These Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies are the perfect addition to your cookie jar. They are soft and chewy with an amazing buttery flavour and plenty of crunchy pecans. Great for the holidays or any time of the year, they are sure to become one of your favourite nut cookies!
I love nut cookies of any kind, especially pecan ones. I was looking for a soft and moist cookie with a burst of pecan flavor and I think I’ve found the perfect one. This recipe is easy and quick to make, and you can even make a double batch to store some in the freezer so you can enjoy fresh-baked cookies any time!
What You’ll Need to Make This Recipe
- Butter - I used salted butter in this recipe, but you can use unsalted if that’s what you have at home. If you use unsalted butter, make sure to add ¼ teaspoon of salt to the cookie dough)
- Brown Sugar - When measuring out the brown sugar you will want to lightly pack it down.
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
How to Make this Recipe
These brown sugar cookies are so easy to make and take only a few minutes of mixing before they’re ready to bake! The key steps you’ll take are:
Whisk together dry ingredients. Using a whisk to mix your dry ingredients together helps to get rid of lumps and keeps everything nice and light.
Cream butter and sugar. At this stage, you want to cream them together until everything is soft and creamy and you can no longer feel the sugar when you rub a bit between your fingertips. It will take about 2 minutes with an electric mixer and a bit longer if you are mixing by hand.
Beat in egg and vanilla. You’re continuing to incorporate air into your dough at this stage.
Combine wet and dry ingredients.
Gently stir the ingredients together and then fold in the pecans.
Easy Clean-Up Tip! I’m always happy when I can cut down on the amount of cleaning up I have to do in the kitchen! When I bake cookies, I like to line the cookie sheets with parchment paper and bake the cookies directly on them. Not only will the paper make clean-up a breeze, but it will also make it so easy to remove the cookies when you’re transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
Toast Pecans for Added Crunch
The first one is in a dry pan on the stovetop. Heat the pan over medium heat and then toast the nuts for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan every so often. You’ll know they are ready when they start to give off a delicious toasty aroma and they have darkened a bit in colour.
The second method you can use to toast the pecans is in the oven. After you have preheated the oven the 350F, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the nuts onto it. Bake for 5 – 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally until the nuts smell toasty and have slightly darkened in colour.
Storage. Brown sugar cookies will stay fresh for up to 5 days in an airtight container at room temperature. (If they last that long!)
Freezing the dough. This cookie dough can be frozen and baked at a later time. I prefer to freeze the raw dough rather than the baked cookie because it means I get that ‘fresh out of the oven’ taste every time!
To freeze the cookie dough, portion out the cookies on a cookie sheet as you would if you were going to bake them, but instead of putting them into the oven, put them in the freezer instead. (*You can put them closer together on the cookie sheet than you would if you were going to bake them as there will be no spreading!) You want the balls to freeze until they are firm, which will take about an hour. After the dough is frozen, you can put them into an airtight container or freezer bag and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to bake them. They will keep for up to 3 months in a freezer bag.
Baking from frozen. If you choose to freeze the dough, there’s no need to defrost it before baking. You can simply put the balls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake as directed in the recipe and add a couple of extra minutes to the bake time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between brown sugar and white sugar?
Brown sugar and white sugar differ in both colour and flavour. Brown sugar has a deeper more caramel flavour while white sugar has a more neutral flavour and is simply sweet. Brown sugar actually starts out as white sugar and then molasses is added for flavour, colour and moisture.
While you can often swap out the sugars for each other in baking, your final product will change in terms of colour and texture. If you were to replace the brown sugar with white sugar in this recipe, your cookies would be crisper in texture and paler in colour.
What other nuts can I use instead of pecans?
You can swap out the pecans in these cookies if you prefer another type of nut. Some options to try in nut cookies could be walnuts, chopped almonds, or macadamia nuts. You can also omit the nuts altogether!
Ways to Use Leftover Baked Cookies
Most likely you won’t have many of these delicious pecan cookies leftover, but if you do, there are a few ways that you can use them up:
- Crumbled over ice cream
- Make ice cream sandwiches (vanilla ice cream would taste great, or even butter pecan ice cream for a double hit of pecans!)
- Crumble and stir into brownie batter for an added surprise
- Sprinkle cookie pieces over cake layers or trifle for added texture
- Combine crumbs with melted butter to make a press-in pie crust
- Use crumbs to make cookie pops (like cake pops, but with cookies!)
These brown sugar cookies are sure to be a hit with your family and friends! I hope you enjoy!
Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies
- ½ cup butter (softened)
- ½ cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup all purpose flour (at least 11% protein)
- 1 pinch salt*
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup pecans (coarsely chopped)
*If using unsalted butter then add ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C). Line a cookie sheet or 2 with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the mixing bowl with the flat beaters beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy, approximately 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and beat 1-2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until mixed. Fold in the pecans.
- Drop by spoonfuls on the prepared cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until when lightly touched in the centre no indentation remains. Cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!