These Cherry Pecan Cookies are soft and chewy and nutty. A cream cheese sugar cookie is generously flavored with almond extract and then rolled in chopped pecans for a little crunch, texture and additional nutty flavor! Top them off with a maraschino cherry half for the perfect festive Christmas cookie!
These Cherry Pecan Cookies are the first of my 12 days of Christmas Cookies!! My favorite holiday memories are centered around Christmas Cookie baking and eating. Over the next 11 days I’ll be sharing some of my old family favorites and some new ones as well! Get excited! I certainly am!
Don’t let the innocuous name fool you: these humble cookies fight with Mom’s Gingerbread Boys for my favorite Christmas cookie. Well, at least since 1992, which is the date that my mom wrote in her Christmas cookie book.
My mom used half red and half green cherries! So fun and festive.
Adult me isn’t a giant fan of maraschino cherries but the cookies just aren’t quite the same without them. Actually I don’t think my younger self was a huge fan of maraschino cherries either…I used to pick them out of my drinks and give them to my younger brother who loved them.
The cream cheese helps these cherry pecan cookies stay incredibly soft and moist and gives another layer of flavor to the dough. The flavor actually improves after sitting, which makes these a great addition to any Christmas cookie platter or holiday cookie shipment!
Soft and bursting with almond flavor. The inside is impossibly chewy, which is contrasted by the little bit of crunch from the chopped pecans. Mmm pecans.
The small size and addicting flavor makes these perfectly poppable!
Sift flour, soda and salt into a medium bowl, whisk briefly to make sure the salt and soda are distributed; set aside.
Cream butter and cream cheese in large mixing bowl; gradually add sugar, beating with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
Add egg; beat well. Stir in almond extract.
Add flour mixture to creamed mixture in 3 additions, mixing well after each. Form into a rough ball shape, cover with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.
Shape dough into balls about 1 ½ inches in diameter, roll in pecans, pressing to make sure pecans adhere. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookies sheets. Gently press cherry half in center of each cookie while slightly flattening the top. If you aren’t going to use cherries, gently flatten the top of each ball with two fingers.
Bake 7-10 minutes. You don’t want to overbake them, so make sure to watch as you get closer to 7 minutes. They are done when the edges just begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living’s Christmas Cookies, 1986 Edition.
The original recipe says to store in refrigerator up to 1 week, but my mom never did and neither have I. They are best served room temperature so that all the flavors can be enjoyed together!