The BEST southern PECAN FINGER COOKIES recipe. Easy shortbread pecan fingernut or lady finger cookies made with easy ingredients, real butter, and holiday pecans. A traditional Christmas cookie recipe.
Every Christmas it’s a tradition to bake pecan fingers with my mom. Growing up, they were not my favorite cookie, but I have grown fond of them and now bake them year-round and make a dozen batches every Christmas to hand out to family and friends.
Pecan fingers are an old-fashioned southern delight. You’ll find this decadent dessert at local grocery stores and bakery shops and just about everyone’s grandma has a secret family recipe. In fact, they are so popular that you’ll find these cookies often called ladyfinger cookies, Russian tea cookies, nutty fingers, pecan sandies, nut crescent cookies, pecan snowball cookies, and pecan shortbread cookies. They are especially popular during the Christmas holiday season. I’ve even baked them for Thanksgiving in place of pies because most don’t eat them and the cookies are always the first thing gone off the table.
HOW TO MAKE PECAN FINGERS FROM SCRATCH
- Cream butter, powdered sugar, and granulated sugar.
- Beat in vanilla extract, and salt.
- Slowly mix in flour.
- Mix in chopped pecans.
- Use a 1 tbsp cookie scoop to scoop even size cookie dough balls.
- Roll dough into a log that is about 3 inches long by 2 inches wide.
- Bake in 325°F oven for 16-20 minutes.
- Allow cookies to cool on a rack.
- Roll in a bowl of powdered sugar.
REFRIGERATION: The pecan fingers cookie dough does not need any chilling before baking. That’s what makes this recipe incredible around the holiday season is that it can be baked the same day. NOTE: It is perfectly safe to refrigerate the dough for up to 4 days. Just remove it from the fridge and let it sit for 15 minutes before using it. The dough also freezes well.
PECAN FINGER INGREDIENTS
■ PECANS: Use fresh pecans if it’s the first of the season you are using them. Pecans go bad so be sure to taste them (any bags you have in the pantry) first before using them in the finger recipe. Finely chop them or ground them in the food processor. TIP: Do not substitute pecans for walnuts.
■ BUTTER: I always stock up on good quality butter like Land of Lakes right around Thanksgiving when it’s on sale for the season. For the holidays, be sure to use real butter, not margarine, and not shortening. As long as you are using the right quantities of fat to flour ratio, shortening won’t need to be used unless for texture.
■ GOOD VANILLA EXTRACT: A good quality vanilla extract is best for these shortbread cookies. You’ll really be able to taste the vanilla, too so it’s best to use one you really like. I like to use this Mexican vanilla for all of my baking.
■ SUGARS: Powdered sugar and granulated sugar give this cookie just the right amount of sweetness without going overboard.
■ FLOUR: Dough will be very thick once all the flour is added to the batch. If it is very sticky, add a tablespoon more in at a time but for the most part, the dough should be thick and hold its structure.
HOW TO SERVE PECAN FINGERS
Pecan fingers are delicious with a cup of coffee or tea. I love to dunk the end of the cookie into a steaming cup as it melts in my mouth. In the south, and in the midwest, it’s perfectly acceptable to have them for both breakfast and dessert, at least in my family,
During the month of December, you’ll find me in the kitchen baking up a storm with these classic and traditional holiday recipes.
POPULAR CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPE FLAVORS
- strawberry thumbprint cookies
- peanut butter cookie blossoms
- gingerbread thumbprint cookies
- spritz cookies
- Italian Christmas cookies
- Mexican wedding cookies
- Christmas pretzel hugs
- peanut butter cup cookies
- classic crinkle cookies
- Hershey’s kiss snowballs
Pecan Finger Cookies
- 1 cup butter, room temperature 2 sticks
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1⅓ cups pecans finely ground/chopped about 2¼ cups whole pecans
- 2 cups powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy; about 3-5 minutes.
- Mix in vanilla extract and salt.
- Slowly mix in flour just until combined. Wipe down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Turn up mixer to high and mix for 30 seconds.
- Mix in pecans until combined.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
- Scoop 1 tbsp cookie dough and roll dough into a 3-inch long finger by 2-inches wide. Space 1½ inches apart on cookie sheet.
- Bake in oven for 16-20 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Once completely cool roll in a bowl of powdered sugar, slightly pressing the sugar into the finger.
Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.
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