Browned Butter Pecan Cookies are packed with buttered
pecans, nutty browned butter, and caramely brown sugar – with crisp edges and
rich, chewy centers. If a pecan praline were to turn itself into a cookie, this
is exactly what it would taste like!
Thick and chewy Butter Pecan Cookies
With crisp, caramelized edges and rich, chewy centers, these
Butter Pecan Cookies are irresistible! Brown sugar and melted butter make them
What are butter pecans and how do you make them?
Butter pecan isn’t just an ice cream flavor – although it is
one of my faves. Butter pecans can also be found in cakes and cookies.
Butter pecans are made by toasting pecans in butter, either
in a skillet or roasting them in the oven.
Butter Pecan Cookies have amazing praline flavor
Butter + pecans + brown sugar + milk = pralines
Butter + pecans + brown sugar + cookie dough = the most
amazing praline flavored Butter Pecan Cookie ever!
Browned butter adds nutty, toasty flavor
Browned butter adds a wonderful depth of flavor to these
Butter Pecan Cookies. Because they’re not loaded with chocolate or other strong
flavors, the nutty flavor of the browned butter really shines through.
Using browned butter in these Butter Pecan Cookies is
perfect, because melted butter in cookie dough gives chewy, dense, and fudgy
How to brown butter
Browning butter takes only a few extra minutes than melting
butter, but it adds a lot of flavor.
I like to use a light colored pan so that I can see exactly
what’s happening on the bottom. It’s much harder to see the milk solids turning
golden brown in a dark pan.
Melt the butter over medium-high heat and let it come to a
boil, stirring occasionally. After it boils for a few minutes, you will see the
milk solids on the bottom of the pan start to turn golden. I often notice this
on the sides of the pan first.
When it starts turning golden in color, turn the heat lower
and let it cook until the solids are a golden brown. This takes less than a
minute and it burns fast so keep an eye on it. Pour the browned butter into the
mixing bowl, scraping in all the yummy browned bits, so that it stops browning.
A note on measuring flour
Measuring flour correctly is essential to the success of a
There is no one correct way to measure flour other than weighing it. If you don’t have a scale,
or if the recipe you are following doesn’t give weight measurements, it’s
important to measure the flour the same way the recipe writer measured. Hopefully
the author provides either a weight or a method.
Two ways of measuring flour are the dip and sweep method and
the spoon and level method. One is not more correct than the other, however
there is a significant difference in weight between the two.
In the dip and sweep method, dip the measuring cup into the
flour and scoop it out. Run the flat edge of a butter knife over the top to
level off the flour.
My weights correspond to the dip and sweep method because
that’s the method I learned from Cook’s Illustrated, Julia Child, and other
cooks and cookbooks.
For the spoon and level method, fluff the flour in the top
of the bag, then spoon the flour into the measuring cup. Run the flat edge of a
butter knife over the top to level off the flour.
How to make Butter Pecan Cookies
Once you’ve got the pecans toasted in butter and the butter
browned, these cookies come together quickly.
Combine the dry ingredients (the flour, cornstarch, baking
soda, and salt) in a bowl.
In another large mixing bowl – the one you’ve poured the
browned butter into – whisk together the browned butter, sugars, vanilla, and
Stir in the dry ingredients until no streaks of flour
remain, then stir in the butter pecans.
Chill the dough
I’m all for shortcuts, but this dough will need to be
chilled for at least two hours or overnight. If the dough chills for longer
than 4 hours, let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes so the dough
is more workable.
How to bake Butter Pecan Cookies
When the dough has chilled, roll it into balls. You can make
them as big or small as you want. 3 tablespoon dough balls (60 grams) yields
about 18 cookies.
Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet until the edges are set
and just turning golden, about 9-12 minutes. The tops of the cookies should
still be quite soft when you remove them from the oven, and may even appear
slightly underbaked in center. They will firm up while cooling.
Tips on baking perfect Butter Pecan Cookies
Do you ever have trouble with your cookies spreading out too
far or not far enough? The temperature of the dough and the temperature of the
oven plays a role it this.
First, always weigh
your ingredients carefully. Too little flour can make them spread too far,
too much flour can prevent them from spreading enough. While there are
differences in measuring methods, weighing the ingredients is exact.
Second, make sure your oven has had time to preheat. If your second batch comes out
differently than your first batch, your oven may not have fully heated when you
Since some ovens run hot and some ovens run cold, an oven
thermometer is the best way to keep track of the actual temperature.
Once you know your ingredients were measured correctly and
your oven is at the correct temperature, let’s take a look at how the
temperature of the cookie dough effects the spread of the cookie.
How the temperature of the cookie dough effects the spread of the cookie
Flat, too spread
out cookies: Cookie dough that
is too warm and hasn’t been chilled long enough will spread out too far
making a flat cookie. The butter in the cookie melts before the cookie has a
chance to set. A lower oven temperature
also allows the dough to spread out.
Puffy mounds that
didn’t spread out: Cookie dough
that is too cold will set before it has a chance to spread out resulting in
a puffy mound. A too hot oven also
causes the cookie to set quickly.
To help you get the cookie that’s perfect for you, here are 3 different sets of cookies with varying dough and oven temperatures:
The 65° F cookie dough baked in a 375° oven stayed in puffed mounds
with slight spreading.
The 70° F cookie dough baked in a 350° oven had a medium
spread and are the cookies in the photos in this post.
The 73° F cookie dough baked in a 350° oven had the most
spread, however it was just slighter than the 70° cookie dough.
Optional decorating ideas
- For a pretty, sparkly look, roll the balls of
dough in granulated sugar before baking.
- For a salty sweet flavor, instead of rolling in
sugar, sprinkle the cookies with sea salt after baking. If sprinkling with sea
salt, reduce the salt in the cookie to ½ teaspoon.
- Press a pecan half or chopped pecans onto the
top of the unbaked ball of dough before baking.
- For these cookies, I rolled the dough into a
ball, pressed chopped pecans into the top half of the ball, gave it another
roll between my palms, rolled it in sugar, then pressed a pecan half into the
How to freeze cookies or make in advance
You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the
refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to set at room temperature until the dough
is workable or at the desired temperature, then roll into balls and bake.
Cookie dough balls can be rolled and kept in the
refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bake as usual.
Freeze baked cookies for up to 3 months.
Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Let
the dough ball thaw while preheating the oven. Let the cookie dough come to the
desired temperature before baking.