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


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


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)


98 Responses to “Pecan Tassies”

Comment Pages 1 2
  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!


  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.


    • 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


      • 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!!


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

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


  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!


  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!


  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 :)


  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!


  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!


  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!


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

    I love that they are called “tassies!”


  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!


  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!


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

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


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

    These look fantastic! Great recipe!


  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!


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

    Mmmm, these are so cute and look delish!


  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!


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

    So cute!


  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…


  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.


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

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


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

    These look lovely!!


  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.


  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?)


  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.


  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.


  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!


    • 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.


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

      Hi Sarah, I don’t see why not!


    • 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!


  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!


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

    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.


  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?


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

    I love pecan tassies. These are so pretty!


  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!
    Lila Ferraro


  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!


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

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


  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!


  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.


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

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


  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!


  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 :)


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

    They look delicious! I will have to try them.

    Thanks for sharing.



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

    Cutie Patooties!


  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.


  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!


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

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


  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!


  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


  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


  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!


  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


  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!


    • 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.


Comment Pages 1 2

Leave a Comment

(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)