These Maple Pecan Cookies Are Fall Baking at Its Very Best

And they're easy, to boot.

November 21, 2018

We've partnered with Braun Household to highlight creative ways to boost the flavors of your favorite seasonal dishes, like these perfect-for-fall maple cookies.

Fall is my favorite season to have the windows open. During the day, the crisp air sneaks in while I bake, and that seemingly ever-present autumn breeze makes all those lovely cinnamon-y smells waft around the house even better. On chilly mornings, they’re still nudged open just a crack, and the heat of my oven and a furry white foot warmer (ok, dog) named Brimley keep me warm. Some of my usual daily routines in the kitchen seem immediately cozier, so I don’t even mind the shorter days. There’s something sort of nice about having the oven whirring away before it’s even light outside.

Recently, I've found myself baking more simply—a few weeks ago, it was batch after batch of no-knead bread dough. Then I seemed to be making lots of stovetop custards. Now, I can’t stop baking cookies. And now that it’s cooler, and sweaters are looser, and baking is generally feeling pretty perfect anytime I decide to do it, making a batch of some seriously fall cookies was definitely in order. I wanted something simple, but still special, which is how these maple pecan sugar cookies were born.

Nothing says fall like the smell of cinnamon and maple wafting from the oven. Photo by Mark Weinberg

These cakey cookies are sweetened with both maple syrup and brown sugar, and are flecked with chopped toasted pecans. They come together really quickly, and I particularly like to use my hand mixer; it adds to that easy, homemade feeling I used to get making cookies when I was little, plus I get to lick the beaters after.

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Top Comment:
“I have recently learned the wonderful world of combining pure maple syrup with fresh pecans. No other maple syrup will do, it must be pure maple syrup from the Northeast or Canada. Also I like to use Himalayan salt and substitute a little of the all-purpose flour with some pecan meal for more flavor (available at And I like to use farm fresh eggs (from my sister-in-law's chickens). Thank you for the recipe... this is a winner! ”
— Robert

For the special factor, I blitzed more pecans and some maple sugar (don’t worry if you can’t find it, you can sub in regular granulated here) into a fine powder and rolled the cookie dough in it. The chopping attachment that came with my hand mixer makes quick and easy work of this, especially since it’s a pretty small amount. This sugary coating boasts the toasty flavor of pecans and adds another burst of intensely maple flavor for an insanely dreamy result.

Aside from this fun coating, the cookies are ridiculously easy to make, but here are a few keys for success:

Use real maple syrup

Also, if you can find it, use real maple sugar. While six-year-old me may have different opinions on the subject, real maple is always the way to go—this cookie is no exception. And while the maple sugar in the coating can easily be subbed with regular granulated sugar, trust me when I say you won’t regret hunting it down.

Start with room temperature ingredients

While you can normally get by with some eggs from the fridge in a cookie recipe, this recipe really does work best when all ingredients are room temperature. It contains a higher quantity of liquid than many cookie recipes (due to the addition of maple syrup), which means the batter is more prone to breaking or separating. Having room temperature ingredients helps you make the best emulsion of ingredients for the smoothest cookie dough; this is also why some of the flour is added earlier in the recipe, to help give the batter structure.

Braun's MultiMix 5 Hand Mixer does double duty: It helps you beat the batter and chop nuts for the topping, plus it's easy, lightweight, and portable. Photo by Mark Weinberg

Handling the dough

I scoop the dough, then roll it into a ball with my hands, toss it in the sugar-pecan mixture to coat, and place it on a baking sheet. If you find the dough is too sticky to handle, refrigerate it for 30 minutes before beginning to scoop and roll. But then leave it at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking, as the dough bakes up the cakiest when it’s room temperature when it hits the oven.

This dough’s a workhorse

After you’ve enjoyed my favorite version (the soft and cakey kind), you can try pressing the dough flat with your fingers before baking for a thinner, chewier cookie. For this version, add about two minutes to the bake time). You can also press it into an even layer inside a greased 9 x 9-inch baking pan to make a really yummy cookie bar/blondie sort of situation. For this version, bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.

