These Pecan Praline Cookies (the 1986 Winner's Recipe) are one of the best cookies I've made in ages. They are the perfect cookie! The butter, brown sugar and pecans make them taste so much like a praline, but with all the goodness of a cookie! Chewy in the middle with crispy edges and the crunch of pecans in the buttery base.
My kids went crazy for these Praline Cookies and we made a second batch within hours of the first! There was no way to eat just one pecan praline cookie!
- Pecan Praline Cookies: The 1986 Winner's Recipe
- Why You'll Love Pecan Praline Cookies
- What are Pralines?
- What are Praline Cookies?
- Equipment Needed:
- How to Make Pecan Praline Cookies
- Pro Tips
- Serving Pecan Praline Cookies
- Storage Directions
- Recipe FAQ
- More Praline, Pecan & Easy Cookie Recipes
Pecan Praline Cookies: The 1986 Winner's Recipe
A little history... this Pralines Cookie recipe became 'famous' in 1986 when Jean McGree of Flossmoor, Illinois submitted the recipe to the Chicago Tribune Annual Food Guide Holiday Cookie Contest for Christmas cookies. Here's a snippet of the article for how these southern pecan cookies became so well-known:
Jean McGree of Flossmoor ''bores everyone,'' she says, with this family tale of Christmas praline cookies:
''Since the time Mom had been a little girl, each November Grandma would surround her back yard pecan tree with sheets to catch the falling nuts. But most of the nuts had to be knocked from the branches with her long-handled broom. Then she would spend hours stooped over those sheets, picking up the pecans and sorting the good ones from the black and hollow shells.
''When her daughter married and moved away, the nuts were carefully picked over, packaged and shipped `up North.` Free time in the first week of December was always marked for shelling the pecans. Sore hands and stiff backs were repaid with secret nibbling and promises of praline cookies for Christmas.
''Soon, I`ll start looking for a package from Great-Grandma in South Carolina. Then, as we crack the pecans, I can retell the `pecan story` to Michael and Ann, who know that Santa always looks for pralines on Christmas Eve.''
The praline cookies recipe has obviously stood the test of time (more than 30 years!) so when I came across it recently, I had to make them.
These brown sugar pecan cookies have the most amazing praline flavor with crunchy pecans in every bite and caramel flavor from the brown sugar and butter. They are perfect for any occasion, whether you're making them as Christmas cookies or satisfying your sweet tooth at any other time of year!
If you're in need of an easy cookie recipe that is guaranteed to impress, look no further than the 1986 Winner's Recipe. Not only are these Pecan Praline Cookies incredibly delicious, but they're also really easy to make. With just a few basic ingredients that you probably already have, you can have a batch of these mouthwatering, chewy pecan cookies ready to enjoy in no time.
These cookies are also called Chewy Pecan Supreme Cookies - and they are supreme 😉
Why You'll Love Pecan Praline Cookies
Pecan Praline Cookies are a delightful treat that will have you falling head over heels in love. As soon as my kids tried them, they said I had to make more!
First of all, the combination of pecans and brown sugar is pure perfection. These cookies are the ultimate comfort food, reminiscent of old-fashioned southern butter pecan cookies. The brown sugar and butter create a rich, caramel-like flavor that is just cozy and warm and irresistible.
What are Pralines?
Pralines are a type of confection that typically consists of nuts, usually almonds or pecans, coated in caramelized sugar. The mixture is often cooked to a specific temperature to achieve the desired texture, and then it's spooned or dropped onto a surface to cool and harden.
There are different variations of pralines, Southern Pralines being the ones I'm most familiar with and they have the added ingredients of cream, butter, and vanilla. Southern pralines have cream, butter, vanilla, pecans and are made with brown sugar.
I have an amazing recipe for those too here ➡️ Easy Southern Pecan Pralines.
What are Praline Cookies?
Praline Cookies have so much flavor in common with Southern pralines. They're chewy, buttery cookies with brown sugar and pecans. If you want the flavor of pralines but in a cookie form - make a big batch of Praline Cookies: The 1986 Winner's Recipe.
- Mixing Bowl
- Hand Mixer
- Silicone Spatula
- Baking Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Cookie Scoop (optional)
I've already mentioned this but you can not get a more basic list of ingredients than these. Almost any baker will have all of this on hand already (except for maybe the chopped pecans - unless you're like me; I keep them in the freezer at all times).
Also, this is a cookie recipe without baking soda or powder. I was a little skeptical that it would work, but ohmygoodess, there's no reason to doubt!
- Butter - I use salted butter for this recipe but I'm sure unsalted would be just fine, softened to room temperature
- Light Brown Sugar - be sure to pack it tight in the measuring cup
- Egg - one whole large egg, at room temperature
- All-Purpose Flour
- Vanilla Extract - homemade vanilla or store-bought will work great
- Pecans - you can buy pecan halves and chop them yourself or save a step and buy chopped pecans.
