Pecan Tassies

Pecan tassies are one of those quintissential Christmas cookies that remind me of being a kid. I can remember sitting at the dining room table at my great aunt’s house, usually on my mom’s lap, and hand-picking treats off of the multiple cookie trays that were laid out. I always had my favorites, the ones I could pop in my mouth like candy, and these pecan tassies were at the top of the list. Even as a kid, I had love affair with pecan pie and so these cookies, which are bite-size renditions of the Thanksgiving classic, were always a must-have Christmas tradition for me.

I haven’t made these in quite a few years and for some reason I couldn’t find my copy of our family recipe. My mom hunted through all of her index cards, calls were made to my grandma and my great aunt, and this quickly became the phantom recipe. The most beloved recipe and suddenly no one could find their copy of the recipe! Conspiracy! My mom did another search of her books and finally found the original source – a ladies auxiliary cookbook for a local fire hall dating back to 1975. I love those yellowed pages – tried and true, battle-tested recipes passed on from generation to generation. I have had more than a few people tell me that these are the best pecan tassies they have ever had.

I did the first batch of these by just rolling the dough into balls and pressing into the mini muffin cups, which is what the original recipe says to do. I had some trouble getting the dough a decent way up the sides of the cups without making it too thin and too thick in places. So for my second batch, I tried rolling out each little ball into a circle and then popping them into the muffin cups (seen above). That worked out much, much better and made for a more even (and deeper) crust. It’s slightly more time consuming, but I thought it yielded much better results.

I hope you love these cookies as much as our family does!

Is there a certain cookie or treat that reminds you of the holidays as a child?

One year ago: Peppermint Bark

Pecan Tassies

Yield: 48 cookies

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Dough:
1 cup unsalted butter
6 ounces cream cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling:
1½ cups light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans, plus more for sprinkling on top
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare mini muffin pans by greasing cups if it is not a nonstick pan; set aside.

2. To make the dough, beat together the butter, cream cheese and flour on low speed of a stand or hand mixer until all of the flour is incorporated. Divide the dough into 48 pieces and roll into balls. Place on a plate or in a zip-top bag and refrigerate for about an hour.

3. Either press the dough balls into the muffin cups and up the sides, or flatten the balls slightly with your palm and use a rolling pin to roll into a disk about 2-3 inches in diameter (a little larger than the size of the muffin cup opening) and place into the muffin cups.

4. To make the filling, mix together the brown sugar, chopped pecans, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extra with a spoon and then evenly divide it between the dough-lined mini muffin cups. Top each with some additional chopped pecans.

5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops are set. Cool for a few minutes in the muffin cups and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. The tassies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

(Recipe adapted from old firehall ladies auxiliary cookbook)

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92 Responses to “Pecan Tassies”

  1. Amy @ Serve At Once on December 17, 2010 at 12:24 am

    I LOVE old cookbooks. I just found the New York Times Cookbook of 1961 at a used bookstore for $1.50, and it’s amazing to see how food trends and knowledge have changed–i. e. not EVERY dessert is made with gelatin. ;)

    These look delicious. I love how they’re made in muffin cups–it definitely increases their pick-up-ability. What a great, sweet morsel!

    Reply

  2. Michelle on December 17, 2010 at 1:19 am

    These are a staple at every family holiday (we call them nut cups). Pampered Chef sells a wooden tool that you can use to push the dough balls into the muffin tins so they are perfect cups.

    Reply

    • Sandra on December 18th, 2010 at 11:09 pm

      Great tip about the tool from Pampered Chef. Getting the dough evenly into the muffin cups is kind of challenging. Thanks

      Reply

      • Liz on December 23rd, 2012 at 12:04 pm

        You can be cheap and turn over a wide handled kitchen tool and use that. That’s what I have done for 25 yrs!!

        Reply

  3. Felice on December 17, 2010 at 1:44 am

    I have never tried making tassies before but I am certainly tempted now.

    Reply

  4. Jennie @ Oh, Sweet Day! on December 17, 2010 at 4:56 am

    This is always around at Christmas during family get togethers. So good! Yours look perfect!

    Reply

  5. Victoria (District Chocoholic) on December 17, 2010 at 5:22 am

    These are a holiday favorite in my family, too – my dad eats them faster than my mom can make them. They are super-delicious, but not quick to make!

