With friends coming over later this evening for a stew dinner and a nice fire I felt it would be nice to end the evening with a little sweet something. What better compliment to a night of laughter, wine and whiskey than a little pecan pie. And then I remembered a great recipe I saw recently over at Allergy Free Alaska for pecan pie cookies. Yep that’s right, all the goodness of a slice of pie in the delicious form of a cookie. I LOVE pecan pie. Really, really love pecan pie. However, I’ve been cutting back on the amount of refined grains in the sweets that I bake and have completely taken out dairy and eggs. Imagine the light in my tender little heart when I came across this recipe for grain free, vegan pecan pie cookies. I just couldn’t wait to get my baking mitts on.

Generally, when I recreate recipes I find that I have to shift things around to my liking. I’m a less sweet and more salty kind of girl but this recipe was pretty suited to my tastes. The only things I did change was to add a little more salt and I used coconut milk rather than almond. So I have to say publicly, thank you Megan…these are awesome!

Pecan Pie Cookies (adapted from Megan at Allergy Free Alaska)
Yields about 18 cookies

For the filling:
1/3 cup dates, pitted, soaked & chopped
5 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

For the cookie base:
2 1/4 cup blanched almond flour, packed (I used Bob’s Red Mill – they are local here)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons coconut oil, at room temperature
3 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To make the filling:

  1. Cover the chopped dates in 1 cup of hot water and set aside for at least 10 minutes and up to 30. The longer the gummier they get which lends a nice texture to the filling.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, coconut milk, and vanilla extract. Stir until the coconut oil is just melted and then remove from heat.
  3. Drain and discard the hot water from the dates, and place the dates in a blender with the saucepan contents. Blend until smooth, pour back into the saucepan (so you don’t dirty another bowl) and then stir in the sea salt and chopped pecans. Set aside.

To make the cookie base and form the cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond meal, sea salt, and baking soda. Whisk in the coconut oil until the dough resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Stir in the maple syrup, vanilla, and coconut milk. Start with 1 tablespoon of almond milk and add another tablespoon only if the dough needs more moisture to pull it together.
  4. Roll the dough into balls (using about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough each) and place on the cookie sheet. Flatten the balls of dough and use your fingers to make a well (or indentation) in the middle of the cookies.
  5. Generously fill the cookies with the pecan pie filling (and I do mean generously fill, otherwise you will be left with a lot of filling left over).
  6. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown.
  7. Allow the cookies to completely cool on the cookie sheet (otherwise they will fall apart).