You Need This Quick and Easy Cookie Recipe for Your Last Minute Holiday Baking

Hey Durham and Beyond! I'm Erin Harker the Kitchen Witch behind Makin' Whoopie Kitchen - a former Durham bakery business turned food and magick blog. I'm popping onto The Durham Talks blog to share one of my favorite family Christmas cookie recipes. These Pecan Balls always make an appearance at our holiday open houses and on our cookie trays.

The best part about these cookies is that they only have 6 ingredients, and you probably have most, if not all, of them in your kitchen at this very moment. These come out sort of similar in taste and texture to a shortbread cookie. They're not super sweet, and they go perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea.

I usually like to use organic sugar in my baking, but you'll definitely want to go with the white, granulated sugar for these cookies. It's a lot easier to get the sugar mixed in with the other ingredients without overmixing which is a big no-no for these delicate babes. If you over mix the dough on these, they can come out a little too crumbly and do not hold their shape.

Can't find pecan meal? Me neither and no problem! I buy pecan pieces or whole pecans and throw them in the food processor. You want the consistency to be somewhere in between sand and gravel just be careful not to make pecan butter.

The oven temperature on these is a little lower than what you see in most cookie recipes. We're baking them in what's called a "slow oven." By taking the temperature down a notch, the balls will keep their shape instead of flattening out like what we think of as a traditional cookie.

My other favorite part of this recipe is that they truly come out the best when you use your hands. That's right. No need for a stand or handheld mixer. Your hands are the only tool you need these.


Yields 4 1/2 Dozen

Hands-on Time 30 minutes

Total Time 90 minutes


2 C flour

1 C unsalted butter, room temp*

1/2 C granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

2 C finely chopped pecans or pecan meal


1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

2. Sift together flour, sugar, and salt.

3. Cut your softened butter into pieces 1-inch pieces and add to the flour along with the vanilla.

4. Mix with your hands until everything is well combined, and then add in the pecan meal. Mixing with your hands again until everything is combined.

5. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. I use a small (2 tsp) cookie scoop to keep them uniform.

6. Place the balls onto a cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. I can usually fit 2 dozen on a sheet.

7. Cook for 30 minutes or until a light brown. The bottoms should be a little more golden brown, and you can see it on the bottom edges.

8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack.

9. Once cool, roll in granulated sugar. Enjoy!


*You want your butter to be soft enough that you can mix it into the dry ingredients, but it should still be firm. If it's too soft or runny, it'll make the cookie dough difficult to work with.

If you like this recipe and are ready for more, hop on over to my blog at for more delicious recipes including one for rose ginger scones that are perfect for Christmas morning.

You can also keep up with what I have cooking by following me on over on the gram. Hope to see you around the kitchen! If you try this recipe out be sure to take a pic and tag it #foodismagick, so I can share your magickal creations!

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