon measure spoon down in the center of each cookie to create a divet. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of filling right into the center and push the sides up or squeeze the cookie towards the center just a bit to contain it. If the cookie dough cracks, just press it together. Place the tray in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- STEP 5). Bake. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookie is nicely golden brown all around. Transfer trays to a wire rack to cool for 3 minutes, then transfer cookies individually to the rack to finish cooling.
- STEP 6). Cool. Once cool, sprinkle more chopped pecans on top and drizzle with melted dark chocolate.
EXPERT BAKING TIPS FOR PECAN PIE COOKIES
- Do not over-whisk the batter. All you need to do is whisk until it is smooth and the sugar is dissolved. The intention is not to whip air into the mixture which will create air bubbles that can make the surface look less attractive and cause it to puff up too much as it bakes.
- Don't skip the salt! Salt is so important in baking, and especially in a sugar pie like this one! Do not leave it out.
- Do not over-bake the crust. The crust is ready when it is fragrant and golden. If you over-bake it then it may stick to the pie dish.
- Press the crust crumbs out thinly. This makes a crust with just under ¼ inch thickness. It is meant to be thin so even though it may not look like enough, I promise it is. Make sure you push it up the sides so that it holds in the filling.
- Do not over-bake the filling. The filling is ready when it puffs up and the pecans on top are golden. It should still wobble a bit in the middle since it will continue to cook and set as it cools. If it is completely stiff in the middle, then it will probably be over-cooked by the time it cools.
Yes, you can use salted butter if that's all you have. I would recommend reducing the added salt in the recipe by half. I like unsalted butter for this recipe for it's creamier taste.
This filling recipe is so simple - you just whisk the ingredients together in a saucepan and cook gently until thickened. If you want, you can make it up to 3 days in advance.
Yes you can. You can replace the corn syrup in this recipe with maple syrup, however I tested many versions and I still feel like the traditional way of using corn syrup creates the thickest, smoothest texture without being too runny. If you want to use maple syrup, you will need to cook it a bit longer to reduce the water content.
Yes, once these cookies are completely cooled, you can freeze them in a resealable freezer bag with little squares of parchment paper between each cookie to prevent them from sticking together with the filling.
If you have leftover filling, you can use it to make my Pecan Pie Pumpkin Cupcakes!
These Pecan Pie Cookies keep very well in an airtight container as long as it isn't too humid. The will naturally soften a bit from the filling the next day, but if it is very humid then they might soften a lot and in this case you can store them in the fridge.
If you love cookies, check out these recipes!