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Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies Recipe + VIDEO

Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 36 cookies

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These Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies are soft, buttery, brown sugar cookies topped with brown sugar frosting and more pecans — perfect for Christmas baking or any day of the year! Includes step by step recipe video

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brown sugar pecan cookies overhead in basket topped with crushed and halved pecans

Post and photos updated and video added October 11, 2017.

I know what you’re thinking.

I’m all about a dense, chewy, fudgy cookie. And these cookies are soft and fluffy.

I’m all about chocolate. And these are, well, not.

And I totally wish I could deliver a batch of these to all of you personally so that you could understand just how good they are. But I can’t. You’re just going to have to make a batch for yourselves and thank me later.

brown sugar pecan cookies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper

Yes, they’re soft and fluffy instead of dense and chewy like most of the cookies I make. But they’re filled with brown sugar. And they’re topped with brown sugar frosting. And pecans. Pee-cans.

Sorry, I’m Canadian.

But I tried to channel my secret inner Southern girl when I made you these praline-inspired cookies.

Now, when you make these, there is just the perfect amount of frosting for the cookies plus about 3 tablespoons. Feel free to spoon those right into your mouth. You don’t even have to tell anyone.

brown sugar pecan cookies on white plate with more on sheet pan in the background

This Brown Sugar Frosting is my new favorite thing. It’s so easy because the sugar and milk are melted together, and everything else can just be stirred in. But then, with 5-10 minutes it’s firmed right up so you can stack them right away. And if your frosting gets a little cool and difficult to spread, just pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds or back on the stove on low for a few minutes, and you’re good to go (I actually had to do this twice while making these).

Christmas or not, you need these in your life.

Tips and Tricks for Making these Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies:

  • I don’t chill my dough before rolling and baking these, but if your butter was quite warm you might find your cookies are a little flat. If you want them to hold up better and be thicker after baking, just pop the dough in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  • Since I’ve started baking my cookies on parchment paper I just can’t stop — they come off without a fuss and the clean up is nill. Plus, you can reuse and reuse and reuse parchment paper for baking! I highly recommend these parchment baking sheets.
  • These cookies hold up well and are perfect for gift giving! I love these Christmas cookie boxes for gifting baking — and they can also be reused!

Watch the recipe video and see how easy they are to make!

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Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies

4.6 from 15 votes
Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies: soft, moist pecan cookies topped with an easy brown sugar frosting. Perfect for Christmas or holiday baking!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 36 cookies
Calories 166cal

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour I did 50% whole wheat, 50% all-purpose, but you could use all-purpose
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 36 pecan halves or chopped pecans toasted, optional

Frosting:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream I use 1% milk
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 cups powdered sugar sifted

Instructions

  • Cookies:In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Add in flour, baking soda, and salt beat until combined. Stir in chopped pecans.
  • Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes (or more).
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Shape into 1″ balls (I used a 1 tbsp cookie scoop) and place a couple inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets or parchment paper. Bake 10 minutes or until set (not glossy at all in the middle) and lightly browned at the edges. Cool before frosting.
  • FrostingCombine brown sugar and milk in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
  • Stir in 1½ cups powdered sugar and whisk or beat with a mixer until smooth. If frosting is too thin, add more sugar, but keep in mind it will firm up dramatically within a few minutes.
  • Spread each cookie with about 1 tbsp frosting and top with a pecan or chopped pecans. Let frosting set before storing.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 166cal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 87mg | Potassium: 37mg | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Maggie says

    This is such a delicious cookie – thank you so much for sharing the recipe! I felt like I was eating a pecan pie. Yum! I even made them for my boyfriend’s parents, who live in Alabama, and they absolutely loved them.

  2. Martha Bateman says

    Oh my goodness.. these are amazing cookies! I used a 1″ scoop and came up with 42 cookies so close! Next time I will add salt to the frosting since I use unsalted butter. Have you tried adding a maple component? I think maple syrup would add a spectacular note to these cookies. I was thinking about adding 1 tbsp to the frosting and removing 1 tbsp of brown sugar.

    These are now in my Christmas Cookie rotation. THANK YOU!

  3. Jane says

    Just baked these today for my Christmas goodies to hand out – and they are delicious! Even without the frosting lol I started this batch two days ago but life got in the way and it sat in the fridge. Even after chilling for two days the dough was great though it did need to sit out for 10 minutes to be manageable. I normally need far more than 3 dozen of any cookies for all those tins and plates so I made a batch and a half – and with using my 1″ cookie scoop I ended up with 6 dozen lol. Thanks for a great recipe that won’t be kept for Christmas baking only 🙂

  4. Michele says

    I added a little Maple flavoring to the icing…..Oh my, these little cakes melt in your mouth. I loved them so much, that I went back and made three more batches to include in my fudge and cookie trays that I give away at Christmas time. Thank you!!!