    Reply

  6. Estela @ Weekly Bite on December 17, 2010 at 6:29 am

    These look like heaven to me! They remind me of those little pecan pies I use to get the from vending machine when I was in junior high school. But yours looks a gazillion times better :)

    Reply

  7. Lauren at KeepItSweet on December 17, 2010 at 7:00 am

    i love cream cheese based dough… i don’t think i have ever had a pecan tassie but they are very cute!

    Reply

  8. linda on December 17, 2010 at 7:12 am

    omg: i prepped dough for rugelach & i am switching gear!
    this looks lovely…
    so… this w/e i am having a BEB baking one!!
    tomorrow i am re-creating your coffee- espresso cheesecake…
    thanks for these wonderful recipes…can’t wait for next week!

    Reply

  9. Lynn Brown on December 17, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Oh, my can you really quit with the new treats, now I really want to make these! and gotta love those old cookbooks one of my favs is my family’s 1943 edition of The Joy of Cooking that has now become mine! Yeah!

    Reply

  10. Blog is the New Black on December 17, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I love that they are called “tassies!”

    Reply

  11. Tiffany @ Conor & Bella on December 17, 2010 at 8:04 am

    I have been craving pecan pie but this looks much easier! :) Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  12. Caroline on December 17, 2010 at 8:37 am

    For a wedding present, my mom got me the Southern Living cookbook from the year I was born. I love seeing some of my favorite childhood recipe memories as I flip through the pages, but I also gasped at just how many recipes used shortening! These tassies look so adorable – and because they’re bite sized, I would probably eat about a dozen of them myself!

    Reply

  13. Maria on December 17, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I have never made these! I need to change that and soon!

    Reply

  14. Katrina on December 17, 2010 at 9:20 am

    These look fantastic! Great recipe!

    Reply

  15. Jessica on December 17, 2010 at 9:28 am

    My DBF’s aunt makes these every year as part of her christmas cookies. They are always the first to go. I never thought they were this easy..i think I will give them a try, but who knows if they will be as good as hers!

    Reply

  16. Jenny Flake on December 17, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Mmmm, these are so cute and look delish!

    Reply

  17. Arlene on December 17, 2010 at 9:45 am

    My mom loved these tassies, too. I realized I have that Pampered Chef tool and should really make a batch. I believe the recipe we used has chocolate in it. Yours look perfect!

    Reply

  18. briarrose on December 17, 2010 at 9:56 am

    So cute!

    Reply

  19. Irina@PastryPal on December 17, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Ooooh, like mini pecan pies. And I go bananas for cream cheese dough. These look utterly craveable. My mother also has a recipe that I just remembered after 15 years, out of the blue. I hounded her until she finally found it. Ah, nostalgia…

    Reply

  20. Tina from PA on December 17, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Love some Pecan Tassies ! I use a shot glass with a slightly rounded bottom to even out dough. Works great for me and not another tool laying in the drawer.

    Reply

  21. Susan on December 17, 2010 at 11:00 am

    These look great – I’ve never made them…maybe I will now!

    Reply

  22. Tracy on December 17, 2010 at 11:09 am

    These look lovely!!

    Reply

  23. Sandy on December 17, 2010 at 11:27 am

    These are sooo good! I make goodie bags for co-workers every year for Christmas and these are the #1 requested treat. People start asking for them in February.

    Reply

  24. Toby on December 17, 2010 at 11:41 am

    ahh Tassies! these were always the one holiday treat I could never get enough of. Mom would always make an extra 2 dozen just for me – it was either that… or have to make up another batch the night before the office Christmas party :)

    Thanks for bringing back the memory! Yours look just as good :)
    (um, got an extra dozen or so?)

    Reply

  25. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking on December 17, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Oh, these look wonderful! My pecan-pie-loving father in law would go nuts for these (oops, no pun intended!). Thanks for sharing, Michelle.

    Reply

  26. Evan Thomas on December 17, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    These look like a gem. Old cookbooks are the best! I love how they use real ingredients–No Sandra Lee.

    Reply

  27. Sarah Laurie on December 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    ooohhh i love pecan pie – my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

    but my brother is allergic to nuts so i can’t make them? do you think theres anyway i could substitute the pecan pie filling with treacle tart filling? they look so scrummy!