Eating the cookies

Because I am a true baking professional, I also have to provide recommendations for eating these delicious cookies. While they’re good all on their own, these cookies love a good beverage pairing. Freshly baked, they are amazing dunked into milk or a piping hot cup of milky tea. Once they’re a day or two old, they become the perfect biscuit alongside a cup of coffee or tea, dunked or nibbled in between sips. An open window and crisp fall breeze are not required, but I promise they make them taste even better.

What are you baking this fall? Tell us in the comments below!

Turn on your oven, fall baking is in full swing! In partnership with Braun Household, we're excited to share more innovative ways to incorporate seasonal ingredients into your fall and winter recipes. Whether you're making a batch of DIY canned pumpkin or maple pecan cookies, Braun's lineup of products makes the prep work a breeze. Here, we used their lightweight, portable MultiMix 5 Hand Mixer to not only whip up the batter with ease, but also blitz the maple-pecan dust without making a mess using its handy chopper attachment.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Robert
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • Ellen Kelly
    Ellen Kelly
  • ustabahippie
  • Suzqz
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, The Book on Pie, is out on November 10th, 2020.


Robert June 11, 2019
I have recently learned the wonderful world of combining pure maple syrup with fresh pecans. No other maple syrup will do, it must be pure maple syrup from the Northeast or Canada. Also I like to use Himalayan salt and substitute a little of the all-purpose flour with some pecan meal for more flavor (available at And I like to use farm fresh eggs (from my sister-in-law's chickens). Thank you for the recipe... this is a winner!
LeBec F. December 24, 2018
I am interested to see what you think of these Maple Walnut Polvorones, which i created a few years ago,
The Maple Extract does a perfect job for the robust maple flavor i like.

February 19, 2013

Author Notes: Back in November, I found a recipe for Hazelnut Polvorones- which are similar to Mexican Wedding Cookies-but this recipe contained no flour. Instead, it called for all cornstarch -which produced this amazing melt-in-your-mouth quality. But I wanted to work with other nuts and flavorings, so I started making variants. After consistent trial and error, I came up with a successful recipe for Maple Pecan and Lemon Pecan Polvorones, and finally, for Pistachio Green Tea Polvorones. Because the experiments sometimes came out too crumbly, I substituted a little flour for cornstarch, to give a little more structure to the dough. (for GF, just use all cornstarch and keep in mind that they might be a little crumbly.) I really liked the 'melt in your mouth' texture of them and for me, maple extract is wonderful. Like the mint extracts, it has an authentic flavor (not a fake flavor like so many other extracts.) These are sandy, melty, delicate, and not too sweet,with a robust nuttiness and maple flavor. ( They can also be 'dressed up' by sandwiching them with the Maple Ganache in the addendum. ) —LE BEC FIN

Makes: 48


2 cups shelled raw pecans
1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup maple sugar*, ground to powder
1 7/8 cup cornstarch (remove 1/8 cup from a leveled 2 cups cornstarch)
2 Tablespoons 'white whole wheat' or spelt flour(for GF, use all cornstarch)
2 pinches kosher salt
8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut up into 8 chunks
2 Tablespoons brandy
1/2 tablespoon maple extract
confectioners sugar for dusting
Optional Dress-Up: Maple White Chocolate Ganache
3 ounces quality white chocolate bits (whole foods, caillebaut, trader joe's, valrhona)
3/4 tablespoon maple extract
1/8 cup heavy cream, heated over stove or in microwave til VERY hot
2 pinches kosher salt