  5. Katherine says

    Hi! After making the dough it says refrigerate for 30 mins or more. Could I refrigerate them for a few hours before forming and then baking? I have errands to run and I just made the dough.

      • Katherine says

        I made these cookies a few weeks ago and they were amazing!!! So I’m making them again tonight but they’re falling flat! They were light fluffy cookies and now they’re all melting together into one big cookie in the oven and I don’t know why?? Could it be because I refrigerated the dough for a few hours last time and now just 40 minutes?? I’m so upset.

        • Ashley Fehr says

          Hi Katherine — I’m so sorry to hear that! I haven’t ever really had a problem like that. Refrigerating them would probably actually make them taller and fluffier, because it would take longer for them to warm and sink down. Are they all like that? Or were some of them okay?

          • Katherine says

            After refrigerating the dough over night they still came out super flat but they didn’t melt all together. I went over the recipe a million times and I just don’t know why they didn’t work.

          • momofsix says

            I haven’t made these yet, but I do bake a lot of cookies. My suggestion is to use good quality butter. Land O Lakes, Roberts… etc. don’t use a store brand, as they tend to contain lower fat content. I’ve ruined a couple of batches of toffee trying to save a little money.

  6. Kara says

    Just made these again…and they are once again AMAZING! They have become my son’s “official favorite cookie”. 🙂 I was wondering how you package the frosted cookies when you freeze them? Also, when ready to eat the frozen cookies, do you just let them thaw at room temperature and then serve? thanks for your help…and the great recipe!

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I actually just stack them together and freeze in a container or freezer bag! The frosting is firm enough and they’re easy to pull apart once frozen. I’m so happy to hear that!

  7. LaWanda says

    Those cookies definitely have my name on them. I just have one question. The directions say to “Shape into 1″ balls… and place a couple inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets or parchment paper.” There is nothing about flattening the cookies. Does this mean that they will bake into the shape of a cookie (i.e., kinda flat and round)?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I haven’t tried, but I imagine they could. If I was going to make them ahead, I would probably just bake completely, freeze and thaw later. But it should be fine that way!

  8. Kara says

    I cannot wait to make these cookies! They look absolutely delicious! I was wondering how long they will stay fresh at room temperature? Thank you!

  9. Melissa says

    I’m so mad! Usually I can restrain myself when making cookies from eating them all and I have seriously eaten 1/2 dozen since I finished the frosting! =) These cookies are amazing, and I am SO happy I decided to try them tonight! Thanks for another great recipe to keep in my cookie arsenal!

  10. Sarah says

    I’m in the middle of making these and I cannot get the frosting to work! I combine the milk and brown sugar and within a couple moments on the heat it clumps. I thought maybe this was just normal so I continued with it through to the end but when I added the icing sugar it actually smelled weird. Not sure if it’s something with the milk? I’m just using 1% fresh cold milk. Or the brown sugar being dark brown?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I’m so sorry to hear that — I’ve honestly never had that problem! Does it clump into one? Or is it clumpy in general? It does look a little weird sometimes at the beginning, but once it gets simmering it should come together and become thicker and more like caramel. How did it taste in the end?

      • Sarah says

        The cookie itself turned out great! I ended up substituting with just a regular buttercream frosting. It was very odd – it stayed chunky (like separated with little chunks) throughout. It boiled and bubbled like it normally should but then when I added it to the sugar it still had all the weird lumps in it. All in all it was okay – maybe some combination just wasn’t working for me. I also made your butter tart squares today – totally to die for!! Thank you! -S

        • Ashley Fehr says

          Thanks Sarah! Did you whisk the brown sugar mixture? I think if I stirred without whisking it might not become smooth. I’ll have to take a look at the recipe and be sure that I specified that! I’m so glad to hear you liked the butter tarts!

  11. Rhii says

    This recipe is wonderful! I like to experiment with recipes but I made it just as you said and love it so much! I was hoping to bring some to friends for Thanksgiving but my family ate most of them as soon as the icing dried!! Stumbled upon your website from Pinterest and if you have other recipes like this I will definitely be back for more!

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I’m so glad to hear that Rhii! I actually made a new blondie version of those this year, and I think I might like them even more! Just because baking them in one pan saves you time rolling cookies 😉 They’re both delicious! Glad you (and they) liked them!

  12. Nicole Valdron says

    I just made these and they are fantastic! So flavorful and soft! I made them for my dad because he loves brown sugar treats. I’m sure he will eat way too many of these 😉

    • Ashley says

      Sorry Rosie, I don’t have any experience baking at high altitudes. I would make any adjustments that you normally have to make when you’re baking from other recipes. Sorry!

  13. Erica says

    These are so good! I toasted pecans for in and on top of cookies. Also added about 1 1/2 tbsp of maple syrup to frosting!

  14. Caitlyn says

    Making these for Mothers Day. So much positive feedback I cant wait to try them! Thanks for sharing!

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