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Pecan Pie Cookies

These pecan pie cookies prove that there’s so much more to make with pecans than just pies! These elegant pie cookies have the same rich and nutty taste that we all love about the classic pie version.

Between the gooey caramelized syrup and the tender pecans, there is just nothing better.

pecan pie crumbl cookie

The caramelized pecans are the perfect partners for the crumbly shortbread. These cookies offer a symphony of textures as well: they’re soft, chewy, and crunchy.

Oh, not to mention, crafting them is much easier than making pies, requiring minimum effort for maximum deliciousness.

They’re the perfect ending to your Christmas feast! That said, once you’ve tried this recipe, I know you’ll want to make batch after batch all year round!

Easy Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies – Why You’ll Love This Recipe

pecan shortbread cookie crust
  • These soft and chewy cookies are filled with a nutty and decadent filling and taste just like pecan pies.
  • They are perfect gifts or giveaways as Christmas cookies.
  • It’s like having a pocket-sized pecan pie!
  • These cookies freeze beautifully and can be served right after they have thawed to room temperature. 
  • You can also add or change the filling ingredients to suit your taste

Ingredients For Pecan Pie Cookie Recipe

pecan pie cookie recipe

For Cookie Dough:

  • 2 ¾ cups/330g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp/8g cornstarch
  • ¼ cup/30g powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp/5g baking soda
  • ½ cup/120ml neutral oil (I use grapeseed oil)
  • ¾ cup/150g granulated sugar
  • ½ cup/120ml unsweetened applesauce*
  • 1 tsp/5ml vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
pecan shortbread bars

Pecan Pie Filling:

  • 1 tbsp/8g cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp/90ml coconut milk (full fat)
  • 2 tbsp/30ml coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup/70g light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp/45ml maple syrup
  • 1 cup/115g chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp/5ml vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp/1g ground cinnamon

How To Make Pecan Cookies

pecan bar cookie
  1. Let’s make the dough first by combining the dry ingredients: add flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir to distribute and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oil, granulated sugar, apple sauce, and vanilla. Beat together on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until well emulsified (you can use a mixer or a wooden spoon).
  3. Stir in the flour mixture until completely incorporated. The mixture should be very thick, but still soft. If too stiff, add 1-2 tbsp/15-30ml non-dairy milk.
  4. Cover and refrigeratored, allow to chill for at least 30 minutes to avoid cookies spreading and holding their shape.

To Make The Nutty Filling:

pecan tassie
  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the cornstarch with 2 tbsp coconut milk to make a smooth slurry. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pan, combine coconut oil, 4 tbsp/60ml coconut milk, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until a translucent syrup has formed and begins to simmer.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add in the chopped pecans. Bring to a low boil for 3 minutes, stirring regularly, until beginning to reduce.
  4. Add in the cornstarch slurry, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir consistently for 2-3 minutes until very thick. It should take at least 2 full seconds for a cleared area on the pan to fill back in. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.

To Assemble The Cookies:

pecan bars shortbread crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175C. Scoop slightly heaping 2 tbsp/35ml amounts of dough. Roll into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheets with 2-3” between them.
  2. Use a round spoon, a small bowl, or your fingers to make an indentation and create a deep well in the center of each ball (thumbprints aren’t very big). Round out the edges so that there are minimal cracks.
  3. Place a tablespoon filling in the center of each well. Bake for 10-12 minutes until firm and slightly golden around the edges. Remove from oven and tap the tray once to force the cookies to settle.
  4. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes (don’t skip this step) on the baking sheet before moving to a cooling rack.

Notes

  • *If you’re using homemade apple sauce, add 1 to 2 tablespoons or 15 to 30ml of non-dairy milk or water to thin the consistency.
  • If you’re making larger cookies, don’t forget to increase the baking time.
  • Store in an airtight container or ziploc bag and it will last up to 3 days at room temperature. If you refrigerate them it will last for about 7 to 10 days. Or keep them in the freezer for 1 month. Bring to room temperature before eating.

Tips, Variations, And Substitutions

pecan pie bar cookies

🍪 Stand mixer – If you have one at home you can use this to make things easier for you when you make the “pie crust”. Just mix the cookie dough at a slow speed until you reach the right consistency.

