Pecan Sandies

One of the many benefits of making pecan sandies at home is that you can decide to make them as large as you want—no more cookies the size of half dollars. Pecan sandies have a richness that comes from both the molasses used to make brown sugar and the butter and pecans that make up most of the cookie dough. Not dissimilar from shortbread, pecan sandies are cookies that are made by a simple mix of butter, sugar, and flour. Cookies of this kind are firm and crumbly, as opposed to the gooey or cakey cookies that have some other kind of liquid ingredients like milk or eggs. However, pecan sandies are not your average shortbread. The ratio of pecans to flour is 1:1.5, meaning that pecans are packed into this cookie dough to give as much added flavor and texture as they can. Unlike many recipes for this cookie, our recipe calls for you to toast the pecans before you add them to the cookie dough—we do this to enhance the nuttiness of the pecans, further helping the ingredient flavor the cookie dough. Vanilla extract is also an important ingredient in the dough, as it is a typical flavoring used for shortbread, and we throw in a touch of cinnamon to further deepen the pecan flavor. Now, get to baking and enjoy the sweet reward of making pecan sandies for yourself!

Pecan Sandies
Photo: Micah A. Leal
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
18 cookies


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pecans in a metal roasting pan and roast in the oven until just toasted and smelling nutty, about 8 minutes; set aside to cool. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. In the bowl of a mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until lightened and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and salt; beat to combine. Add cinnamon and flour, and incorporate on low until no dry pockets remain. Add pecans and stir to incorporate pecans into dough.

  3. Scoop and shape 1 1/2 inch balls of dough and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Use the bottom of a glass or ramekin to press down on a ball until it creates a disc that's 1/2-inch thick. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

  4. Bake, rotating halfway through baking, until the edges are set and just begin to take on color, 18 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

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