Butter Pecan Cookies are soft, nutty, and oh so buttery. Packed with flavor from browned butter and toasted pecans. Great for Christmas cookie exchanges.

Butter Pecan Cookies are soft, nutty, and oh so buttery. Packed with flavor from browned butter and toasted pecans. Great for Christmas cookie exchanges.

When it comes to holiday baking, I love to splurge a little bit and bake with nuts. Pecans are a favorite because you can use them to make pie, toffee, seven layer bars, and more.

I’m also a huge fan of pecans when it comes to ice cream — butter pecan or pralines and cream is one of my favorite flavors. Call me an old lady, but the combination of buttery, crunchy nuts and sweet ice cream is a winning combo. These butter pecan cookies are inspired by that delicious ice cream.

Butter Pecan Cookies are soft, nutty, and oh so buttery. Packed with flavor from browned butter and toasted pecans. Great for Christmas cookie exchanges.

BUTTER PECAN COOKIES

Toasting pecans makes the nutty flavor pop more, and toasting them in butter adds a second rich, savory layer. Which is what is done for this recipe.

First, I toasted the pecans in butter, then used the same pan to brown the butter for the cookie dough. This added even more nutty flavor to the cookie dough itself.

Use a paper towel to gently wipe away any milk solids left behind from the buttered nuts first, so that you don’t end up with any burnt, bitter specks.

Butter Pecan Cookies are soft, nutty, and oh so buttery. Packed with flavor from browned butter and toasted pecans. Great for Christmas cookie exchanges.

To brown butter for the butter pecan cookies, you’ll simply melt the butter and continue to cook it over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until it foams and the milky whiteness turns brown and sinks to the bottom of the pan. Do not step away, but watch the butter closely as it browns, because it can burn easily!

Once it’s nice and golden brown, remove it from the heat and pour it into a heatproof bowl (like stainless steel) to stop it from cooking further. Then proceed to make the cookie dough.

Butter Pecan Cookies are soft, nutty, and oh so buttery. Packed with flavor from browned butter and toasted pecans. Great for Christmas cookie exchanges.

CHILLING AND BAKING

I’m typically not a fan of chilling cookie dough because I’m impatient, but because the butter is melted and warm in this recipe, it’s unavoidable.

If you use a stainless steel bowl you can refrigerate the cookie dough in 30 minutes or pop the bowl of cookie dough in the freezer for 15 minutes. This helps the cookies hold their shape, and prevents them from spreading too fast.

You can bake these cookies in two ways.

  • 350˚F for 9-10 minutes for thinner, softer cookies.
  • 375˚F for 8-9 minutes for thicker, golden cookies that are slightly crunchy on the outside.

Dusting the tops with extra granulated sugar just after baking gives them added sparkle. These Butter Pecan Cookies are a must for your Christmas cookie exchange or neighbor plates. Try them ASAP!

Butter Pecan Cookies

Butter Pecan Cookies

Yield: 23 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 59 minutes

Butter Pecan Cookies are soft, nutty, and oh so buttery. Packed with flavor from browned butter and toasted pecans.

Ingredients

Buttered Pecans:

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Cookie Dough:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (stir, spoon, & level)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and browned*
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs

Extras:

  • extra pecan halves (about 23), for topping cookies (optional)
  • granulated sugar, for sprinkling on top (optional)

Instructions

  1. Buttered Pecans: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Toast pecans (+ extras for topping, if desired) for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove pecans immediately from pan onto a cutting board. Set pan aside to re-use later. Allow nuts to cool slightly and then chop them into medium-small pieces. (Make sure to set aside nuts for topping if you decided to toast those too.)
  2. Use a paper towel to gently wipe away any milk solids left behind in the pan from the buttered nuts, so that you don’t end up with any burnt, bitter specks. Set pan aside.
  3. Cookie Dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. Using the same pan as the nuts, *melt the butter for the cookie dough and continue to cook it over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until it foams and the milky whiteness turns brown and sinks to the bottom of the pan. Do not step away, but watch the butter closely as it browns, because it can burn easily!
  5. Once the butter is nice and golden brown, remove it from the heat and immediately pour it into a heatproof (stainless steel) mixing bowl to stop it from cooking further.
  6. Add the sugars to the melted butter and mix well. Add the vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Fold in the flour mixture and chopped butter pecans, until just incorporated.
  7. CHILL the bowl of cookie dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or the freezer for 15 minutes -- until the dough will hold its shape when scooped.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large sheet tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  9. Scoop cookie dough with a #30 scoop (about 2 Tablespoons) onto the prepared baking sheet a couple inches apart. Firmly press a pecan half on top of each dough ball. Keep extra dough refrigerated while baking the first tray.
  10. Bake at 350˚F for 9-10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately dust with extra granulated sugar for decoration, if desired. Allow cookies to rest for 2-3 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Store cookies in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Notes

You can bake these cookies in two ways.

  • 350˚F for 9-10 minutes for thinner, softer cookies.
  • 375˚F for 8-9 minutes for thicker, golden cookies that are slightly crunchy on the outside.

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Butter Pecan Cookies are soft, nutty, and oh so buttery. Packed with flavor from browned butter and toasted pecans. Great for Christmas cookie exchanges.