Butter Pecans

A buttery, brown-sugar-rich dough nestled under a pecan half. They never disappoint! Eric’s great-grandmother was Swedish. Grandma Prudie cooked a lot of traditional recipes from her native country that have been passed down. Eric’s family still uses many of the recipes, especially around Christmas. They have a special dinner on Christmas Eve with traditional Swedish meatballs, boiled potatoes, rye bread, and of course tomato aspic.

I am all about tradition, don’t get me wrong. Traditions are about family togetherness and I love them. I especially love them when they are delicious. Unfortunately tomato aspic does not fall under this category. How can you love what is essentially a tomato jello, even if it is dressed up in a bundt mold? I am not alone; even Eric admits that tomato aspic is revolting. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Bumpa (Eric’s grandpa, Prudie’s son) is the only one who eats the stuff every Christmas. This is the same man who also eats pickled herring on a regular basis. Just sayin’.

The first year we were married Eric and I went to my parent’s house for the holidays. We have our Christmas traditions too, and those traditions usually include lots of mashed potatoes and tri-tip. But to make Eric feel more at home, I decided to try to recreate his family’s Christmas Eve dinner, even down to the tomato aspic.

The meatballs turned out awesome. I even won the meatball contest. (My brother-in-law, whose family is hardcore Italian, insisted on having a meatball contest to prove “once again” that northern Europeans (and their meatballs) are inferior to their southern neighbors. Boo-ya.)

Meatballs, check. The potatoes were good. The rye bread was good. The tomato aspic? Didn’t set up. So when we flipped that bundt mold over, instead of revealing our magnificently shaped (if nothing else) tomato jello, out came tomato soup with chunks of gelatin floating in it. Yum.

Even if the tomato aspic tradition is doomed to die on this generations watch, Grandma Prudie’s Swedish cookie tradition is one that is bound to stick around. These Butter Pecans have 6 ingredients and are incredible. I’m usually not one for pecans (or any nuts, for that matter), but these cookies are addictive. Especially since they are tiny; it’s easy to throw down 8 or 9 before you’ve even realized what’s going on. Long live Butter Pecans. Tomato aspic, rest in peace.

Butter Pecans

Source: Grandma Prudie

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
pecan halves

Cream butter and brown sugar. Add the egg yolk and beat. Add the flour & salt. Mix until it forms a ball. Chill the dough for about an hour. (If you are doubling the recipe, be sure to chill for more like 2-3 hours. They will bake flat if the dough is not cold. You can freeze the dough too, if you want.)

Form the dough into 1 inch balls and flatten once with a fork. Press a pecan on top perpendicular to the fork marks.

Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes or until very light brown.





  1. Kris says

    Ok, well you knew I WOULD have to leave a comment with all those jabs and negative words about one of my families’ traditional Christmas Eve delicacies! First of all, Tomato Aspic is a SALAD, Karen! A delicious, savory crunchy vegetable – filled salad! It tastes great with Swedish Meatballs. Also, I might add, that my dad is NOT the only one that eats it. (A lot of us also eat pickled herring, too – yum, yum) I throw down the glove! Someone in the next generation MUST carry on the the Tomato Aspic tradition!!! It CANNOT die an ignominious death with my children.

    • says

      Heehee. Maybe you can spoon-feed it to Charlotte this year and get her hooked. You will have to work on the grandchildren, because I’m pretty sure your own offspring have deserted camp-tomato-jello.

  2. janice says

    my grandma used to put disgusting things in gelatin, too, like walnuts and celery. what were they thinking? perhaps it would just be better if we put it all INSIDE the meatball, that could be tasty!

  3. Cindy says

    My grandma made my dad eat tomatoe aspic growing up so he tried unsuccessfully to make us all try it… tomatoe jello is disgusting!!!!

  4. Danielle says

    Do you think these would freeze well? I am making huge batches of cookies for the holidays. They sound delicious for my cookies tins.

    • says

      Absolutely Danielle! You can freeze them after they are baked, or freeze the dough. You should see my mother-in-laws freezer during the month of December. It is PACKED with tupperware after tupperware of Butter Pecans and Spritz. You would not believe how many of these cookies we eat every year :) Happy baking, and Merry Christmas!

  5. Angie says

    Eric just gave me a sample of the butter pecan and it is fantastic. I have a cookie exchange this weekend and need to make 12 dozen of something and I have been lamenting about what to make. It has to be killer good but easy to make since I have to do so many. After one taste and reading the blog I decided this is the winner. Easy and yummy! Thanks for sharing Karen. By the way keep the samples coming! :)

    • says

      I’m so glad you like them Angie! These cookies are great for making huge batches and freezing them for later, so they should work great for your exchange. You should see Eric’s mom’s freezer at Christmas time. It is full to the BRIM with these cookies, and Spritz. One year he was being so bad about stealing them before they were fair game that she hid them and didn’t tell him where. He tore the house apart. On Christmas Eve she showed him…they had been hidden in his closet the whole time. Now you know what to do if you ever need to hide goodies from my ravenous husband. Hide them in his desk drawer or something.

      Anyway, good luck with your cookie exchange! That sounds fun! Make sure your dough is completely chilled before baking. Sometimes if you double or triple it you need more like 3 or 4 hours in the fridge before baking.

      And yes, I will keep the samples coming, for sure! Eric and I are going to gain a thousand pounds if I don’t!

    • Ed says

      Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t see a YIELD for the number of cookies your Butter Pecan Cookies recipe makes; I know it would depend on amount of dough per cookie. Making 1″ balls as your recipe suggests, approximately how many cookies would I get? Thank you.

      • says

        I don’t think I’ve ever counted Ed! The short answer is “a ton” but that’s probably not specific enough for you…I’m thinking at least 50 cookies. Hope that helps! I will be sure to count next time and update :)

  6. Angie says

    The cookie exchange was a huge hit and no one could believe how perfect my cookies turned out. They thought I bought them. When I showed them the recipe they were floored at how simple they were to make. They were a huge hit!!


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