Pecan No-ButterBall Cookies. This is a veganized version of a childhood favorite Christmas cookie that was originally full of dairy butter. No buttah in these NO-ButterBalls! Delicate shortbread balls full to bursting with pecan pieces and rolled in powdered sugar while still warm from the oven. Six simple ingredients. One bowl. Let it snow!
My first concern was how I was going to replace all of the butter in these cookies. The original ‘Butterball’ cookies are about a third butter. Yep. Sounds super healthy, amiright? I cannot say the plant-based version will be healthier per say, but at least they’re dairy free!!
Pecan No-ButterBall Cookies are a super simple cookie to make. With a mixer, cream your choice of fat with sugar, add in the vanilla, salt, and flour. Then mix in the pecans by hand. Roll dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. My Mom used to have to keep telling me on Christmas Cookie Baking day to go smaller on my ball sizes. I just kept rolling them bigger…and bigger. My tester cookies on the first batch were embarrassingly huge. Mom would have vetoed them and sent them back to the bowl to be re-rolled.
I cannot recommend enough using a small cookie dough scoop to form your balls to keep some uniformity of your Pecan No-ButterBall Cookies. Trust me.
The first of Four Batches to get the texture and shape just like I remember…
My first batch was an even mix of vegan butter (I use Earth Balance) and coconut oil and were baked at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. My pecans were right out of the freezer, and silly me….I assumed that the frozen pecans would magically keep the dough cold enough maintain their shape. Nutz!
First batch outta the oven were flat as a pancake. They were still warm and a bit oily. There were amazing. If you want a great cookie and are not concerned about getting a ball shape then go for the gusto and use a mix of room temperature vegan butter and coconut oil in the dough.
I tried doing another batch of half vegan butter and half coconut oil and chilled the dough balls before baking. Best I can say is they were not quite as flat as the first batch! I’m heading in the right direction!
Next Batch…all Coconut Oil
3rd batch I increased the oven temp to 375 degrees and use all coconut oil. After rolling the balls of dough, I chilled them until they were solid. Coconut oil is awesome in that way. It chills to super solid very quickly. If you are fine with a coconut taste then go with the organic, natural coconut oil. If you’d like a more traditional ‘Butterball’ flavor, then refined coconut oil would be a great way to go.
Of all of the batches, the all coconut oil cookies were textually my favorite. They simply melted in your mouth. The shape was still not there yet though. Even with chilled dough and increasing the oven temperature to 375 degrees there were mostly what I lovingly called ‘dome shaped’.
Last Batch…all vegan butter, was a keeper
4th batch was all vegan butter and the dough smoothly came together. I scooped the dough into balls and chilled. I almost stopped myself and put them back in the fridge to chill some more. The dough balls were chilled but not solid like the coconut oil version. I just popped them into the oven thinking, if I end up with another batch of flat cookies like the first…well…it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Well hey, them flat babies were good.
The all vegan butter version of Pecan No-ButterBall Cookies with chilled dough and baked at 375 degrees worked just perfectly!
Whoop-dee-doo! We have No-ButterBalls!
All vegan butter, chilled dough at 375 degrees gave me perfectly shaped “Butterballs”.
Now it’s time for a bath in some suugggaaaahhhh! Pour it on!
Roll them ‘balls around in the powdered suuggahh! The fat in the still warm cookies and the powdered sugar come together to coat the delicate Pecan No-ButterBall Cookies with a thin coating of Yum.
If you do prefer to limit your sugar, the cookies are just sweet enough all by themselves. So leave ’em naked if that’s how you wanna roll.
Christmas Cookies for Santa’s Snack!
- PB Cooperative Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars
- Pineapple Coconut Bars
- Holiday Chocolate Sticks
- Cherry Coconut Bars
- I Love Sweet and Sara Graham Crackers
My Sister-In-Law, Tina made this painting for me and I just love it. I thought it would make a fun, whimsical backdrop to these lovely little cookies. Thank you, Tina!
How did I make Pecan No-ButterBall Cookies…healthier?:
- There’s a boatload of healthy pecans in this cookie. That concludes the health portion of this cookie. Hey, lighten up! It’s Christmas!
- They’re bite sized, so maybe you won’t eat too many. Maybe.
- A small cookie dough scoop to control size and maintain consistency is recommended.
- 1 cup plant-based (solid at room temperature) fat: I found vegan butter to work the best at maintaining the ball shape, however the coconut oil versions were melt in your mouth. I would recommend refined coconut oil if you want to get a more traditional Pecan Butterball flavor. You can also use Crisco, although I did not test this option.
- ½ cup powdered sugar, plus about a 1 cup more for rolling cookies in
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract
- dash of salt
- 1¾ cup of All Purpose Flour
- 1¾ cup pecans, broken up into pieces You can buy bags of pecan pieces (easiest) or add the pecan halves to a zip lock plastic bag, seal and roll with a rolling-pin to break into pieces
- Preheat oven to 375
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- With a mixer blend the butter, coconut oil, or shortening until smooth. Blend in powdered sugar.
- Add in vanilla, salt and mix until dough is smooth.
- Blend in the flour and mix until incorporated.
- With a rubber spatula or spoon, mix in your pecan pieces.
- The dough needs to be chilled in order to maintain a ball shape. I recommend using a small cookie dough scoop that creates balls of dough about 1 - 1.5 inches in diameter. Scoop your dough into balls and then roll between your palms to smooth. Put on a plate or dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until solid.
- While your dough is chilling, pour powdered sugar into a bowl or even easier, into a zip lock bag.
- Place balls about 2 inches apart on the baking pan and bake for 8-9 minutes at 375 degrees until the bottom edges begin to brown.
- Remove from the oven and leave for just a couple of minutes on the pan.
- While still warm, drop the cookies into the powdered sugar and roll around until coated. I found it easier to drop warm cookies into a zip lock bag with about a cup of powdered sugar and just toss the bag around until Butterballs are coated.
- Place powdered sugar-coated Pecan No-ButterBall Cookies onto a rack or cool baking pan and allow to completely cool.
- Cookies will keep for approximately a week in a sealed plastic container. My Mom always left about an inch of powdered sugar in the bottom of the plastic cookie container for the Pecan No-ButterBall Cookies to rest on and maintain their powdered sugar-coating.
- Cookies freeze beautifully and will remain fresh if properly covered for well up to 3 months. I have had Butterballs frozen for a year that were just as delicious as the day we made them.
The post Pecan No-ButterBall Cookies appeared first on Designing Vegan. If you make these cookies, I’d love to see what version you made – all vegan butter? Coconut oil? A mix of the two? Post your pics to Instagram or Facebook and tag it with #designingvegan
Make a lot of these Pecan No-ButterBall Cookies. A lot. They will go like flat little hotcakes!