Pecan Praline Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting

One of the best things about being a home cook is finding others who share that same interest. It is a delight to meet someone whose eyes sparkle at the mention of recipes and who can tell a story about the dishes they serve. Even better is meeting someone who shares (or at least understands) your taste preferences and food quirks.

I met one of my dearest food friends when we moved into our first house in Texas. It so happened that she lived right next door. Over the years Anne and I have shared many dinners and special events together. We have also swapped many recipes. The recipes she shares are often versatile and always dependable. Even better they almost invariably appeal to my particular sense of taste and style. These cookies, rich with brown sugar and pecans, are no exception.

I first tasted these at a Christmas Cookie Swap several decades ago. I have made them almost every Christmas since. They are not difficult to prepare but do require an extra step for the frosting. That extra step makes them pretty and doubly tasty, therefore perfect for the holiday season.

Pecan Praline Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup finely chopped pecans
Brown Sugar Frosting (see below)
Pecan halves for garnish

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer. Gradually add sugars, mixing well. Add egg and vanilla; beat well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt. Gradually add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, stirring after each addition. Stir in the chopped pecans.

Chill dough for 30 minutes.

When chilled, remove from the refrigerator. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place the balls of dough on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

When cool, spread Brown Sugar Frosting over the tops of the cookies. Top each with a pecan half before the icing sets.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Brown Sugar Frosting

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup half & half
1 Tablespoon butter
1½ cups sifted powdered sugar (plus a little more if needed)

Combine brown sugar and half & half in a saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 4 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in butter. Add 1½ cups powdered sugar. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add a little more powdered sugar, if needed, to achieve a desired spreading consistency.



Holly said...

These are pretty and delicious sounding too:)

Sans said...

I make these cookies every year, too!! They are quite a hit. Found the recipe in Southern Living many years ago.

Kathy Walker said...

These look absolutely wonderful! I am printing this recipe so that I can make them soon....

grace said...

cookies = nice. frosting = outstanding. tasty work, lisa!

Gypmar said...

Oh, yum! I can't wait to try these.

LeLo said...

Making these...check your soda listing: it's listed twice. I'm going to guess it's 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon soda.....yes?

I think they're going to be deee-lish. My mom sent me a bag of pecans from Texas and this is what I'm making with them. Does my mom know me or what?!

Lisa said...

Lelo - Thanks for pointing out the soda listing. I double checked my original, hand written for that 1991 Cookie Swap, only to find I had recopied it as written. Looking through my notes I found that I have been making them with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt. I've updated the recipe here.

Do try them. They really are delicious and will be perfect made with fresh Texas pecans. My friend, Anne, would sometimes share freshly shelled pecans from her parents' yard. I love pecans but I never knew they could taste quite that good. Enjoy!

LeLo said...

I just made the dough with the soda/powder, no salt option. Crossing my fingers!

Cathy said...

What a yummy cookie with all that brown sugar icing!

Happiest holiday best wishes to you and your family, Lisa.

Alanna Kellogg said...

I make these every year -- one of my Christmas favorites, for sure.

EXCEPT this year when I baked not a single cookie and my sister took such pity she mailed me shortbread. Good sister!

Happy New Year!

Rebstarr said...

Is the flour all-purpose or self-rising?

Lisa said...

Rebstarr - For this recipe I use all-purpose flour.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if anyone has frozen these...I am doing a cookie exchange in November and need cookies that freeze well for Christmas! thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hello. I am making these cookies today. Can you please tell me if the brown sugar is dark or light brown sugar? THANKS!

Lisa said...

I usually use light brown sugar when making these cookies. That said, I don't think it would be a problem to use dark brown sugar. It would make the taste a little stronger but would not change the texture of the cookies.

I have frozen these cookies several times with good results. The cookie holds up better to freezing than the frosting. Ideally, I would freeze the cookies unfrosted and then add the frosting just before serving but I have also frozen them with the frosting on and have not declined to eat them after thawing!

Thanks for the comments!

Anonymous said...

What's half and half? I'm fro. Uk and not sure what this I but really want to bake these, thanks j x

Lisa said...

Anonymous - Half and half is bought here from the dairy shelf at the supermarket and consists of half cream and half whole milk. I am reading that it has a fat content between 10 and 12%. I don't think it will change the results significantly if you use whole milk or light cream instead. Just add enough to the frosting to achieve a consistency that spreads easily but does not run. I hope that helps!

Jig said...

These cookies were very easy to make. My family loved them!

Laurie said...

These are delicious! I made them today with great results, using dark brown sugar!

Lisa said...

Jig and Laurie -Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad these cookies turned out well for you. They are truly a personal favorite of mine!

Anonymous said...

These are favorites at our house. I have some in the oven now! Not only do they have a wonderful, shortbread-nutty flavor, they look great, too.

Jennifer said...

Are they a soft, chewy cookie?

nfaband said...

I made these today for the first time, they are a yummy soft cookie with a delicious frosting. I made my frosting more like a glaze by adding a bit more cream and stirring after the frosting was off the heat. I then dipped each cookie in to the frosting and added a whole pecan half. There are 5 of us in the house and one guest and they are almost all gone already. This recipe is a keeper. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Unknown said...

I made these for a cookie exchange. They were delicious and devoured. I drizzled the frosting on top instead of spreading.

Brittany Evans said...

I am SOOO excited to make these! I actually came across your recipe on someone else's blog...I soon realized that this was just a rip-off blog. I can't BELIEVE some people. When I realized that the blog looked kind of fishy, I searched on pinterest for Praline Pecan Cookies, and came across your blog, the true source! So I want to give YOU a big thank you for your amazing recipe! I cannot wait to try them! :)

Kelsey said...

My Mom and I made these cookies along with tons more cookies and bars. I am a huge fan of pecan parlines anyway, these cookies are SO GOOD!!!! So glad to try this recipe for the first time and we will continue to make them every year! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!