The warm, caramelized goodness of pecan pie filling meets a buttery, tender cookie in these elegant and impressive thumbprint cookies. These sweet treats encompass everything there is to love about pecan pie, but in a portable, easy-to-eat package. Both the filling and dough can also be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge for easy assembly the next day.


Credit: Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Rishon Hanners Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

Recipe Summary

20 mins
1 hr 30 mins
32 cookies




Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare the Cookies: Combine pecans and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a food processor, and pulse until nuts are finely ground, about 20 pulses. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl.

  • Beat butter and sugar with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour, 1/4 cup of the chopped nut mixture, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat just until mixture comes together, about 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using floured hands, roll dough into about 32 (1-inch) balls. Roll balls in remaining nut mixture. Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Using your thumb or the back of a spoon, gently make an indentation in center of each ball.

  • Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned around edges, 14 to 15 minutes; remove from oven, and press centers again. Let cool on pans until ready to use.

  • While cookies bake, prepare the Filling: Stir together pecans, brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, egg, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly before using, about 10 minutes.

  • Assemble the Cookies: Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon filling in center of each cookie. Let stand until filling cools.