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Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

5 from 4 votes
Homemade Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies have a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-like base filled with a delicious pecan pie filling!
Homemade Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies are served on a white dish next to a mug of hot chocolate. The thumbprint cookies are dimpled in the middle and filled with a pecan pie filling.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHAT YOU GET: My Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies recipe yields sweet, crumbly cookies with a decadent pecan pie filling. They taste just like mini pecan pies but are even easier to make. No need for a muffin tin! 

Pecan Pie is a fan favorite during Thanksgiving, but who says you can’t have more during December — let alone all year round? 

For all of you pecan pie lovers out there who want bite-sized versions, I’ve put a twist on a classic thumbprint cookie and made my show-stopping Pecan Pie Thumbprint recipe. It has a shortbread-like cookie dough that is the perfect vessel for our sweet pecan pie filling. 

In just under 45 minutes, using tools and ingredients you may already have lying around from Thanksgiving baking, you’ll have beautiful Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies. Make them for friends, family, and, of course, yourself for the holidays!

Table Of Contents

A dish of Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies, shortbread cookies filled with pecan pie filling, are served alongside a mug filled with hot chocolate.

What Are Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint cookies, also known as Hallongrotta, originate from Sweden. They are shortbread cookies with filling and are very popular during Christmas time. Traditional thumbprint cookies have raspberry jam filling, but for this recipe, we’ve added a pecan pie filling twist.

Thumbprint cookies got their name because we use our thumbs to make an indent in the center of the cookie. For this reason, these cookies make for great filling holders and are extraordinarily beautiful on a holiday cookie platter.

Tools You Need To Make Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients You Need To Make Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Filling:

  • Pecans: Pecans have a robust, buttery, and sweet flavor that’s perfect for pie filling.
  • Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar is crucial to a moist and dense cookie. Try making your own here!
  • Light Corn Syrup: Adds a touch of sweetness to your cookies without adding too much flavor.
  • Butter:  Make sure to soften your butter before use so that your cookies come out perfectly tender.
  • Vanilla Extract: Try making Homemade Vanilla Extract to enhance your cookies.
  • Salt: Just a little goes a long way!

Cookie Dough:

  • Butter
  • Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar or “white sugar” will give these cookies the perfect amount of sweetness in each bite.
  • Salt
  • Egg: Eggs are our binding agent. They’ll make your cookies tender while giving them structure.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour’s protein content will give you perfectly textured cookie dough.

How To Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Filling:

  1. Combine filling ingredients until evenly blended, and set aside.

Cookie Dough:

  1. In a stand mixer, or in a bowl with a handheld electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the egg and vanilla extract until combined, scraping down the sides to ensure even mixing.
  3. Gradually add flour until just combined.

Assemble The Thumbprint Cookies:

  1. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheets.
  2. Press your thumb into the center of each cookie to create a deep indent.
  3. Divide pecan pie filling evenly among the cookies.
  4. Bake until the cookie is pale golden and the filling is beginning to caramelize.
  5. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Can I Make Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies Ahead Of Time?

Yes, you can! Simply make the cookie dough and pecan pie filling. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it alongside the filling in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake off, follow the recipe as usual.

How To Store Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

If you have leftover Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

If you’re planning on freezing baked thumbprint cookies, I recommend stacking the cookies with parchment paper in between. This will prevent the cookies from sticking together. Let them come to room temperature before enjoying.

Ingredient Substitutions

Out of some ingredients? Check out the following guides to help you on your baking journey!

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies are stacked on top of each other on a white dish, next to a Santa mug on top of a Christmas-themed tablecloth.

FAQs

How do I prevent cracking thumbprint cookies?

Though I use salted butter for many of my recipes, softened, high-quality unsalted butter should help prevent your thumbprint cookies from cracking too much. Be sure to roll your dough very smooth before baking to avoid cracks! 

Why is my cookie dough so crumbly?

If your dough doesn’t seem to be coming together at first, continue giving it a mix. If it still doesn’t come together, you may have used too much of an ingredient during the mixing process. To resolve this issue, try adding a bit more butter to your dough.

Why did my cookies flatten?

Your cookies may have flattened while baking because of two things: 1) Your oven is too hot and melted the butter before the cookies could form properly, or 2) Your cookie dough was too warm when you formed the balls. In the latter case, you can try refrigerating your dough in plastic wrap for a bit before rolling it into balls.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

  • Make sure to chop the pecans nice and small to easily fill the cookies.
  • The cookies will stay pale when baked. Don’t over bake, or the filling will become too chewy to eat.
  • You can finish these cookies with a drizzle of melted chocolate if you wish.
  • Try replacing the pecans with walnuts for a different twist.
  • Serve these alongside Petite Pumpkin Pies as part of a fun holiday dessert buffet.

Try More Holiday Cookie Recipes!

And don’t miss more everyday baking recipes in my NEW Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook!

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

5 from 4 votes
Homemade Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies have a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-like base filled with a delicious pecan pie filling!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 24 cookies
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Homemade Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies have a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-like base filled with a delicious pecan pie filling!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 24 cookies

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • ¾ cup (3¾ oz/105 g) pecans, finely chopped
  • cup (2 oz/57 g) brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the Cookie Dough

  • 1 cup (8 oz/225 g) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (6 oz/170 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (10 oz/284 g) all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

To Make the Filling

  • In a small bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla extract, and salt until evenly blended. Set aside.

To Make the Cookie Dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with a medium bowl and a handheld electric mixer), cream the butter, granulated sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
  • Turn the mixing speed to low and gradually add the flour until just combined.

To Assemble and Bake

  • Roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls and place 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  • Press your thumb into the center of each cookie to create a deep indent.
  • Divide the pecan filling evenly among the cookies.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes, until pale golden and the filling is beginning to caramelize.
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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Sarah
Sarah
23 days ago

Would dark corn syrup work in place of the light corn syrup?

Kelsie
Kelsie
1 month ago

Absolutely delicious!! I didn’t have pecans so I used walnuts and these cookies were amazing! The centre gave the cookie a great chew as well which is a lovely contrast to the shortbread outer.

DeAnne Knisley
DeAnne Knisley
1 month ago

Can these cookies be frozen?

Eckelberry Karen
Eckelberry Karen
1 month ago

Can you use store bought Cookie dough?

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook