These classic and delicious Double Pecan Thumbprint buttery shortbread cookies are made with a simple sugar cookie dough studded with chopped pecans and topped with homemade caramel icing and a toasted pecan.
As an added bonus, you can fill these cookies with your choice of caramel, melted chocolate, or jam! I’ve also lightened up this recipe (to save room for other holiday sweets!) with the help of Truvia®’s new Sweet Complete™ and Confectioners Sweeteners. This simple thumbprint cookie recipe has endless filling options and is perfect for the holidays or any occasion!
These buttery and pecan-studded cookies are decadent without being fragile and make a great dessert to place on your home altar for Dia de los Muertos as offerings for your dearly departed or for boxing up and giving as sweet treats for the upcoming holidays.
These cookies are inspired by my grandma and jamoncillo de leche, a popular Mexican candy and the country’s own version of milk fudge. (If you have ever been to Mexico, Texas, or any southwest border city you might know the Mexican candy I’m referring to!)
My grandma introduced me to jamoncillo and now every time I see it, it reminds me of her buying this candy from street vendors in Juarez, Mexico and enjoying it while we were in the car crossing back over to El Paso.
These cookies have a similarly soft texture to jamoncillo and also remind me of butter pecan cookies, which my grandma also loved. The butter pecan notes get a little extra sweetness from Truvia® Sweet Complete™ All-Purpose Sweetener and Truvia® Confectioners Sweetener in the homemade cookie dough and caramel icing.
Amazing taste aside, these cookies are incredibly easy to make! The dough for this recipe is made with just eight ingredients (most are pantry staples) and comes together in just a few minutes. There’s also no dough chilling required so you can just prep the cookies and pop them into the oven. They’re also a great make-ahead option since you can also refrigerate the dough before or after forming the thumbprint cookies. Check out a few more tips on how to make these below!
Tips for perfect thumbprint cookies
Truvia® Sweet Complete™ All-Purpose Sweetener & Confectioners Sweetener are two new products from Truvia®. Both are calorie-free, made with the goodness of the stevia leaf and measure cup-for-cup like their traditional sugar counterparts – making this duo perfect for everything from your favorite holiday cookie recipes to your morning coffee. Their taste and consistency also help you reduce how much sugar you’re adding to your favorite recipes without compromising on flavor or sweetness.
Perfectly sized cookies: No need for a fancy weight scale!
I recommend using a simple tablespoon to measure out dough.
Thumbprint cookies that don’t crack
This pecan shortbread dough is firm enough that you should be able to roll it into balls right after mixing it together (no chilling). Roll the balls between your hands until they are really smooth without any lines or cracks in the pecan shortbread dough. Gently use your thumb to press an indent into the cookie. And if they crack, no biggie — they still taste spectacular.
A good rule of thumb for any cookie recipe is to never place your cookie dough on a hot cookie sheet. Make sure your baking sheet has cooled completely before placing your next batch of cookies; otherwise they’ll start melting and spreading before they can start baking.
This filling combines Truvia® Confectioners Sweetener, warm butter, milk, cinnamon and vanilla for an easy homemade caramel icing that’s the perfect “glue” for the toasted pecan. If you prefer, feel free to use store bought caramel, dulce de leche, or melted chocolate. Or another idea is to simply fill cookies with jam or preserves before they go into the oven.
Perfectly toasted pecans
To enhance the flavor of pecans, I recommend toasting them beforehand. Just add pecans to a skillet and toast over medium-heat until browned (one shade darker than they originally were) and fragrant, which will be about 2 minutes. Or to make things even easier – simply purchase toasted pecans!
More dishes to celebrate Dia de los Muertos
- Polvorones (Tri-Color Mexican Cookies)
- Pumpkin Spice Tamales
- Pan de Muerto
- Calabaza en Tacha (Candied Pumpkin)
- Conchas (Mexican Sweet Bread)
Double Pecan Thumbprint Cookies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cream butter and Truvia® Sweet Complete™ All-Purpose Sweetener in mixer.
- Mix in flour, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and egg.
- Stir in nuts.
- Working in batches, scoop out tablespoon-sized amounts of dough and roll into balls between your hands.
- Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing 2-inches apart.
- Make indentation in each cookie with thumb.
- Bake for 6 minutes. Re-indent cookies if needed with a wooden spoon and continue to bake for an additional 12 to 16 minutes until bottoms are golden brown.
- Cool for 2 minutes and then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
- When cookies have cooled enough to be easily handled, carefully spoon caramel icing into the center of each, and place a single pecan in the center of each.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm milk and melt butter.
- Remove from the heat and stir in Truvia® Confectioners Sweetener, ground cinnamon, and vanilla.
- When measuring the flour for these cookies, make sure to spoon it into the measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife.
- After you add the flour the cookie dough will be a little crumbly at first, this is normal! As you continue mixing, the dough will come together.
- Make sure not to over bake the cookies.
- Feel free to use your favorite caramel or icing in these cookies. I think they would be delicious filled with jam or dulce de leche too!
- Allow filling to set for 10 to 15 minutes, and then serve or store in an airtight container for as long as a week.
Photography by Jenna Sparks
This post is in partnership with Truvia® sweetener. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.