    Reply

    • Penny Wolf on December 17th, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      I am going to try this recipe for my Mother in law who cannot eat nuts. I have eaten this recipe (my Mom made it) but I have never made it before. How well will this filling match up to the shells is a guess but worth a try. Here goes:
      Poor Man’s Pecan Pie
      1 cup dark corn syrup
      1 cup sugar
      1/2 cup melted butter
      1 cup quick cooking oats
      2eggs beaten
      Mix altogether, pour into shells and continue on with instructions from the Tassie recipe. Or bake in an unbaked pie shell @ 350 for 50 minutes. Cool, cut.

      Reply

    • Michelle on February 16th, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Hi Sarah, I don’t see why not!

      Reply

    • Yene K on December 20th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

      Here’s a cool looking recipe for Faux Pecan Pie (no nuts) from Christy Jordan’s blog Southern Plate. It uses pretzels which sounds different, but apparently no one could tell the difference!

      Reply

  28. Jeff on December 17, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I just made these for my wife’s birthday this weekend. I halved the recipe and it worked great, there was just enough filling.

    The filling was a little too sweet for me so I added some ground cinnamon, that seemed to tone down the sugary sweet and round out the overall flavor (for me anyway) I took photos too.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply

  29. Barbara on December 17, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    http://www.pamperedchef.com/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=184&catId=122&parentCatId=122&outletSubCat=&viewAllOutlet=

    Here is a link for a mini tart press that works with the mini muffin pans. You just put your dough in the pan and press it with this tool and you don’t have to roll it out.

    Reply

  30. the blissful baker on December 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    these look spectacular! who wouldn’t love the flavors of pecan pie in a cute little tart form?

    Reply

  31. Heather on December 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I love pecan tassies. These are so pretty!

    Reply

  32. Lila Ferraro on December 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    These are the perfect bite! I love pecan pie and this just reminds me of it perfectly!
    xoxo
    Lila Ferraro

    Reply

  33. Amy on December 17, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    I’ve been dying to make these since I saw them in an issue of Everyday Food magazine!

    Reply

  34. Mateja on December 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    They look so sinfully delicious! Thank you for sahring ^_^

    Reply

  35. Patty on December 17, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    These are so cute! I love classic festive cookie recipes – thanks for sharing this wonderful treat!

    Reply

  36. Ali Cakes Cupcakery on December 17, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    You talked about these the other day and I just had to make them. I used the Joy of Baking recipe and it is very close to yours. I added toffee pieces (1 cup) too. These are delicious. Now I will try your recipe next time around.

    Reply

  37. Kate @ Diethood.com on December 17, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I love recipes from old cookbooks! I am copying this recipe asap. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

  38. Jen @ How To: Simplify on December 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I’ve never heard of a Tassie but I like what I see! These look delicious!

    Reply

  39. Courtney on December 17, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Amazing pictures!! These look so good, only if I could eat nuts! CRAP man! ha :)

    Reply

  40. Anne on December 18, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    They look delicious! I will have to try them.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Anne.

    Reply

  41. Sandra on December 18, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Cutie Patooties!

    Reply

  42. Paula on December 18, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Oh my, these look sooo good. I’m seriously going to have to try and make a batch. Could be a new Christmas baking tradition around here.

    Reply

  43. Delishhh on December 19, 2010 at 12:23 am

    This is the new camera isn’t it? Soo nice!!! I knew you would be a pro from the start!

    Reply

  44. shannon on December 19, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Wow, I love vintage recipes such as these….looks great.

    Reply

  45. Peggy on December 19, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I love getting vintage cookbooks or those quirky little cookbooks nobody ever seems to like! These tassies look awesome! I think the one thing that reminds me of my childhood Christmas are those spritzer cookies! We used to make those all the time!

    Reply

  46. QuintenW on December 19, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I made small pecan pies (in muffin tins) last year, and plan to again this year for Christmas. If I could make a suggestion, try peanut butter cookie dough as the crust. It is incredible.

    Love your blog, and merry Christmas

    Reply

  47. sarah-jane on December 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    these look lovely. I can jsut about taste them from the photos. I’ll be bookmarking this for in the holidays. Have you tried / used a pastry dibber ? You basically pop the pastry in the mini muffin mould / tin and squash it to form the shape..

