Ultra-light and delicate, these meltaway cookies are flavored with chopped pecans, coated in powdered sugar, and can be made into half-moon or round shapes.
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Table of Contents
- About Pecan Meltaway Cookies
- What is a meltaway cookie?
- What’s in pecan meltaways?
- Do you need to chill the cookie dough?
- Can you use other nuts than pecans?
- Can you make these in advance?
- How long are pecan meltaway cookies good for?
- Can you freeze meltaway cookies?
- Notes & tips for meltaway cookies
- More fun cookie recipes
- How to make pecan meltaway cookies
- Recipe Details
About Pecan Meltaway Cookies
Out of all the cookies I’ve made during the holiday season, these meltaway cookies tend to always be the breakout favorites.
And if I had to guess, I’d say that was probably due to the light texture of a meltaway coupled with a delicate crunch of chopped pecans.
I mean, even typing that sentence makes me want to whip up another batch. Which is also another thing I love about these cookies: they’re not “just” a holiday cookie. They’re a perfect fit for any event or sweet craving all year long.
What is a meltaway cookie?
This cookie can come in a variety of different flavors, but there’s one thing that always links them together:
The soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
The consistency is light like a Mexican wedding cookie (or polvorones) with a slight resemblance to shortbread. In short, these cookies are very light and dry (yet still soft) and the combination is what makes these cookies feel like they dissolve as they touch your tongue.
What’s in pecan meltaways?
In order to whip up a batch of these ultra-soft and airy cookies, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Unsalted butter and all-purpose flour – Classic baking ingredients for delicious cookies.
- Powdered sugar – For a little added sweetness and an easy coating for the outsides of the cookies.
- Vanilla extract – Adds light and simple flavor.
- Chopped pecans – The star of the show! You can either leave these chopped or finely ground them.
Do you need to chill the cookie dough?
This particular recipe calls for chilling the cookie dough for at least one hour.
I know it can be frustrating to put your baking on hold, but chilling the dough is totally worth the impact it has on your baking when it comes to cookies.
The short explanation for chilling has to do with the butter. The firmer the butter is at the time of baking, the slower it will melt, which makes cookies less likely to spread while baking. So, as a general rule of thumb, chilling the dough will lead to more dense, fluffy cookies while not chilling will lead to flatter, chewier cookies. This is not always the case, though. Whether you need to chill depends largely on the amount of butter used AND the composition of the other ingredients.
If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of chilling dough (with examples!) then check out this article: To Chill or not to Chill.
Can you use other nuts than pecans?
Yes, you totally can! Feel free to have fun customizing this recipe with walnuts, almonds, or even a combination of your favorites.
Can you make these in advance?
Certainly! Most cookies are great for baking ahead and these meltaways are no exception.
To ensure the best presentation, I recommend preparing these cookies no more than 24 hours in advance. The only thing you need to worry about is the powdered sugar coating, as the cookies may absorb this over time. You can avoid this by either waiting to coat the cookies until just before serving OR storing the cookies with excess powdered sugar and giving the container a few gentle rolls to coat the cookies again before serving.
How long are pecan meltaway cookies good for?
Once prepared, these pecan meltaway cookies can be stored in a sealed container on the counter for up to 5-7 days. If you store them in the refrigerator, they may last up to 2 weeks.
Can you freeze meltaway cookies?
Due to the delicate and light texture of these cookies, I would not recommend freezing the baked cookies.
However, you can freeze the unbaked dough for up to three months. You can either freeze the whole dough ball or shape the cookies so they’re ready to bake. When ready to bake, let the dough thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then continue preparing the cookies as written in the recipe instructions.
Notes & tips for meltaway cookies
- If you’re doing a lot of baking, I highly recommend having some silicone baking mats on hand. Baking cookies takes enough time without having to cut or measure parchment paper. Or if you prefer using parchment paper, you can try using pre-cut parchment paper sheets instead.
- Plus, some quality baking sheets are a must for a cookie-baking extravaganza!
- For this recipe, I highly recommend using a stand mixer or a hand mixer. This recipe would be difficult to make by hand with a whisk.
- If you follow this recipe as it’s written, it says to remove the dough from the mixing bowl and wrap it in plastic wrap. I’ve found this to be the best for chilling dough, and if you’re baking a lot of cookies, it also helps you save valuable space in your refrigerator. However, if you really don’t want to deal with the plastic wrap, you could just cover the mixing bowl and chill it that way.
More fun cookie recipes
How to make pecan meltaway cookies
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 2 – With the mixer still running, add the vanilla and flour. Keep mixing until a fluffy dough forms.
Step 3 – Turn off the mixer and pour in the chopped pecans, then use a spatula to gently fold it into the dough.
Step 4 – Lay out a piece of plastic wrap, roughly form the dough into a ball, then place the dough on the plastic. Pull up the edges of the plastic and wrap the dough nice and tight.
Step 5 – Chill the dough!
Step 6 – When ready to bake, pinch off a small piece of dough, roll it between your hands, and then shape it into either a ball or a half-moon shape. Place the prepared cookie ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat this step until all the dough is used.
Step 7 – Bake!
Step 8 – Once the cookies have cooled, use the remaining powdered sugar and thoroughly coat each cookie.
Step 9 – Serve and enjoy!
Pecan Meltaway Cookies
- Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), cream together butter and 1 cup powdered sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, about 5-7 minutes.1 cup unsalted butter, 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
- Drop mixer speed to low and add vanilla, mixing thoroughly, about 1 minute.2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Keeping speed on low, mix in flour, working in btaches of 1/3-1/2 cup at a time. Stop mixing once dough looks smooth and uniform. Be careful not to overmix.2 cups all-purpose flour
- Turn off mixer and add ground/chopped pecans to bowl. Use a spatula to gently fold pecans into dough.1 cup chopped pecans
- Remove dough from bowl and place on a piece of plastic wrap. Firmly wrap dough and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Unwrap dough and use your fingers to pinch off 1-2 tablespoons, then roll dough into a ball. You can either bake these cookies as round balls or you can shape dough into little crescent moons. Place formed cookie dough ball on prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Repeat this step until all dough is used.
- Bake cookies for 18-20 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are a light golden color. If baking two cookie sheets at once, rotate baking sheets halfway through cooking time.
- Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once cookies are cooled, put remaining 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a bowl. Dip cookies in powdered sugar, tossing them to coat. Repeat this setup until every cookie is coated. NOTE: As cookies rest, they may absorb powdered sugar coating; this is normal. Cookies can be tossed in powdered sugar again for a freshly-baked look.1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
- Serve immediately.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.