These Bourbon pecan cookies make a delicious fall or Holiday season treat. The buttery cookies are crispy but soft enough to not crumble into pieces when you bite into them. The filling is full of brown butter and Bourbon flavor and goes nicely with the pecans.
About the recipe:
My inspiration for this recipe were Kentucky Bourbon balls, one of my favorite confections of all time. In case you’ve never had them, Bourbon balls are chocolate-covered rounds filled with a sweet Bourbon buttercream and usually topped with a pecan nut. I made a similar Bourbon buttercream filling for the cookies here but browned the butter for extra flavor. The cookies themselves are full of roughly chopped pecans that add great texture and a toasty, nutty flavor. Overall, this is an easy-to-make, delicious cookie that’s perfect for a crisp fall afternoon or the Holidays.
For the cookie dough:
For the filling:
How to make the cookies:
Make the cookie dough:
This is a straight forward cookie dough that’s easy to make and nicely pliable. Here is an overview of the steps with photos. (For the full recipe, scroll down to the recipe card.)
- Cream butter and sugar.
- Whip in an egg, then flour, salt and vanilla extract.
- Whip in pecans, then knead into a ball, cut in half and form into two disks.
- Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge.
Make the cookies:
- Roll out the dough.
- Cut out the cookies and bake. I used my Linzer cookie cutter to make rounds with a fluted edge but you can use any cookie cutter you like.
How to make the filling:
- Start the filling by browning and then cooling the butter. (This tends to take a while so I recommend you start while the cookies are in the oven or even while the dough is chilling.)
- After the butter is solidified again, whip it with powdered sugar, vanilla extract and Bourbon until soft and fluffy.
- Fill the cookies.
Recipe notes, tips and questions:
You can’t easily cut this recipe in half because of the one egg in it. However, you can bake only one of the two cookie dough disks and freeze the other. (Simply transfer the plastic-wrapped disk into a freezer bag and freeze.) To thaw, let the disk sit on the kitchen counter until the dough is pliable (about 1 ½ hours).
Position one oven rack right below the middle of the oven and a second one right above the middle. Heat the oven, then set the cookie sheets on the two racks. Halfway through the baking time, switch the positions of the sheets (both top to bottom and front to back).
Yes, these cookies freeze well in a freezer bag. To thaw, let them sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
You can let the filled cookies sit out at cool room temperature for several hours. To store them longer than that, transfer them to a freezer bag and freeze. Let them sit out on the kitchen counter for about 20 minutes to thaw.
More delicious Bourbon desserts:
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Bourbon Pecan Cookies
For the cookies:
- 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
For the filling:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tablespoons Bourbon
For the glaze:
For the cookies:
- In a large mixing bowl, whip butter and sugar until creamy.
- Whip in the egg, then the flour, salt and vanilla and continue to whip until the dough starts to come together.
- Add the chopped pecans and whip until just incorporated.
- Bring the dough together by hand and form into a ball. Cut the ball in half, shape into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the dough and cut out the cookies. Set them on large baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (You can gather and re-roll the scraps once.) If you have two sheets, you can bake the two batches at the same time. If not, bake them one at a time. (Be sure to let the sheet cool down to room temperature before setting the second batch of cookies on.)
- Bake the cookies until lightly browned (about 14 minutes), then let them cool. While the cookies are in the oven, make the brown butter for the filling.
For the filling:
- Melt the butter in a skillet until it starts to brown. Let cool a bit, then transfer to a mixing bowl and cool in the fridge.
- Once the browned butter is completely solidified, add powdered sugar and vanilla and whip with an electric mixer until creamy.* Add the Bourbon and whip until fluffy and creamy. (Don't worry if the mix breaks at first, it will come together again as you continue to whip.)
- Add a dollop of filling to half of the cookies and top with a second cookie.