These gluten free pecan sandies came about by accident, but I'm not mad about it. I set out to recreate this buttery shortbread style cookie a friend of mine had made once. I asked her for the recipe, but as I normally do, I didn't bother following it. Ha! Three remakes later, we stumbled upon what reminded me of pecan sandies and they really hit the spot. As much as I love soft chewy cookies, I also love shortbread. I am an equal opportunity cookie eater.
What is a pecan sandie?
A pecan sandie is a buttery shortbread cookie filled with toasted pecans. Some people call them pecan shortbread cookies or sables. Whatever you call them, they are delicious.
How do you make a pecan shortbread cookie?
This cookie is surprisingly very easy to make and requires very few ingredients.
First, you will toast some pecans. Spread some pecan halves on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 7 minutes. Let them cool before chopping and adding to the dough.
Second, you need to cream the butter and sugar together. I tested the recipe with both Miyokos Vegan Butter and Country Crock Plant Butter and both turned out great. For sugar, we are calling for powdered sugar, however I also tested it with white sugar with good results.
Next, we will add the flavor. Personally, I love maple and pecan together, so I added a bit of maple syrup. If you don't want to use syrup, replace with 2 tablespoon of milk. We also need vanilla to round out the flavor of the cookie.
Finally, we will add in the flour, salt and pecans. Stir it all together and then cover it with plastic wrap to chill.
You will need to let this dough chill for about 2 hours before rolling it out. Roll it out on a piece of parchment paper to about ¼" thick. Then cut into circles. Place on your baking sheet and bake. Voila! Cookies!
Bonus, I did one test batch where I added 1 tablespoon of bourbon in place of part of the maple syrup and it was amazing. So don't be afraid to experiment.
Can I make these cookies ahead of time?
I have found that these cookies lose some of their crispiness as the days go by. The flavor is still amazing, but if you want that true shortbread cookie you should serve them within 1-2 days after baking.
If you need more time, you can always freeze the dough at the chilling stage. Make sure it is tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and place in an airtight bag or container. When you're ready to bake, simply thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight and then bake as directed. This is also a great trick to have a few cookies on demand anytime the cravings strike.
Variations on these shortbread cookies
As I mentioned above, I tried these with bourbon and they were yummy! Some other ideas I had would be to drizzle them with chocolate, sprinkle with powdered sugar or even use a different kind of nut. This shortbread cookie recipe is very versatile. A choose your own adventure kind of cookie!
If you love shortbread cookies, check out these other great recipes!
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Gluten Free Pecan Sandies
- ¾ C Vegan Butter room temperature
- ¾ C Powdered Sugar
- 3 tablespoon Maple Syrup
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla
- 2 C Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 C Pecans toasted and roughly chopped
To toast pecans
- Spread pecan halves on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.
- Remove and let cool before chopping.
For the cookies
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar. Beat for 3 minutes on medium high speed until well combined. Scrape the bowl and beat again for another minute.
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla. Beat 60 seconds to combine.
- Turn your mixer to the lowest setting. Add the salt and the flour.
- When about half of the flour has been incorporated, add in the pecans.
- Continue to stir until all of the flour is incorporated.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Scrape down the bowl and use a spatula to combine any remaining flour bits into the dough.
- Turn your dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough and then press it into a disc of even thickness. It should be about an inch thick.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the cold dough from the refrigerator and place onto a sheet of parchment paper. You do NOT need to flour the parchment paper.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out your dough to ¼" thick.
- Using a circle cookie cutter (mine is about 2 ½" in diameter), cut out your dough. You can use any shape cookie cutter you like.
- If the dough sticks to the parchment underneath, simple use an offset spatula to loosen it. Move the cut out shapes to your prepared baking sheet. Leave only an inch between cookies, they will not spread.
- Bake for 12 minutes, remove from oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack.
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.