🍪 Vegan unsalted butter – you can use unsalted vegan butter instead of oil to make your pecan pie cookie richer and buttery. Salted butter has a large amount of salt and can alter the taste of pecan pie cookies.

🍪 Use a spoon – If you want to make the perfect indentation you can use a spoon to press at the center of each cookie. It will also fit 1 tablespoon of filling when you assemble them.

🍪 Cookie scoop – Use a cookie scoop to shape the dough balls efficiently. And remember to keep the cookie dough balls 3 inches apart. The cookies will spread and will meld together if they don’t have enough space.

🍪 Parchment paper – Always line your cookie sheet with parchment for easier cleanup which will prevent the dough from burning.

Other Cookie Recipes

If your sweet tooth is still screaming for other cookie recipes here are some that you can sink your teeth into.

Vegan Walnut Cookies – They are crunchy, sweet, and nutty, The trifecta of goodness when it comes to cookies. They’re the perfect cookie for any occasion. 

Vegan Ginger Cookies – These sugar cookies are perfect when eaten in front of the fireplace while sipping hot chocolate when the snow falls outside.

Pumpkin Pecan Polvorones – Also known as Mexican wedding cookies or snowball cookies. These cookies are more than just a treat; they’re a celebration of the season’s best flavors.

Vegan Snickerdoodles – These classic Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies are rich, sweet, and tangy—just as you would expect from regular Snickerdoodles.

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pie cookies

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Filling For Pecan Pie Cookies?

The pecan pie filling is made with chopped pecans, brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Check the recipe for a complete list and steps on how to make it.

How Do I Know That The Cookies Are Baked?

You’ll know the cookies are done when they are firm and golden brown around the edges.

Can These Cookies Be Served Hot Or Cold?

Although they taste good while still warm to the touch, they are best when served at room temperature and when they have completely set.

pecan shortbread cookie crust

Pecan Pie Cookies (V, DF)

These elegant pie cookies have the same rich and nutty taste that we all love about the pie version. Between the gooey caramelized syrup and the tender pecans, there is just nothing better.
5 from 6 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
chill time for the filling and baked cookies: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 18 (3″/7.5cm) cookies
Calories: 258kcal
Author: SHU-CHUN

Ingredients

For the cookie dough:

  • ½ cup neutral oil  (I use grapeseed oil)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce (*see note)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt

For The Pecan Pie Filling:

Instructions

Make cookie dough:

  • 1. Combine flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir to distribute and set aside.
  • 2. In a large bowl, combine oil, granulated sugar, apple sauce, and vanilla. Beat together on low speed for 1-2 minutes until well emulsified.
  • 3. Stir in the flour mixture until completely incorporated. Mixture should be very thick, but still soft. If too stiff, add 1-2 tbsp/15-30ml non-dairy milk.
  • Cover and refrigeratored, allow to chill for at least 30 minutes to avoid cookies spreading and holding their shape.

Make filling:

  • 1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the cornstarch with 2 tbsp coconut milk to make a smooth slurry. Set aside.
  • 2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine coconut oil, 4 tbsp/60ml coconut milk, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until a translucent syrup has formed and begins to simmer.
  • 3. Reduce heat to medium low and add in the chopped pecans. Bring to a low boil for 3 minutes, stirring regularly, until beginning to reduce.
  • 4. Add in the cornstarch slurry, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir consistently for 2-3 minutes until very thick. It should take at least 2 full seconds for cleared area on the pan to fill back in. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.

Assemble cookies:

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175C. Line baking sheets with parchment. Scoop slightly heaping 2 tbsp/35ml amounts of dough. Roll into balls and place on lined baking sheets with 2-3” between them.
  • 2. Use a round spoon, a small bowl, or your fingers to press dough down and create a deep well in the center of each ball. Round out the edges so that there are minimal cracks.
  • 3. Place a scant tablespoon (12-14ml) of filling in the center of each well. Bake for 10-12 minutes until firm and slightly golden around the edges. Remove from oven and tap the tray once to force the cookies to settle.
  • 4. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes (don't skip this step) on the baking sheet before moving to a cooling rack.

Notes

*If using a homemade apple sauce, add 1-2 tbsp/15-30ml non-dairy milk or water to thin the consistency.
If you’re making larger cookies, don’t forget to increase the baking time.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 1 month. Bring to room temperature before eating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 66mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

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