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Browned Butter Pecan Sandies

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Browned Butter Pecan Sandies – delicious butter cookies made completely from scratch! I will show you how to carefully brown the butter without burning it (including step-by-step photos), how to add chopped pecans to the browned butter to toast them a bit. And, finally, how to create these cute cookies, rolled in granulated sugar before baking and each one of them individually topped with a pecan half!

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You can also brush maple syrup over the top of the cookies for an extra shine and flavor – it’s an optional step, and I recommend that you try it on a couple of cookies, taste them, and only then decide whether to brush the rest of the cookies with the maple syrup:

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These cookies will be devoured by your family, friends, co-workers in no time!

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These cookies keep well at room temperature for 1 week, and you can freeze them for up to 2 months!

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And, now, get ready – I have a lot of step-by-step photos describing how to make browned butter and how to make these cookies!   These step-by-step photos are very helpful, but if you don’t want them, just go directly to the recipe at the bottom of the post, by clicking here.

In a medium saucepan, stir the butter (cut into small pieces) over medium heat until melted, stirring constantly:

How to make browned butter

Continue to cook the butter over medium heat, simmering, stirring often. The butter will soon start to bubble and foam. As the butter foams, keep stirring and reduce heat if needed. Keep a close look at the butter – it will soon start to turn brown (which you will see through the foam):

Making browned butter

As soon as the butter starts to brown, add chopped pecans. The mixture will foam even more:

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Continue cooking the butter with chopped pecans, constantly stirring, for not more than 1 minute, on low heat. Make sure to watch closely not to burn chopped pecans:

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After you’ve cooked the butter with chopped pecans for about 1 minute, remove from heat and immediately pour this butter-pecan mixture into a separate, cool heatproof bowl. DO NOT LEAVE the butter with chopped pecans in the same pan you cooked them, otherwise butter and pecans will burn!

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Cool the butter-pecan mixture in a separate heat-proof bowl for about 20-30 minutes, or even longer, depending on your kitchen temperature.  The butter-pecan mixture should thicken and solidify, and when mixed it should look like that:

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Add powdered sugar, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons half-and-half, vanilla, and salt into the cooled butter-pecan mixture:

How to make brown butter cookies

Stir until sugars are smoothly incorporated:

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Mix in the flour until dough forms. If mixture is too crumbly and doesn’t hold together, add small amounts of additional half-and-half, and continue to work the mixture. The dough should look like on my photo – the dough should form a huge ball and hold it together:

browned butter cookies

Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Divide each 1/4th of the dough into 9 equal balls. Roll each ball in coarse sugar. Place balls about 2 1/2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets:

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Press a pecan half firmly into each ball. If edges of the cookies crack, just push back together:

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Bake one baking sheet at a time for 13 minutes until cookies start to brown. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack. Let cool 10 minutes for cookies to firm up. Using a wide spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack.

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Optional: Brush pecans on top with maple syrup. Do it only to a few cookies, try them, and brush more cookies, if desired.

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Your amazing cookies are all ready for everybody to grab!

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Delicious treat for kids and adults alike!

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Enjoy!

Browned Butter Pecan Sandies

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Yield: 36 cookies

Serving Size: 2 cookies

Browned Butter Pecan Sandies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons half-and-half or light cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Coarse sugar
  • 36 pecan halves
  • maple syrup (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan, stir the butter (cut into small pieces) over medium heat until melted, stirring constantly. Continue to cook the butter over medium heat, simmering, stirring often. The butter will soon start to bubble and foam. As the butter foams, keep stirring and reduce heat if needed. Keep a close look at the butter and as soon as it starts to turn brown (which you will see through the foam), add chopped pecans. The mixture will foam even more. Continue cooking the butter with chopped pecans, constantly stirring, for not more than 1 minute, on low heat. Make sure to watch closely not to burn chopped pecans. Remove from heat and immediately pour this butter-pecan mixture into a separate, cool heatproof bowl. DO NOT LEAVE the butter with chopped pecans in the same pan you cooked them, otherwise butter and pecans will burn! Cool the butter-pecan mixture in a separate heat-proof bowl for about 20-30 minutes, or even longer, depending on your kitchen temperature. The butter-pecan mixture should thicken and solidify.
  3. Add powdered sugar, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons half-and-half, vanilla, and salt into the cooled butter-pecan mixture and stir until sugars are smoothly incorporated.
  4. Mix in the flour until dough forms. If mixture is too crumbly and doesn't hold together, add small amounts of additional half-and-half, and continue to work the mixture. The dough should look like on my photo above (scroll up and you'll see step-by-step photos).
  5. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Divide each 1/4th of the dough into 9 equal balls. Roll each ball in coarse sugar. Place balls about 2 1/2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets; press a pecan half firmly into each ball. If edges of the cookies crack, just push back together.
  6. Bake one baking sheet at a time for 13 minutes until cookies start to brown.
  7. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack. Let cool 10 minutes for cookies to firm up. Using a wide spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack.
  8. Optional: Brush pecans on top with maple syrup. Do it only to a few cookies, try them, and brush more cookies, if desired.

