This may be the best recipe for pecan cookies, ever. Pecan Drop Cookies are always a HUGE hit – they taste just like pecan pie filling! And since the pecan cookies are naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, almost everyone can enjoy them.
California: origin of this recipe for pecan cookies
Harris Ranch is a steakhouse and hotel that appears like a mirage in the middle of a bunch of agriculture land on the West Coast’s Highway 5. Those in the know settle in for a steak and then make a beeline to the bakery for Pecan Drop Cookies.
Our version of their famous recipe is a hybrid of pecan pie filling and cookie. Be sure not to skip the cooling step – it’s hard to wait, but the cookies will crumble without it.
What you need for this recipe for pecan cookies:
- shelled pecans
- brown sugar
- vanilla bean paste or extract
- egg whites
That's it! Just four ingredients and a pinch of salt. Plus a stand mixer or hand mixer.
About this pecan cookie recipe:
These pecan drop cookies are gluten-free (obviously) and naturally dairy-free too, so this is a great option if you’re dealing with some GFDF folks. But really, this is one of those recipes where the missing allergens don’t matter – everyone asks for them because the are crunchy, chewy, sweet and addictive.
I love the added flavor + fragrance that vanilla bean paste provides, but you could sub in vanilla extract if you prefer (or that’s what you have!) If you like these cookies, you’ll love my 3-Ingredient Macadamia Cookies too.
The warm cookies can be sticky, so you may need to wipe your spatula as you’re moving them to cool.
Pecan Drop Cookies Recipe
- 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 12 ounces pecans, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup egg whites (about 2 egg whites)
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the brown sugar, salt, vanilla and pecan pieces. Beat on low speed to incorporate the ingredients, then drizzle in the egg whites. Increase the speed to medium-low and beat for 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Drop the dough in rounded tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet. Press each ball of dough with the back of a spoon to form a cookie 3 ½ inches in diameter and about ¼ inch thick.
- Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool for 3-5 minutes on the baking sheet, then use a thin spatula coated with pan spray to remove the cookies to a cooling rack. The cookies will be soft but will firm up as they cool.
photos by Katie Roletto and CA GROWN
More pecan cookie recipes:
Cornflake Cookies: the new Breakfast of Champions.
These chewy Cornflake Cookies are loaded with coconut, pecans and gluten-free cornflakes. Dare you to eat just one.
Gluten-Free Butter Pecan Cookies
King Arthur's rich caramel-flavored gluten-free cookies are studded with pecans for a touch of nuttiness; the sugar-salt coating on top adds a perfectly complementary touch.
Gluten-Free Mexican Wedding Cookies (Snowballs)
Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs, or some other names we aren't aware of...whatever you call these crunchy bites, they are the BEST! They could also be called pecan cookies, because they are loaded with nuts.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The Harris Ranch Bakery does not use any gluten-containing ingredients in their Pecan Drop Cookies, but they make them in the same space and with the same equipment as the rest of the bakery items. There is a high likelihood of cross-contamination off all of their bakery products.
Yes, Harris Ranch offers gluten-free options in the restaurant and steakhouse. In addition to steaks and sides, the restaurant offers a few gluten-free breakfast dishes, soups, salad and entrees.
The kitchen at Harris Ranch does not have a designated gluten-free prep area. Their normal kitchen operations involve shared cooking and preparation areas, but the staff makes every effort to ensure you can dine safely. Alert both the host and server of any allergies or dietary needs.
The combination of brown sugar and egg whites in these pecan cookies make for a chewy, caramel-toffee-like texture.
Wonder if you could make them sf by using brown sugar replacement?