You only need SIX ingredients to make these wonderful Cinnamon Pecan Puffs!

Cinnamon Pecan Puffs on a blue plate

Recently, I got a bit nostalgic for some cookies that my mother and I used to bake during the holidays. I fondly recalled a very simple cookie that was crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. And I remembered lots and lots of pecans. I scoured through her old recipes and finally came across her handwritten recipe for Pecan Puffs.

These little cookies are essentially meringue cookies, but with a whole bunch of brown sugar instead of the traditional white sugar. And, as you’ve already guessed from the recipe title, there are plenty of pecans, too.

half of a Cinnamon Pecan Puff stacked on a whole cookie

These cookies are wonderfully soft and chewy. They’re a little crisp on the outside, but the inside is light and airy. The pecans add a nice crunch to go along with the chewiness of the cookies. The texture of these cookies is really a nice change from the usual cookie fare.

As much as I’m a fan of cookie scoops, I don’t use one for portioning these cookies. I prefer to use two small spoons – one to scoop and the other to transfer the batter to the pan. A scoop will serve you well, but nostalgia for baking with my mother makes me go the other route. You an also opt to use a piping bag if you prefer.

The beauty of these cookies is their simplicity. You’re likely to have everything you need in your kitchen to make them at any time. My mother’s version was made simply with egg whites, brown sugar, vanilla, and pecans. I couldn’t resist adding some cinnamon and a bit of salt for a little extra flavor.

Cinnamon Pecan Puffs served on a blue plate

My one bit of warning to you is that it can be difficult to tell when these cookies are done. If they are under-baked, they’ll stick to the pan lining and pretty much fall apart. The color doesn’t change that much, but there are a couple of things you can look for to gauge doneness. First of all, the cookies should appear dry on the top. Next, if you lightly tap the top of the cookies, they shouldn’t give at all. And if you’re still not sure, you can carefully use something like a small spatula to try to lift one of the cookies off the lining. If it releases easily and doesn’t stick, then they’re done.

While I love these cookies any time of year, I usually associate them with the holiday season. They’re a great contrast to all of the other usual holiday cookies. If you’re baking a few varieties to package as gifts or for a cookie tray, then these are a great choice to go along with the more traditional choices.

Find more cookie recipes in the Recipe Index.
Yield: about 50 cookies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Cinnamon Pecan Puffs are soft, chewy, nutty cookies made with a short list of ingredients. A long-time favorite!

Cinnamon Pecan Puffs are soft, chewy, nutty cookies made with a short list of ingredients. A long-time favorite! - Bake or Break

  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (200g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (198g) finely chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.* Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  2. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and vanilla on medium-high speed until soft peaks begin to form.
  3. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. While continuing to mix the egg whites, gradually add the sugar mixture (about 1-2 teaspoons at a time).
  4. Continue mixing until the mixture is smooth and stiff peaks form. This will take several minutes.
  5. Gently fold in the pecans.
  6. Using about 2 teaspoons of the mixture at a time, drop the cookies onto the prepared pans, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies. Alternately, you can use a piping bag with a wide tip for more uniform cookies.
  7. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the tops appear dry and do not give when tapped. You can also carefully use a small spatula or a knife to slide underneath the cookies to check that they will release easily from the lining.
  8. Cool the cookies on the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Then gently remove the cookies from the pans and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

*Yes, 250°F.

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    14 Comments on “Cinnamon Pecan Puffs”

  1. I love the sound of these and can’t wait to make them!

  2. Would these work without nuts?  Do I need to replace with something else?  Suggestions?  My gram made a similar cookie that I loved, but I live with nut haters 🙄

    • And these are gluten-free, too, huh? I planned baking a chocolate chip meringue
      cookie but think I’ll do these instead. Granny

    • Hi, Bryn. I’ve only made them with nuts, but meringues are made with all sorts of add-ins or with nothing extra added to the batter. My first suggestion if you want a substitution would be mini chocolate chips. Also, look a couple of comments down to see that Deanne’s grandmother made these with corn flakes! 

  3. Everything about this recipe looks & sounds delicious! I’m excited to try your recipe.

  4. I cannot thank you enough for posting this recipe. My grandma always made these for the Christmas and I loved them. I have been trying to find this recipe since she passed away 25 years ago. My love of baking was passed from my grandma to my mom to me. Unfortunately my grandma did not share her recipes so we lost many of the family favorites when we lost her. I finally found the recipe last year in a church cookbook from 1958 that was my mom’s, but the baking instructions are “bake in a slow oven” with no time or temp. My grandma made hers with corn flake cereal instead of the pecans. I will be making a batch with corn flakes and a batch with pecans.

  5. Hi Jennifer,

    I, too, remember these from when I was younger. We made them both ways with corn flakes and with nuts – maybe it has something to do with the region of the US we each came from. I was just curious if you know if they can be frozen after they are baked; in other words preparing them before the holidays to save time. Thanks again for this delish recipe!

    • Hi, Michelle! I love that so many people remember different versions of these! I’ve not tried freezing them, but these types of cookies generally freeze well. I wouldn’t hesitate at all to freeze them.

  6. I was so happy to have found your recipe as I have been searching for it without know just what these were! I tried it and mine were flat and look nothing like your pictures so I know I did something wrong; do you have any suggestions for something that would be causing them not to rise for me? 

  7. These are such wonderful cookies – so simple to make, so few ingredients but with such a delicious outcome. Thank you – I love all of your recipes – and wouldn’t miss one of your postings! You are the best!

  8. Amo as fotos e suas postagens. Gostaria que as receitas também tivessem a tradução para português. Seria possível realizar esse meu desejo

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