Notes

http://juliasalbum.com/2014/12/browned-butter-pecan-sandies/

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • marcela December 26, 2014, 11:29 am

    omg! I’m heading straight to the kitchen! I love these cookies!

  • Angie@Angie's Recipes December 26, 2014, 11:49 am

    o my..these sandies look so good! I am not even sure I want to share those cookies with others!!
    Happy Holidays, Julia!
    Angie

  • Denise Browning@From Brazil To You December 26, 2014, 2:59 pm

    What scrumptious cookies, Julia! My hubby is crazy for pecans… I bet he’d gobble the whole batch of sandies by himself.
    I hope you had a very Merry Xmas. May your New Year be full of great surprises. xx

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen December 26, 2014, 4:10 pm

    Gorgeous! Shortbread cookies, especially with nuts, are my ultimate favorite! Love the step-by-step instructions and cannot wait to try this recipe with browned butter. Brilliant idea of adding pure maple syrup for flavor and a pretty shine. Well done, my friend. 🙂 Happy Holidays!

  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress) December 26, 2014, 10:35 pm

    I loooooove bropwn butter and pecan sandies are the perfect way to use it!!

  • Liz December 26, 2014, 11:46 pm

    YUM! I’m trying your recipe next. They’re darker like I recall from my childhood. The ones I made recently were tasty, but not perfect. Happy New Year!
    P.S. Thanks for the lovely compliment. I try to exercise every day–hot yoga and/or the treadmill.

  • Deb|EastofEdenCooking December 27, 2014, 3:35 pm

    Browned butter is such a delight! Paired with brown sugar and pecans these sandies are outstanding. Happy holidays!

  • Matt December 28, 2014, 1:20 am

    Drool!

  • Kevin | keviniscooking December 28, 2014, 7:21 am

    Brushing these with maple syrup is genius! Love these!

  • Christin@SpicySouthernKitchen December 28, 2014, 6:35 pm

    Love your detailed instructions for making browned butter! These cookies look amazing!

  • Sarah@WholeandHeavenlyOven January 1, 2015, 9:30 am

    These cookies are absolutely stunning! Pecan sandies are a big favorite around here and I love the addition of browned butter! (really, what doesn’t brown butter go amazingly in) 😉 Pinning these beauties!

  • cheri January 1, 2015, 8:23 pm

    Hi Julia, what a beautiful cookie to bring in the new year! These look delicious!

  • Lori January 12, 2015, 3:54 pm

    Are these crunchy or soft chewy cookies?

  • Laurie November 27, 2016, 2:52 pm

    I made these little delights for Thanksgiving…they were wonderful!!!

    • Julia December 17, 2016, 8:13 pm

      Thank you! So glad you liked them!

  • Jessica December 19, 2016, 5:46 pm

    This recipe is fantastic! The first time I made them, they looked and tasted great. I just made these today for the second time and they turned out flat instead of holding their shape. Still delicious of course but they look nothing like the first time I made them. Any idea what could have went wrong? I ensured the butter was solidified before I made the batter. I just went back and read over the ingredients and instructions and I didn’t miss anything. The only thing I did different this time was use my kitchen aid to mix everything instead of hand mixing. It’s 10 degrees out so I know humidity is not a factor ha.

    • Julia December 22, 2016, 12:48 pm

      Thank you – I am glad you liked it! About the second time you made it – if you ensured that the butter was solidified before adding the rest of the ingredients, maybe you just measured the flour differently this time and ended up not adding enough flour? Was the uncooked cookie dough quite crumbly? It should’ve been. If this issue happens again, make sure that the uncooked cookie dough is very crumbly and holds its shape well. If not – add more flour.

  • Karen January 23, 2017, 6:43 pm

    Oh my these were a hit!! I made these back in December for a cookie exchange and I froze the left over cookie batter. And today as I was cleaning out my freezer I seen these. So decided to bake the rest, only problem is I keep digging my fingers in the unbaked cookie batter…. IT’S SOOO GOOD!! I did eventually bake them ommitting the pecans that you put on top since I had none and it was STILL good like the first time I made them!

    Oh and some of my friends was asking me the recipe for this delicious insane cookies. I was gonna say “It’s an old family recipe” haha jk 😉
    but I directed them here to give you credit.

    • Julia January 31, 2017, 12:36 am

      Hi Karen! Thank you for taking your time to leave such a nice comment that made my day! I am so glad you liked the cookies, and good to know that the cookie batter kept well since December! I agree – these do have that good old, cozy “old family recipe” feel and taste to them. 🙂

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