If you like pecan pie, you will love these Pecan Pie Cookies.
Pecan pie is a favorite around here. But unlike traditional pecan pie, which is rich and a kind of a commitment to bake, these pecan pie cookies are portable, shareable and as good as your favorite pecan pie.
This cookie recipe combines chewy cinnamon cookies with a gooey homemade pecan pie filling so you can get all of the rich flavors of pecan pie in a bite-sized treat. This is one of my favorite desserts because the cookies are thick, chewy and have that familiar warm, buttery, salty, gooey, cinnamon and brown sugar taste that we all crave in fall pies – without the hassle.
As the holiday season nears, these cookies are a great gift or as a unique addition to your Christmas cookie platters, but they really are the perfect cookies for any occasion!
Make them at your own risk: you WILL be asked for them every year, they’re that good!
Ingredients for Cinnamon Cookie Dough
- All-purpose flour
- Dark or light brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Baking powder
Brown Sugar: I prefer using dark brown sugar as it provides extra moisture and a rich flavor with subtle caramel undertones that compliments the pecan flavor nicely.
Pure Vanilla Extract: Using a high quality pure vanilla extract gives a subtle rich sweet flavor. It also brings out the flavors of the other ingredients in the mix.
Unsalted Butter: Be sure to use room temperature unsalted butter. The recipe includes additional salt so you don’t want your cookie to be too salty.
How to make Cinnamon Cookie Dough
STEP ONE: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes.
STEP TWO: Beat in one large egg and the vanilla. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
STEP THREE: In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Slowly stir into the wet ingredients. The cookie dough will be slightly thick.
STEP FOUR: Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap or an environmentally friendly alternative and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough.
Ingredients for Pecan Pie Filling
- Dark or light brown sugar
- Maple syrup
- Vanilla extract
Maple Syrup: Be sure to use high quality real maple syrup as this is where a lot of the flavor for the filling is coming from.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch makes for a shiny, glossy filling. A little goes a long way because it has twice the thickening strength over all-purpose flour. Flour thickens nicely but leaves more of a matte finish. You’ll need to use twice as all-purpose flour as you would with cornstarch.
How to make Pecan Pie Filling
STEP ONE: First, make the cornstarch slurry by mixing together the cold water and cornstarch until a cloudy paste forms. Set aside.
STEP TWO: Add the butter to a saucepan and melt over low heat. Once bubbling, add in the chopped pecans, brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir together and cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes.
STEP THREE: Once bubbling, add in the cornstarch slurry and mix together. Continue cooking over low heat for 2-3 minutes until it thickens and becomes glossy. Then set aside.
STEP FOUR: Form chilled cookie dough into balls and using a small spoon or your thumb, create an indent or small crater in the center of each cookie.
STEP FIVE: Fill cookies with cooled pecan pie filling and bake 15 minutes, until golden edges of the cookie are golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
How to store
Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Can this cookie dough be made ahead of time?
Cookie dough can be made 2 days in advance. When you are ready to bake them, make sure to bring the dough to room temperature first, form into balls before adding the filling, and then bake in a 350°F preheated oven.
Can I freeze these cookies?
Yes! You can freeze baked and unbaked cookies.
Place cookies in containers with tight-fitting lids, separating layers with waxed paper. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Simply thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Unbaked cookie dough also freezes well. Bake frozen cookie balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw.
What makes these cookies Pecan Pie Cookies?
The filling! The filling isn’t as comprehensive as a traditional pecan pie, in fact it’s more like a maple syrup pecan pie than a classic one.
Why does the cookie dough need to chill?
In many cookie recipes, it’s important to allow the dough to chill so that it doesn’t spread too much when you bake it. Chilling the dough solidifies the fat in the cookies so that it doesn’t melt too quickly when you bake them. It’s especially important in this recipe so the cookies can hold the gooey pecan pie filling!
BBQ Bakers Tips & Tricks
- The key to success with this recipe is the consistency of the filling. If it’s too runny, it’ll run out of the cookie thumbprints. If it’s too thick, it won’t bake into the cookie dough and caramelize on the edges.
- Chop the pecans. The thumbprints aren’t very big so you want to be sure to fit the maximum amount of filling in each cookie.
- Toast your pecans before adding to the dough to create the ultimate butter pecan flavor!
- For an extra decadent cookie, place chocolate chips in a small Ziploc bag. Microwave about 15 seconds or until mostly melted. Snip off a tiny corner of the baggie and drizzle chocolate over the cookies. Cool until set.
This Pecan Pie Cookie recipe has a chewy, cinnamon cookie crust with a thick layer of a nutty caramel pecan pie filling we are addicted to. So if you don’t want to be bothered with pie crust but still craving that pecan filling try these simple steps for one of my favorite dessert.
Pair these cookies with a warm cup of coffee. They are the perfect cookie for any occasion!
Other delicious cookie recipes to try:
- Chocolate Zucchini Cookies
- Mint Chocolate Cookies
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Old-fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Favorite Sugar Cookies
Pecan Pie Cookies
Cinnamon Cookie Dough
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup dark or light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pecan Pie Filling
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons dark or light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the 1 cup unsalted butter, ½ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, together on medium speed until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the 1 large egg and 2 tsp vanilla. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Stir in slowly 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon and ½ tsp salt. Add into the wet ingredients. The cookie dough will be slightly thick. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap or environmentally friendly alternative and chill for at least 2 hour and up to 2 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough.
Pecan Pie Filling
- First, make the cornstarch slurry by mixing together the cold water and cornstarch until a cloudy paste forms. Set aside.
- Add the butter to a saucepan and melt over low heat. Once bubbling, add in the chopped pecans, brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir together and cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Once bubbling, add in the cornstarch slurry and mix together. Continue cooking over low heat for 2-3 minutes until it thickens and becomes glossy. Then, set aside to cool while you make the cookie dough.
- Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and start to form balls of dough with your hands into 2 tbsp. roughly.
- Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
- Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 5 days or until gone, which is usually 24 hours!
- Make Ahead: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with preheating the oven in step 3.
- Freezing Instructions: Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw.