These Salted Pecan Brown Sugar Cookies were inspired by an Instragam post that ask the question - what if you made chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips. These brown sugar shortbread cookies are the perfect sweet-savory with salted pecans, brown sugar, and just a little salt sprinkled on top. It took a few versions of recipe testing to get the cookie I envisioned, but in the end it was worth it to get this oh so tasty slice and bake cookie.
Cookie Recipe Testing
When I started on this cookie I originally thought all I had to do was leave out the chocolate, add more pecans, it would be done and I could post the recipe. But no, of course it wasn't that easy. The thing is, all the batches I made were good, but I had a vision of what I wanted the cookie to taste like and the different batches were falling short. My husband enjoyed the taste testing though.
The first batch was good, but there were cakey and a little too sweet. A cakey cookie is good, but I wanted something that was more salted and crisp around the edges.
The second batch was good too, but still too cakey. I decreased the flour and the sugar, but not the baking soda which I think caused the cookies to rise as much as they did. But since I had also decreased the sugar I think the cookies did not spread as much as I wanted.
The third batch was so much closer to what I wanted and tasted so good that I almost posted that recipe. I had increased the sugar and cut the amount of baking soda in half and the cookie spread as I wanted. But it still wasn't quite right. It was salty enough. Again, I had this vision in my head of what the cookie should taste like.
On a long drive back to Portland, I pondered what my next iteration should be. What if I left out the baking soda, increased the flour from 1-1/4 cups to 1-3/4 cups and left the sugar amount the same? What if I left out the egg? Then I would have a shortbread cookie, but I hadn't envisioned a shortbread cookie. I wanted a chocolate chip cookie without chocolate chips.
So I got up early the next morning and mixed up the cookie dough before I went to work. I rolled it into logs where it sat for two days (because I was working on my mom's birthday cake). When the first batch came out of the oven, I was so satisfied. This cookie was the cookie that I had been dreaming about.
Salted Pecan Brown Sugar Cookie Ingredients
The delicious cookies have just 5 ingredients and they're easy to mix together:
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- Dark Brown Sugar
- Salted Butter
- Salted Pecans
- Kosher Salt
- Vanilla Extract
I love sweet, salty combinations, which is why I use the salted pecans and the salted butter, and this cookie is the perfect taste of this sweet-salty combination. The salted roasted pecans come from Trader Joe's, but if you don't have salted pecans use unsalted toasted pecans and sprinkle a little more salt on top.
How to Make the Cookies
The cookie recipe really is easy to make. The recipe starts with beating the sugar and butter together and then adding the dry ingredients and mixing together until all the ingredients are combined. After adding the dry ingredients mix on low speed to prevent too much gluten formation which will result in a tough cookie.
Form the cookie dough into two logs, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours. You can make this dough ahead of time and refrigerate for 3 days or freeze the cookie dough for up to 2 months. If freezing the cookie, wrap the dough logs with another layer of plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.
The cookies are baked at 350°F for about 12-15 minutes. The final cookie is soft in the center and crisp on the edges. Completely delicious. My family loves these cookies and my brother in law asked for two dozen after he tasted them for the first time.
Leave a comment if you try these cookies or tag me @bakesbybrownsugar if you bake them and post a picture. Happy Baking (and Eating)!
Other Cookie Recipes
If you're looking for other ideas for cookie treats please check out these recipes:
- Shortbread Cookies
- Apricot and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
Salted Pecan Brown Sugar Cookies
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, optional
- 12 tablespoons salted butter room temperature
- 10 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup salted roasted pecans chopped
- Maldon sea salt
- Measure your flour into a bowl and whisk to aerate the flour and remove any lumps.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer combine the salted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Only add the kosher salt if you want your cookies a little extra salty. Mix on low until ingredients are roughly combined then increase mixer speed to medium and beat until mixture is lighter in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the flour all at once and mix on low speed until the flour is well combined and the dough has started to come together, about 5 minutes. For a while the cookie dough will have a crumbly texture and then it will come together.
- Add the chopped pecans and mix on low speed until the pecans are distributed throughout the dough.
- Turn the cookie dough out onto a lightly floured surface. You can turn it out onto a large piece of parchment paper or Silpat. Use your hands to shape the dough into a large ball and then divide it in half. Each half should weigh about 310 grams. Shape each half into a log about 7 inches long and 1-1/2 inches thick. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
- Using a sharp blade to slice the ends of the cookie logs to even smooth ends. Use a thin sharp blade or a serrated knife slice each log into 1/2 inch rounds and place each slice on a cookie sheet about 1-inch a part. These cookies don’t spread much. Sprinkle each cookie with a flaky sea salt and bake for 12-14 minutes until slightly browned on the bottom edges
- Remove the cookies from the oven and place on a cookie rack to cool. And then enjoy.