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