- Optional: Extra pecan halves or chopped pecans for decoration: These can be placed on top of each cookie before baking for an extra touch of elegance.
As far as new recipes go, I don't feel the need to make a single change to this recipe - it's so, so good! If you decide to make a substitution, please leave me a comment and let me know how it goes!
How to Make Pecan Praline Cookies
Ready to enjoy some amazing pecan praline cookies? Get your mixing bowls and measuring cups ready, because we're about to dive into the step-by-step process of creating these delightful treats.
Whether you're a seasoned baker or a beginner, as far as cookie recipes go, this recipe is foolproof and guaranteed to impress.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and egg together until light and fluffy. Mix in the teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Next, stir in the dry ingredients: flour, salt, and pecans. The mixture will first look like coarse crumbs but if you continue to mix, it will come together into a scoopable dough that is very firm. You could do this by hand or use a hand mixer.
- Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop out balls of dough. OR shape into balls about the size of walnuts (1-inch balls or a little larger work great)
- Place the balls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Use the bottom of a glass or a cookie press to flatten to about ⅛ to ¼ inch thick. (I used the flat bottom of a small ramekin)
- This step is optional but I love to add a few extra pieces of pecan to the tops of the cookies. It makes them look fancier and adds a nice texture to the tops of the cookies.
- Place in the hot oven and Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until brown.
- Once they're out of the oven, let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Want to take your pecan praline cookies to the next level? Here are some pro tips to help you create the most delicious and irresistible batch of cookies ever.
1. Toast Your Pecans: Before adding them to the cookie dough, take a few extra minutes to toast your pecans. This will bring out their natural oils and enhance their nutty flavor. Simply spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 5-7 minutes. Let them cool before chopping and adding them to the dough. Full disclosure: I haven't tried this - the recipe is perfect as written, but I don't think you could go wrong toasting your pecans!
2. Bring the ingredients (butter and egg) to room temperature before you start. This is important for this pecan praline cookie recipe to really be its best!
3. Add a pecan half or a few chopped pecan pieces on top of the cookie before baking. This dresses them up and makes them look a little more like they came from a bakery.
4. If you want to make them even more indulgent, drizzle some melted caramel sauce over the top of the cookies.
5. You can easily double this recipe for a double batch of cookies - it works perfectly!
Serving Pecan Praline Cookies
These cookies are a true crowd-pleaser! After reading the story behind them, I'll probably always think of these old-fashioned pecan cookies as Christmas cookies. But whether you're hosting a party or simply looking for a sweet treat after dinner, this great praline pecan cookies recipe will never fail you.
Here are some ideas on how to serve your pecan praline cookies and make them even more irresistible.
1. Cookie Platter: Arrange your freshly baked pecan praline cookies on a beautiful platter to create a stunning centerpiece for any gathering. Add a variety of your favorite cookies and you can't go wrong. I love to make cookie platters with sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, hot chocolate cookies, classic chocolate chip cookies, and meringue cookies for a good variety.
2. Gift Boxes: Share the joy of these pecan praline cookies with friends and family by packing them into beautiful gift boxes. Whether it's for a birthday, holiday, or just because, the recipient will be thrilled to receive a box filled with these scrumptious treats. I have a tutorial here for tying a pretty bow.
3. Santa: Leave them on a plate for Santa 🙂
4. Dessert: Make them for dessert at home and enjoy them with a tall glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee.
Once you've baked a batch of these irresistible pecan praline cookies, you'll want to make sure they stay fresh and delicious for as long as possible. Here are some storage directions to help you keep your cookies in tip-top shape.
To begin, allow these southern cookies to cool completely before storing them. This will prevent any moisture from building up and causing them to become soggy.
Storage: Once cooled, transfer the cookies to an airtight container, such as a cookie jar or a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Make sure the container is clean and dry to prevent any potential moisture from affecting the cookies' texture. Store at room temperature
Yes, you can! The dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Simply cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let it come to room temperature before shaping and baking.
Absolutely! These cookies freeze well and can be stored in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Just make sure to let them thaw completely before enjoying. You might even warm them in the microwave for around 5 seconds to make them warm and soft again.
To prevent excessive spreading, make sure your butter is softened but not melted. Additionally, if your kitchen is really warm and the dough is overly soft, chilling the dough for 10-15 minutes before baking can help the cookies hold their shape better.
Yes, you can double or even triple the recipe to make a larger batch of cookies. Just make sure you have a big enough mixing bowl and baking sheets to accommodate the increased amount of dough.
If you make Pecan Praline Cookies: The 1986 Winner's Recipe, please leave me a comment and star rating! And while you're here, check out more delicious recipes...