    You can see mine here – though the party in those photos is a bit too thick

    http://siliconemoulds.blogspot.com/2010/05/mini-rolo-tarts-too-simple.html

    Reply

  48. Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking on December 19, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    As always, your pictures are excellent and your treats as well. Greeting from Sweden!

    Reply

  49. nancy tarrant on December 20, 2010 at 5:49 am

    I love this recipe. You might think about buying some silicone liners to make these. They pop out of the pans so easily

    Reply

  50. Taylor on December 20, 2010 at 8:13 am

    I made these and they are Delicious!! A little time consuming as I rolled them as suggested. Some of the filling bubbled over and then they had huge craters in the middle. Any suggestions on how to avoid this? Maybe my oven baked too hot or I over filled. I’d like to figure it out since they are great bite size treats!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 16th, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      Hi Taylor, They can sometimes bubble over if they are filled up too much. I’ve had it happen from time to time.

      Reply

  51. Fran on December 20, 2010 at 10:23 am

    When a neighbor brought this recipe to me I was not going to try it because I already make so many at Christmas. She insisted and I am sooo Happy she did because it is now one of my favorites for all occasions. I call it a “Pecan Mini Tart” but it is the same as your Tassies.

    So for everyone who is on the line deciding to make these try it it is worth your time!

    Reply

  52. stacey on December 23, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for posting this recipe! It also looks like the recipe from my mother’s cookbook ages ago and an all time fave of mine since childhood. I’m so glad i ran across this and can’t wait to try this recipe today…this is the first time i’ve made them without my mother so i’m excited to see how they turn out! Thanks!

    Reply

  53. Kendra on December 23, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Hi…I just made these, thank you for a cool retro recipe! I used the pestle part of my mortar and pestle to press them into the tin, and it worked great.

    Reply

  54. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on December 26, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I always loved getting these cookies on cookie plates from friends and family when I was younger. For some reason, they weren’t one of the cookies in my family’s repertoire. I need to make some, though, because they are still one of my favorites!

    Reply

  55. Cookin' Canuck on December 28, 2010 at 12:31 am

    I absolutely adore pecan tassies and I missed having them this year. I am going to make these for New Year’s Eve.

    Reply

  56. Melissa on December 29, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    These were a big hit at work today! Delicious – thank you!

    Reply

  57. foodlvr on January 6, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I adore pecans in anything. These look so good. My son is allergic so I rarely bake with nuts but I may have to try these one of these days.

    Sorry this is so late but I am totally backed up on Food Buzz mail.

    Reply

  58. Amanda on February 6, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    I made these today and everyone loved them! I’m a huge fan of your site. Thanks for taking the time to share all of your great recipes.

    Reply

  59. Megan on September 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    I love these pastries!! My family makes these every year except try putting a few chocolate chips in the bottom! It is sooooo good with them!

    Reply

  60. Rochella on December 18, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Thanks for a great blog–I discovered it while searching for the right mini pecan pie recipe. I made this tonight, and found that our tortilla press made flattening the dough balls a cinch (my 4 1/2 yr old was excited to use the little gadget and pressed the dough easily and perfectly!). My mini muffin pan is dark, so I did bake at 340 degrees instead of 350 and took them out at 22 minutes. My husband who is particular about food, ate 10 of them tonight!

    Reply

  61. Meredith on November 19, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Do you have any idea why they’re called tassies? My mother made mini nut tarts (called Chess tarts) like this at holidays, but the filling also had raisins. I have adapted it and added cranberries and / or golden raisins, and sometimes walnuts instead of pecans. I have no idea where that name comes from either.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 20th, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      Hi Meredith, I actually have no idea either! I asked my mom and she was stumped as well. Probably just one of those things!

      Reply

  62. Veronica on December 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    I’d like to add dried cranberries to your pecan tassies recipe, how much would be a good amount for filling &sprinkling on top?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 6th, 2012 at 12:20 am

      Hi Veronica, Hmm that’s a good question. I honestly am not sure how that would taste, I just can’t envision the combination of flavors and textures. If you added to the filling, I think you’d need to omit some of the pecans.

