Tender, nutty pecan sandies are a classic cookie that everyone loves. They’re similar to buttery and perfectly crumbly shortbread cookies, but are loaded with chopped pecans for a special treat that has great texture. Try this dairy-free and totally vegan pecan sandies recipe for your next holiday cookie swap!
Sometimes you feel like a nut, amirite?
I absolutely love the deep, earthy flavor of pecans. They are terrific for using in all sorts of dishes, from classic pecan pie and sweet potato casserole to fun new recipes like shaved brussel sprouts salad and sweet pumpkin pancakes.
Similar to these vegan shortbread cookies with hazelnuts, my recipe for pecan sandies is dairy-free and completely vegan – and makes the most perfectly crumbly and snappy cookies ever! They feature lots of freshly toasted pecans throughout the cookies, and are topped with extra chopped pecans for even more delicious crunch.
Ingredients You Need
This classic 7-ingredient pecan sandies recipe uses mostly basic pantry staples – plus pecans, of course.
Here are the plant-based, vegan-friendly ingredients needed:
- Light brown sugar
- Cane sugar
- Vegan butter (my favorites are Earth Balance and Miyokos)
- Vanilla extract
How to Make Pecan Sandies from Scratch
The best pecan sandies start with freshly-toasted pecans! To do this simply place pecans evenly on a baking sheet, and bake for about 8 minutes in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F.
*Note: You can make the toasted pecans several days in advance of preparing the cookie dough! Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
Otherwise, you also can make the toasted pecans while waiting for the dough to freeze.
Here is how to make the cookie dough in four simple steps:
- Firstly, in a large bowl cream together the vegan butter, sugar, and vanilla using a hand mixer. You want to get the mixture nice and fluffy.
- Whisk together the salt and flour in a separate bowl. Working a bit at a time, gently stir the flour and salt into the butter mixture.
- Next, pulse the toasted pecans in a food processor to make a course flour. Scoop and save some of the crumbled pecans for topping the cookies later.
- Lastly, add the rest of the pecans to the dough. Use your hands to thoroughly fold them in and make a nice, tight dough.
Now the dough needs to be chilled to prevent the vegan butter from “bleeding” and causing the cookies to spread in the oven.
Use your hands to form the pecan sandies cookie dough into a log, and securely wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for one hour, until very firm.
After one hour remove the dough log from the freezer and unwrap. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Next, slice the cookies into twelve even slices, and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just lightly golden in color. You don’t want pecan sandies to get too browned in the oven!
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sea salt and more chopped pecans while still warm. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack, and then cool completely before enjoying.
Serve pecan sandies with a big glass of almond milk, or with a hot mug of tea or coffee for a yummy snack!
How Do I Make Gluten-Free Vegan Pecan Sandies Cookies?
Swap all-purpose flour for your favorite gf-friendly baking mix for easy gluten-free cookies. I suggest using a blend that has almond flour for the most complimentary flavor to the pecans.
How to Store Homemade Pecan Sandies
These vegan cookies will keep well stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. If you are going to stack them I suggest placing a sheet of wax or parchment paper between the layers.
They can also be frozen for up to 2 months. But again, put parchment paper in between layers to keep from sticking together.
If you tried this vegan pecan sandies cookie recipe, let me know in the comments below and share a photo using #mindfulavocado. I’d love to hear from you! Want to see more recipes? Let’s get social! CONNECT WITH ME on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to see what I’m currently cooking up!
Vegan Pecan Sandies
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup pecans plus more for topping optional
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans chopped
- Maldon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place pecans on baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool. Turn down oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, add room temperature butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until butter and sugar are completely "creamed" or well mixed. It should be light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour and salt together. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in small increments, mixing in between.
- Place toasted pecans them in a food processor. Pulse until completely grounded (should resemble coarse flour). Reserve some for topping.
- Add pecan pieces into the dough and fold in pieces using hands.
- Shape cookie dough into a log that is about 9 inches long. Wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for 1 hour.
- Remove the cookie dough from the freezer and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice the cookie dough into 3/4-inch slices. Place cookies on non-stick baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool. Top with chopped pecans and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
- If dough is too dry, meaning it crumbles, try adding 1 teaspoon of water at a time until it forms. Sometimes the butter used does not have enough water content and the dough will be crumbly.
- Using this recipe for a party? I recommend doubling the recipe!
- These vegan cookies will keep well stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. If you are going to stack them I suggest placing a sheet of wax or parchment paper between the layers. They can also be frozen for up to 2 months. But again, put paper in between layers to keep from sticking together.
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