Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pecan Maple Caramel Praline Cookies

 When I was little my Mom used to make pecan praline cookies that I couldn't get enough of.  They tasted butterscotchy and caramelly with the richness of brown sugar and toasty pecans.  They were from an old church cookbook that she had acquired was just married, which got lots of use over the years.  I have since lost the recipe, but the memory of the delicious cookies still remains, and so when I was trying to decide what type of cookies to make yesterday, this one came to mind!  Pecan Praline! 

But these ones would have my own spin on them, and would not leave me feeling like I was in a sugar coma...since I tend to ingest much of the dough and freshly baked cookies in the process...a baker has to sample her product!  I wanted mine to have a maple flavor for another dimension, so I used maple sugar as well as maple syrup and extract in the dough.   I swapped the butter for earth balance and coconut oil and added a small amount of applesauce to keep them soft, since the original cookies were pillowy.  I added lots of  toasted pecans, much more than Mom used to, because I wanted them to be very present! 

My cookies were then topped off with some salted maple caramel and toasted pecans, which was not the same as the original.  I opted for a more gooey topping than frostingy.  The finished cookies were heavenly...all of the goodness of the old ones my Mom used to make, but with my own unique flair.  The soft buttery tasting cookies with the crunchy pecans and gooey caramel made for a good remedy for my cookie craving.  Of course I had to give my Mom a sample, and she thought they were better than the original, and you felt better after eating them.  I am glad I can eat more and not feel so guilty!  Try out this fabulous fall cookie...although I wouldn't limit it to the cool months! 

Vegan Pecan Maple Caramel Praline Cookies
makes 3 dozen

1 cup maple sugar, or granulated organic sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan buttery spread at room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp maple extract
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups toasted pecans, chopped

Salted Maple Caramel:
1 cup maple sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp light agave nectar
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1 T. Earth balance butter
1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 Tbsp maple extract
1 tsp sea salt

about 1 cup toasted whole pecan halves

In a large bowl, combine buttery spread and coconut oil with sugar and beat until fluffy and well combined.  Beat in the apple sauce, vanilla extract, maple extract and maple syrup until well combined.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, then add to the large bowl, and mix until well combined.  Mix in the pecans, and place in the fridge to chill until firm.  To bake, Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll balls into about 1 1/2 inch balls, and place on prepared cookie sheets a couple inches apart (refrigerate unused dough while baking the other trays).  Bake for about 10 minutes, until puffed and just starting to brown slightly.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool.  Repeat with remaining cookies and let cool completely.  To make caramel, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the sugar, agave nectar and water to a boil, stirring well at first to dissolve the sugar. Turn down the heat to low and cook until the liquid is deep amber in color, about 6-10 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure even cooking. Remove the pan from heat. Very carefully (the mixture will bubble), stir in the coconut milk, earth balance butter vanilla, maple extract, and sea salt until smooth. Let cool until it is a thicker constency before using on cookies (it gets thicker as it cools, so I let it sit in the fridge for a while).  Drizzle caramel over each cookie and top with a pecan half. 


  1. These made me almost cry because I wanted one so bad! They look amazing, great job!

  2. Anything praline sounds so good. The cookies are so good looking and the ingredients make my mouth water. I could imagine eating so many that I get into a sugar induced coma. In fact, that sounds quite appealing. What better way to go?! ;)

  3. These look amazing!! And bonus points for being vegan! :)

  4. Hi love,
    Don't you just love recipes that take you back to your childhood? I know that I love revamping old recipes, and it seems like you did a lovely job with these praline cookies! I love all the maple syrup flavor. Thank you for sharing. Here's to a week of baking, cooking and a lot of love!

  5. Those look wonderful! Love the glossy, mapley sauce dripping off of them.

  6. ooohh I love these! I have maple on the brain lately...

  7. Tons of flavor happening in this cookie. Very mouthwatering.

  8. My goodness, these look incredible! I love maple syrup and pecans so these are exactly up my alley!

  9. These sound so good! Fantastic combination!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the kind comment! :)

  10. Seriously wishing If I grabbed a fork and poked the screen that the cake would magically appear! WOW.

  11. Your recipes always look so yummy but this one really takes the cookie!!

  12. Is the glaze sticky that the cookies would stick to each other when stacked on top of others in "tupperware" container?

    1. I would put a layer of foil or parchment in between.

  13. Can vegetable oil be substituted for the coconut oil in the cookie . That is an ingredient I probably would not used again, and hate to buy big container for such small amount.

    1. No, I would not use vegetable oil with these cookies, it is not healthy and would not work. Coconut oil has many uses! Try it for cooking or in place of butter. You might actually come to enjoy it! Plus, you can probably buy a smaller jar.