      Reply

  63. Shirley Predmore on December 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Can’t wait to make these!!!!!!!

    Reply

  64. rll on December 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    my mom had a copy of a recipe published in a newspaper dating to the 1950s i think. the original disappeared (needless to say we were devastated) so i’m not sure how old the clipping was – but most of the recipes i’ve since seen seem to reproduce the tassie to the best of my taste bud memory.

    Reply

  65. Janice Rosenfeld on December 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I can’t wait to make this recipe. I just bought a mini muffin pan. How do you divide the dough into 48 pieces? Would you explain what you do? Also, any tips for getting the tassies out of the tins? Thank you.

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 9th, 2012 at 10:34 am

      Hi Janice, I used a kitchen scale (weighed the entire mass of dough first, then divide by 48 and make portions that size). But, you could also just gather the dough into a rectangle or square, and then slice into even pieces (6 rows by 8 rows, for example).

      Reply

  66. bob on December 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    i made a half batch of these tonight…one crumbled when i took it out of the pan…oh tragedy…smiles…it was delicious…easy and awesome…thanks!

    Reply

  67. Gabby on December 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I couldn’t find my copy of the recipie and finding yours made my day!

    Reply

  68. Cassandra on December 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    This is the same recipe as that found in the 1969 Better Homes and Gardens “Cookies and Bars” book that I love. Great pictures. These are my favorite cookies.

    Reply

  69. Jen on December 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Every Christmas morning, my Mom would make these and my sister and I would eat them fresh from the oven, getting full before we even had Christmas lunch! I am having my first Christmas away from home this year and was so happy to come across your recipe. Easy and so delicious!! Thanks

    Reply

  70. Kathy S. Collier-Mehl on December 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I like the dough better with 8 oz cream cheese instead of 6 oz.,
    We’ve been making these for decades and our family is just as crazy about them. They disappear quicker than any cookie we make. Happy Holidays.

    Reply

  71. Hien on February 26, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Hi Michelle. I was wondering if the butter and cream cheese has to be softened before working with. I would really like to make this for my little ones baptism party! :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 27th, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Hien, Yes, at room temperature, so sorry that was omitted!

      Reply

  72. Julie Caldwell on October 14, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Yummy!!
    This one also makes the new recipes list for Christmas. I am thinking about using the crust recipe on a regular pecan pie.

    Reply

  73. dona de leon on October 30, 2013 at 4:26 am

    years ago when my mom came home from the US (im from the philippines but now based in perth, western australia) she brought home some pecan tartlets which her US based friend made for her. it was so delicious, i didnt know what it was called nor did my mom have the recipe. a few days ago while browsing through your recipes i found pecan tassies! and what a revelation! i now know what it was called! LOL i made this just the other day and it was so yummy! the only thing is, what i liked about the tartlets my mom’s friend made was that it was a bit chewy. any tips on how to make it chewy? thanks for your wonderful recipes. i am making the chicago deep dish pizza tonight! all the beast!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 30th, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      Hi Dona, These actually should be very soft and chewy in the middle. Were your hard?

      Reply

  74. Dawn on December 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I was wondering if the cream cheese needs to be at room temperature prior to mixing it?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 9th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Dawn, It’s not necessary, but you can!

      Reply

  75. shortcake on December 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    fyi-roll out dough-use a glass slightly larger than the opening of the mini cup cake pan-cut out circles lay one at a time over the tin-use the bottom of a floured shot glass to push in-it makes a perfect hole for your filling-much faster too

    Reply

  76. patti on December 14, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    You can use walnuts as well… before serving, you can dust them with a little confectionary sugar…they look really pretty on a dish lined with colored foil …

    Reply

  77. Karen Wilson on December 15, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Just finished making these wonderful cookies, just wondering if they can be put into the freezer till Christmas…thanks

    Reply

  78. Bailey on December 21, 2013 at 9:18 am

    I know it’s a shot in the dark- but is your recipe from Bell’s Best? It’s the book my family has used for years, every woman has a copy! Just thought that would be a funny coincidence!

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 22nd, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Hi Bailey, No, it’s from a local church cookbook. But the person who submitted it very well could have gotten it from somewhere else!

      Reply

  79. Cecelia on December 23, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    just made these. They came out perfect. One of my favorite cookies my mom used to make every Christmas.

    Reply

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