A classic cookie for the holidays or any time of year, Pecan Meltaways are a simple recipe for melt-in-your mouth buttery, nutty shortbread cookies, coated in delicious powdered sugar.
Don’t save these butter pecan homemade cookies for a special occasion though – they are delicious any time of the year, and an excellent way to celebrate the little things in life.
I love an afternoon snack that includes a plate of Pecan Meltaways and a nice, hot cup of coffee.
These cookies are sometimes called Mexican Wedding Cake cookies, and I believe that they are styled after a traditional Mexican nut based treat.
If you like these pecan balls, you have to try my recipe for Pecan Sandies too!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Classic Cookie Recipe: This old-fashioned recipe is an oldie, but a goodie, as they say. It’s been around for a long time, without any real updates. This is because it’s perfect just as it is, full of butter pecan flavor and coated in fluffy powdered sugar.
- Simple Ingredients: There are only 6 ingredients in this easy cookie recipe, which means that you can whip them up without too much advance preparation or fancy shopping.
- Everyone Loves These: Pecan meltaways make great gifts. Take a platter to your neighbor or your coworkers – they’ll love you for it!
Pecan Meltaways Ingredients
Complete list of ingredients with quantities and instructions is located in the recipe card below
- Butter: Be sure to use unsalted butter for this cookie recipe, and allow the butter to soften fully at room temperature before starting to mix the dough.
- Powdered Sugar: We need powdered sugar twice in this recipe. First, it’s the sweetener in the dough. This recipe is odd in that way, since most cookie recipes use granulated sugar instead. Second, the baked cookies get rolled in more powdered sugar – twice! – after coming out of the oven.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: Always use pure vanilla extract for baking cookies! I suggest that you buy the best quality vanilla extract that you can reasonably afford. It really makes a difference.
- Flour and Salt: The basic dry ingredients in shortbread cookies. Remember, there is no baking powder or baking soda in meltaways.
- Pecans: You’ll need ¾ cup of very finely chopped pecans to mix into the cookie dough. You can do this with your food processor, or very, very carefully with a sharp knife.
How to Make Pecan Meltaway Cookies
- Mix Wet Ingredients: In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a mixing bowl with a handheld mixer) cream together the butter and ½ cup of powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and beat again for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to get everything well mixed.
- Add Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt, then add that to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Fold in the chopped pecans. The dough will be dry and crumbly, but should hold together when pressed.
- Chill: Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes, and up to a day or so.
- Shape Cookies: Use a small cookie scoop to shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Place them on a lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F/180°C oven for 10-12 minutes.
- Roll in Powdered Sugar: Add the rest of the powdered sugar to a bowl. While the pecan meltaways are still warm, carefully roll them in the sugar to coat. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Add More Powdered Sugar: To make these cookies look like beautiful snowballs, roll them in a second coating of powdered sugar to finish.
- Keep them the same size: It’s important that all of the cookies are the same size. They’ll look better this way, plus they’ll all cook at the same rate. Use a 1 tablespoon size cookie scoop to get uniform cookie dough balls, or use a scale to make sure each is 20 grams before baking.
- Be Gentle: The cookies will be soft while they are warm. Be careful not to crush them while rolling in powdered sugar. I used kitchen tongs rather than my hands, as I found it was easier for me to be gentle that way.
- Roll them twice! The first coating of powdered sugar will melt into the cookies, creating a glazed crust, while the second coating, added after they’re cooled, will give them a fluffy white appearance and texture.
More Tasty Cookie Recipes
Meltaways are very similar to pecan sandies. The biggest difference is that pecan meltaways use powdered sugar rather than granulated, and they are formed into balls rather than flat cookies. This means that they have a softer texture than Pecan Sandies, which are crispier.
These cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen for 2-3 months.
Yes, chilling the dough is a very important step in the pecan meltaways recipe. Chilling ensures that the cookies hold a tall, round shape while baking.
Add this Pecan Meltaways recipe to your cookie idea box, and be sure to make them soon! Pin the classic cookie recipe to save it, or share it.