You know how I buy whatever I come across that’s new and looks even remotely delicious, right? Well, it happened a few months ago when I was at Costco. I came across a jar of Purely Pecans Pecan Butter (the Sea Salt Y’All edition) and I had to try it. Don’t get me wrong, I love normal peanut butter. But peanuts aren’t even close to my favorite nut. And there are so many to choose from!
I’ve tried every nut butter I’ve come across, from cashew butter to macadamia nut butter, almond butter to hazelnut butter. Let me tell you. There’s not a single one that I don’t like. I hadn’t, until this point, ever come across pecan butter, but I LOVE PECANS. They’re my go-to baking nut. I put them in my chocolate chip cookies and banana breads when I know I’m not dealing with any nut averse folks. I love making pecan pie in the fall. How had I never thought about pecan butter?? I had to try it.
Y’all, this lovely creation did not disappoint. While on Whole30, I mashed it up into roasted sweet potatoes topped with sliced bananas for breakfast almost every day. Now that I’m back to eating all the things, I use it on rice cakes with jam. I’ve blended it into smoothies. I’ve drizzled it on ice cream. And today, I decided that I was going to make some cookies with it. Because I had to know if it could run the full gamut of nut butter roles, you know?
I Googled “Pecan Butter Cookies” to see if anyone else had yet had the inclination to make this into a reality. Alas, every single recipe I could find was for Butter Pecan cookies, which is completely different! I didn’t want a butter cookie studded with pecans (well, I did, because that sounds delicious, but that wasn’t the RECIPE I was looking for). I wanted something that would use my beautiful new find for dessert purposes, not for health-related ones. (How many times do I have to remind y’all, it’s QUARANTINE. I am giving myself some leniency here). I even re-Googled “Cookies Using Pecan Butter” to no avail. Y'all, I could not and would not be deterred.
I went out on a limb and reconfigured a peanut butter cookie recipe to fit my needs.
I was a little concerned that the consistency of the pecan butter might end up affecting the final product, as it’s a bit thinner than other nut butters I’ve worked with. I can say without hesitation that the dough is some of the tastiest cookie dough I’ve tasted. (Mom, don’t worry, it was only a little bit. I’m not going to die.) This seemed like a promising sign.
The cookies turned out beautifully. While my fork hashing didn’t show up in the end result (perhaps because of the consistency difference with peanut butter), the cookies were crispy, delicate, buttery, simple and lovely as can be. The flavor was less intense than a peanut butter cookie, with a subtlety that might well appeal to those who say they don’t like nuts (those people ARE nuts).
In the future, I may use this as a base for other cookie recipes and just fold in whatever my heart desires - more nuts (chopped pecans!), chocolate chips, shredded coconut, M&Ms, etc. I might yet turn some into ice cream sandwiches. But rest assured, they are a head above sugar cookies in the flavor department and are simply delicious just the way they are.
Pecan Butter (NOT Butter Pecan) Cookies
- In a medium bowl, cream together butter (I used salted, because I like salty sweets), pecan butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar. Scrape down sides of bowl. Continue to mix on medium speed for 5+ minutes to allow the sugars to create air pockets in the butter.
- Add in eggs and vanilla extract, mixing until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix 30 seconds longer.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together AP Flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt. Add dries to butter mix, mixing until just incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the bowl to ensure an even mix.
- OPTIONAL: Now is the time to add in any mix-ins you'd like, e.g. dried fruit, toasted nuts, chocolate chips, M&Ms, etc.
- Rest dough in fridge for at least one hour and up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Scoop dough out in roughly 1 inch balls, spaced about 2 inches apart. (Note: Don’t fuss with doing the traditional hashing you would do on a peanut butter cookie. You won’t see it in the end result. Pushing a whole pecan down on the top might be a lovely decorative touch though, if you’re into that.) Bake for 9-10 minutes, until edges are lightly golden brown. Rest for 2 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a rack to cool or your mouth to eat. EAT THEM ALL. Or share. It’s up to you. I won’t judge either way.
The Hack (so as not to eat ALL the Pecan Butter Cookies you just made)
If you, like me, have trouble pacing yourself with tasty things and don’t currently have the “quaranteam” to foist your naughty treats on, I have a hack for you. My friend Lauren and I devised this strategy when we decided to single handedly (double handedly?) pull off a bake sale for our Students for Human Rights group in college. We made a total of 25 varieties of cookies and nearly a thousand individual pieces that we baked off two trays at a time in just one night. It was sheer madness that took HOURS. At least we were able to get a jump on making the doughs ahead of time with this little trick.
Using a disher (this not only makes for speedy drop cookies, it also ensures consistency of shape and size), scoop out your dough onto a sheet tray (don’t worry about spacing them out at all) and pop it in the freezer. Once the dough balls are frozen, pop them into a zip bag or storage container, label and date them, and pop 'em back in the freezer.
Next time a cookie craving strikes, pop out one (let’s get real. You know you’re gonna want at least two, so may as well pop out three, right?) ball, put it on your toaster oven’s baking tray with a piece of parchment, and bake off A SINGLE PORTION. The best part? Every time the craving strikes, you’ll get a fresh, warm from the oven cookie. Boom. Take that, mug cakes.