In This Recipe


In food processor, pulse and grind pecans with sugar til fine. Add cornstarch, flour and Salt and pulse to combine thoroughly, using a knife to free up the bottom corner of the mixture. Add butter and pulse to combine. Combine maple extract and brandy and add while pulsing . When dough is just starting to come together, but before mixture gets creamy and clumps together, pour out into a 9" square pan (or 8 or 10" square pan; it doesn't need to be buttered) , spread to even thickness and smooth the top with a metal spatula. Cover and refrigerate .Allow an hour to thoroughly chill and firm up. Score and cut into a grid that is 8 by 6 squares .
Run a metal spatula under the cubes; lift sections of them and roll each into a ball, adding to or removing from them to get them all about the same size. Return to square pan and chill 1/2 hr in refrig . Place 2" apart on parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 20- 24* minutes til lightly browned and sweet nutty smell is indicating their doneness. Remove pan to rack. Cool. Transfer to another sheet pan or container, placing shoulder to shoulder. Sift heavy layer of confectioners sugar over them. Cool and store in airtight container.
* When I first started baking these, I baked them too little; they are much better when they are caramel colored- the nuttiness of the pecans really stands out.
Note: In the freezer I store scored saran wrapped dough pieces(takes up the least space this way) or rolled balls, and bake as needed.
Optional Dress-Up: Maple White Chocolate Ganache: After utterly failing with an attempted ganache of butter, white chocolate, and maple, I was yet again rescued by Alice Medrich.** This technique is hers; my contribution is the Maple. To make the ganache-sandwiched cookies more manageable, I cut in half the normal- size cookie balls (0.6 ounce cut in half to 0.3 ounce and bake them cut side-down.):
Grind white chocolate in mini food processor. Add maple extract. While running, pour very hot heavy cream through feed tube until chocolate mix is smooth and creamy (not grainy). Spatula mix onto piece of plastic wrap. Let come to room temp without stirring. Fold saran over and allow a few hours or more to firm up. (Mine didn't need this step.) Pipe or spread a dab of ganache on the bottom of half the polvorones, spreading an even layer to the edge, and sandwiching together the flat sides of 2 cookies. Store in tightly sealed container at room temperature for a few days or refrigerated for longer periods.
See below for a great tip for easy no-muss piping. And if the ganache gets too firm to pipe, massage the saran 'sausage' between your hands til it warms up enough to pipe. (When the kitchen is cold in winter, I have to do that with my fav cookie dough; it would likely look pretty kinky to an innocent bystander!!):
** Bittersweet , pg.159

Ellen K. December 16, 2018
This time of year especially it would be nice to have an idea of how many cookies the recipe makes. I could have missed it in the overly lengthy preamble, but I read it twice. I know it depends on the size, but an approximate yield would be helpful.
Author Comment
Erin J. December 17, 2018
When you click through to the recipe it shows the yield - it makes 2 dozen! Happy holiday baking to you!
ustabahippie December 15, 2018
These sound good but maple syrup is gold and I won't use 1/2 cup for cookies!!
Author Comment
Erin J. December 16, 2018
I usually use a lower grade maple syrup (which is cheaper) for baking - but the flavor of these little guys pays off big time!
Suzqz December 15, 2018
These look delicious. Could I use margarine or oil to eliminate the dairy?
Author Comment
Erin J. December 16, 2018
I haven’t tried, but I imagine you could sub in margarine - happy baking!
Rprp December 15, 2018
I get that a hand mixer works for this recipe. But the emphasis on "hand mixer" in the directions implies that it is a necessity. Stupid-sounding question but wouldn't any mixer work? Why the emphasis?

KLarsen December 15, 2018
I think the hand mixer rec could be because this is in partnership with Braun.
Author Comment
Erin J. December 16, 2018
You could use any mixer, or even make these by hand - but there’s also something for me about making cookies with a hand mixer - it reminds me of baking at my grandma’s, where I always got to lick the beaters :)
Mel November 21, 2018
Do you think I can use gluten-free flour and get a good cookie with this recipe?
Ron G. November 21, 2018
Gluten free flower is always tricky. I'm not gluten intolerant so don't know how they would turn out but a friend of mine that can't do gluten said it's never the same.
Doris November 22, 2018
Use a scale, and a measure for measure blend gf flour . If the dough is really wet , let the dough rest 24 hours in the refrigerator before forming the cookie balls . Happy Baking