These Vegan Pecan Sandies are the perfect buttery, crunchy shortbread cookies, made using just 5 simple ingredients and with a gluten-free option.
Pecan sandies are crunchy shortbread style cookies that get their name from their sandy color and texture, not to mention the fact that they’re packed with pecans. Thanks to all of those pecans, these Vegan Pecan Sandies have a buttery mouthfeel and rich texture that is to die for! The cookie itself is slightly sweet, but not too overpowering, making it the perfect side to a warm cup of coffee or tea 🙂
INGREDIENTS + INSPIRATION
The exact cultural origin of pecan shortbread cookies is unknown, but they have a similar ingredient list to Mexican Wedding Cookies as well as Russian Tea Cakes. Some believe that the original cookie recipe comes from Arab cuisine. The Keebler company also registered the name “Sandies” for their whole line of shortbread style cookies—one of which includes pecans. Either way, they’re a delicious, easy-to-make cookie that’s even easier to veganize!
Plus they’re made with only 5 key ingredients – flour, butter, sugar, pecans and vanilla! I used regular all-purpose flour, but I imagine a gluten-free flour blend would work just as well here too.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN PECAN SANDIES
Most traditional pecan sandy recipes call for cane sugar or powdered sugar, but I like to use brown sugar to add a deep caramel flavor and give the dough some extra moisture. 🙂 You can also opt to make these gluten-free pecan sandies, just check out my recipe notes below!
- Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.
- Add the flour, chopped pecans, and cinnamon to the bowl and mix using a spatula, then your hands to work the dough together.
- Cover and chill for at least 30 mins. Line your baking sheets and preheat the oven.
- Bake until the bottom edges of the cookie are golden, then let cool, and enjoy!
The finished cookies will slightly spread and rise, but will retain their shape for the most part. Only the bottom edges of the cookie should get golden brown – the tops will remain relatively pale! I recommend cooking the cookies for only 12 minutes if you want crispy edges and a chewier center, or the full 14 minutes for totally crispy cookies.
Store any leftover cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the cookies (or cookie dough) for up to 2 months for your future cravings!
COOKING TIPS + FAQ:
Nothing beats the simple, buttery goodness of a crunchy shortbread cookie! Here are a few of my tips and tricks to guarantee a delicious result:
- Make-ahead: The dough should rest for at least 30 mins before baking, but can also refrigerate for up to 24 hours prior.
- Can I shape the dough in logs instead? Yes, you can also pre-shape the dough into logs and cut ½” circles to form your cookies. I personally find the pressing with glass method even easier!
- Flavor add-ins: add up to 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips for a fun twist, or dunk them in melted chocolate! You can also double the cinnamon in the recipe for a more pronounced flavor.
If you’re looking for more fresh takes on classic cookie recipes, you’ll also love these Almond Flour Thumbprint Cookies, these Flourless Tahini Sugar Cookies, and these Chocolate Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies!Print
These Vegan Pecan Sandies are the perfect buttery, crunchy shortbread cookies, made using just 5 simple ingredients! Perfect alongside a hot cup of tea or coffee.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted vegan butter, softened
- 1/2 cup (172 g) packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups (290 g) all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1 cup (115 g) pecans, finely chopped
- Cooking oil, for greasing
- The Good Stuff: Add the butter, sugar, and vanilla to a large bowl. Use a stand or handheld electric mixer and beat over medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed with a spatula.
- Mix: Add the flour, pecans, and cinnamon to the bowl and mix with a spatula to combine, switching from a spoon to your hands to really work the dough together if necessary.
- Chill: Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 325F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. If it’s a ceramic or stoneware sheet, you don’t need to line it.
- Scoop: Use a cookie scoop or your hands to divide the dough into 1 tablespoon sized balls. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Lightly grease the bottom of a flat-bottom glass, then press down on each cookie to flatten it to about ½” thick. Add more oil to the glass when the cookie dough starts to stick.
- Bake: Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 12 to 14 minutes, until the bottom edges of the cookies are golden. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- Vegan Butter: you could also use softened coconut oil for these cookies! I recommend using refined coconut oil as it has no flavor.
- Gluten-Free: I have not tested these cookies with a gf flour, but imagine it would work well with an all-purpose blend