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Easy Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies (with mayonnaise)

This is a simple but tasty recipe for dark brown sugar cookies with pecans. It calls for no butter or shortening. Instead, this recipe calls for something you’ve likely got in your pantry right now. . .mayonnaise.

I’ve been on a kick coming up with mayonnaise-infused recipes over the past couple of weeks. I’ve got a chocolate cake, biscuits/rolls, Cheddar Bay biscuits, cornbread, banana bread, and even muffins.

But, until today I didn’t have cookies.

Honestly? I wasn’t sure how mayo would bake up in cookie form because it causes a light, fluffy texture.

Mayonnaise Cookies? Is that a Thing?

mayonnaise

In earlier posts I covered the why’s and wherefores of baking with mayonnaise. It was popularized after WWII when certain foods were rationed. These days people add it to their recipes to add moisture to the final product.

I’ve learned that mayo makes terrific baked goods! (Imagine my surprise!)

There are a host of Mayonnaise Cookie recipes out there, but none seemed terribly appealing to me. Most call for white sugar and I was hoping for an opportunity to use up some dark brown sugar in my cupboard. (You could use light brown sugar if that’s all you have on hand.)

I also had a bag of pecans on hand and decided that pecans and brown sugar were probably going to be the perfect combination.

So, as I often do, I tweaked the recipes I found online and created an original!

What do these Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies taste like?

Fluffy brown sugar pecan cookies

They have a soft, light texture. They’re rich with dark brown sugar and nutty goodness. I also added a half teaspoon of maple extract (which is totally optional). It paired perfect with the finely chopped pecans.

These cookies aren’t overly sweet and I think they’d be great as a breakfast cookie or afternoon snack. The nuts are optional, of course. I thought about throwing in some caramel chips, but decided pecans were more to my taste on this particular day.

This recipe makes 2 dozen cookies. I only baked five and scooped the rest into balls to freeze so that I have options when company stops by.

Brown Sugar Pecan Cookie Ingredients:

cookie ingredients

Wondering what you’ll need to make these Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies? These are all very simple ingredients. You’ve probably got most on hand!

You’ll find a full printable recipe at the bottom of this post, but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need:

  • all purpose flour
  • dark brown sugar
  • mayonnaise (full fat)
  • egg (optional, not pictured)
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • vanilla extract
  • maple extract (optional)

Let’s pause for a minute to talk about the addition of the egg that’s not pictured. When I mixed up this recipe I thought the dough looked a little odd–way too dry and somewhat coarse. I decided an extra egg would pull it all together….and it did.

How to Make These Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies

This is truly the easiest cookie recipe I’ve ever made. It came together in one mixing bowl. (You can use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment if you choose!)

I started by whisking my brown sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

I then added my mayonnaise to the dry ingredients. This is also when I decided I needed the addition of the egg, so I tossed it in.

I used my electric mixer to incorporate the wet ingredients.

Add pecans and mix thoroughly but don’t over mix.

Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

Use a cookie scoop to scoop balls of cookie dough. 

dough balls on cookie sheet

As I mentioned above, I only baked a few to sample but you can fit 12 per cookie sheet. The recipe makes 24 cookies.

This recipe will make 24 cookies. 

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until golden brown and set.

baked cookies

When you remove your tray from the oven, place it on a wire cooling rack. It won’t take long for your cookies to cool down.

baked cookies

My Thoughts

This batter looks (and feels) different from any other cookie batter I’ve ever used. The mayo has a lot of oil in it, so I noticed while scooping that the dough balls were moister than I had expected. And (weirdly) they have a buttery flavor, even though there’s no butter in them.

After seeing the texture of the dough I did wonder if they would bake up greasy. They were anything but! These easy pecan cookies were light and fluffy.

Variations on this Recipe

baked cookies

I’m so excited to learn that mayo works for most all baked products. Cakes, breads, muffins, and cookies! (Talk about versatile!) I can see this as a basic recipe I could use as a foundation for many cookies in the future. Here are a few I’m thinking of making:

  • White Chocolate: Use light brown sugar in place of dark and add a cup of white chocolate chips in place of pecans.
  • Cranberry-Orange: Add a quarter cup of diced Craisins and the zest of one orange.
  • Banana Walnut: I will have to test this one to make sure the texture works but I think the light fluffy texture would be lovely with a mashed banana and some walnuts.
  • Substitute peanut butter for half of the mayonnaise.
  • Sandwich some vanilla ice cream between two of these cookies!

Other Recipes from Out of the Box Baking:

I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Look for all of my mayonnaise-based posts. I’ve got a ton of other cookie recipes you might enjoy, as well. Here are just a few!

Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies (with Mayonnaise)

Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies (with Mayonnaise)

Yield: 24
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Brown Sugar Pecan Cookie Ingredients:
  • Wondering what you'll need to make these Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies? These are all very simple ingredients. You've probably got most on hand!
  • You'll find a full printable recipe at the bottom of this post, but here's a quick peek at what you'll need:
  • * 2 cups all purpose flour
  • * 1 cup brown sugar
  • * 1 cup mayonnaise (full fat)
  • * 1 large egg (optional, not pictured)
  • * 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • * 1 teaspoon salt
  • * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • * 1/2 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
  • *
  • Let's pause for a minute to talk about the addition of the egg that's not pictured. When I mixed up this recipe I thought the dough looked a little odd--way too dry and somewhat coarse. I decided an extra egg would pull it all together....and it did.

Instructions

    How to Make These Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies


    This is truly the easiest cookie recipe I've ever made. It came together in one mixing bowl. (You can use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment if you choose!)
    Start whisking you brown sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
    Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. (This is when I decided I needed the addition of the egg, so I tossed it in.)
    Use your electric mixer to incorporate the wet ingredients.
    Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    Use a cookie scoop to scoop balls of cookie dough.
    Place 12 per cookie sheet.
    This recipe will make 24 cookies.
    Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until set.
    When you remove your tray from the oven, place it on a wire cooling rack. It won't take long for your cookies to cool down.

    This batter looks (and feels) different from any other cookie batter I've ever used. The mayo has a lot of oil in it, so I noticed while scooping that the dough balls were moister than I had expected.
    I wondered if they would bake up greasy. They were anything but! They were light and fluffy.

Randi Morrow

Saturday 21st of May 2022

Ahhh these look amazing ??

Janetta Messmer

Friday 20th of May 2022

Sounds delicious! FYI: Hubby made your light & fluffy biscuits last week. Tasty! Also today before I received this recipe, he used mayo in a cookie recipe he's made before. Made them more moist. Thank you! ??

booksbyjanice

Friday 20th of May 2022

You’re so welcome. Those biscuits are interesting, right?! Almost like a roll. Hard to describe.

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