I have a brand new nephew!
Best-laid plans for a scheduled Caesarean section didn’t pan out and sweet little Joshua made an early appearance into the world this weekend for my sister and brother-in-law. This means another little boy for Theo to play with when they get a little bigger…now we just have to wait and see what Chelsea adds to the mix! This surprise appearance meant I got the three older siblings delivered to my house earlier than anticipated, but I was determined these cookies would still be made, and they were having so much fun with my three kids that it worked out just beautifully! Who says I can’t handle 6 kids aged 5 and under?
I did have a couple cute little helpers to start with, but waiting for the dough to chill was too much for their 2-year-old attention spans :)
I am a HUGE fan of both pecan pie and butter tarts, and I meant to combine those two deadly delicious desserts in this poppable cookie form for Christmas platters but it just didn’t happen. Now I’m glad I didn’t because I would have had to share them! These cookies were everything I was hoping they’d be: a shortbread-type cookie studded with small pecan pieces, filled with butter, sugar, and more pecans, all drizzled with a bit of caramel to finish it off!
I had a bit of extra filling and some extra tart shells in the freezer, and let me tell you, THAT was a good use of leftovers. I’ll be making the filling again for sure just to make more tarts. It really doesn’t get much easier than that for a quick dessert option.
These are more work than my typical cookie choice because of the filling step, but they still come together very quickly and are well worth the extra bit of work. I did leave one cookie unfilled and, as I’d suspected, the dough makes fantastic pecan cookies just like that if you want to skip the filling! I could only interest one of the 6 kids milling about in trying one, but I must admit I didn’t try too hard.
Kids: Can I have a cookie?
Me: Well, you CAAAN, but I’m not sure you’ll like them. They have PECANS. That’s a NUT (wrinkled nose, squinched eyes). Do you want one still?
Kids: We don’t like those kind of cookies.
Me: I didn’t think so. How about an apple?
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup corn syrup
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- Caramel topping (I used Hershey's)
- For the cookie dough, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until well blended. Mix in the sugars and vanilla, beating on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- On low speed, mix in the pecans, salt, and flour just until fully incorporated. Cover the bowl and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, make the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, corn syrup, egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. Whisk just until blended. Stir in the pecans.
- Preheat the oven to 350? F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease them. Scooping about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls. Place the dough balls 2" apart on the baking sheet. Use your thumb (or a wine cork) to make a small indentation in the center of each dough ball, about 1 inch in diameter. Fill each indentation with some of the pecan filling mixture.
- Bake the cookies until lightly golden and set, about 16 minutes. Cool briefly on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack set over wax paper or foil to catch caramel drips. Let cool completely before drizzling caramel on top.