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After several rounds of testing, these maple pecan snickerdoodles came out soft and chewy with irresistible maple and cinnamon flavors. Chopped pecans in the dough add texture and a pecan baked on top of each cookie is a pretty finishing touch!

maple pecan snickerdoodles on black cooling rack

This recipe is part of my annual Christmas cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I work on a handful of new Christmas cookie recipes and publish the 10 best ones for readers to enjoy! You can browse dozens of recipes on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page.


Tell Me About These Maple Pecan Snickerdoodles

  • Flavor: Two cookies collide! These are maple brown sugar cookies and snickerdoodles in one. The brown sugar flavor isn’t as heavy as the maple brown sugar cookies, but there’s extra cinnamon and a little tang from cream of tartar so you certainly won’t miss it. (Cream of tartar is a staple ingredient in snickerdoodles!) The pecan half on each cookie gets a little toasty, so if you love nuts– don’t skip that addition.
  • Texture: Chewy, crinkly, and oh-so-soft with chunks of pecans in every bite.
  • Ease: These maple pecan snickerdoodles are easy enough for a beginner to handle because there’s no complicated shaping or prep required. Don’t forget a few key ingredients like cream of tartar, pure maple syrup, and maple extract.
  • Time: Standing between you and a tray of maple pecan snickerdoodle cookies is a 2 hour chill time. Since we’re adding liquid (maple syrup), this cookie dough will over-spread in the oven without a couple hours in the refrigerator first. If you’re baking multiple cookie recipes at once, use this time to make a batch of shortbread!

By the way, if you’re ever looking for a cut-out style cookie recipe using these flavors, try my maple cinnamon star cookies.

stack of maple pecan snickerdoodles

The goal for today’s recipe was a flavorful variation of regular snickerdoodles. I tested multiple batches before landing on texture and flavor perfection– let me show you some results.

Comparing Two Test Batches

The first several rounds of dough started from my traditional snickerdoodle cookies. I used varying amounts of maple syrup and maple extract and adjusted the egg/egg yolk and flour, but each cookie had a cakey texture and some were dry by day 2. (Likely the added flour and reduced egg yolk– the original snickerdoodles are definitely not like this!) I switched directions and used maple brown sugar cookies as the base. Adding cream of tartar gave the slightly tangy flavor that’s iconic to traditional snickerdoodle cookies. I reduced the brown sugar so the flavor wasn’t as strong and settled on a careful ratio of butter-flour-maple syrup.

On the left: Dry and cakey.

On the right: Soft with chewy, buttery centers. These were the clear winners and you can find the printable recipe below.

maple pecan snickerdoodle cookies broken in half to show the texture difference

Key Ingredients in Maple Pecan Snickerdoodles

  1. Cinnamon: All snickerdoodles are dressed up in a cinnamon sugar coating including today’s version. Use cinnamon in the cookie dough as well.
  2. Cream of Tartar: Cream of tartar adds a unique tang to snickerdoodle cookies. If you don’t have any, you can skip it but you will lose that flavor.
  3. Pure Maple Syrup: Avoid “breakfast syrup” which doesn’t have the same robust maple flavor that pure syrup contains.
  4. Maple Extract: Pure maple syrup isn’t enough to give the cookies enough flavor. (And if you tried adding more for additional flavor, the dry-wet ingredients would be thrown off!) Without the crutch of maple extract, the cookies are lacking flavor. If you need a recommendation, I like using McCormick brand maple extract and you can find it in the baking aisle.
  5. Pecans: Chopped pecans add some texture to the cookies. I like pressing a pecan half on top of each dough ball before baking– it’s a built-in garnish that lightly toasts as the cookies bake.

You also need some staple baking ingredients including butter, brown & white granulated sugars, an egg, salt, flour, vanilla, and baking soda.

maple syrup, maple extract, pecans, butter, and other ingredients required

A Cookie Scoop Helps

Use a cookie scoop to portion the dough before rolling into balls with your hands. I like this (affiliate link) medium cookie scoop because it measures exactly what you need– 1.5 Tablespoons of dough.

cookie scoop scooping up maple pecan snickerdoodle cookie dough

snickerdoodle cookie dough balls coated in cinnamon sugar and on baking sheet

pecan snickerdoodles arranged on white plate

If you love snickerdoodles, you might enjoy these white chocolate chai spice snickerdoodles too.

Sally's Cookie Palooza

This recipe is part of my annual Christmas cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I publish 10 new cookie recipes in a row. It’s the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Browse dozens of Christmas cookie recipes over on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page including:

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maple pecan snickerdoodles

Maple Pecan Snickerdoodles

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (includes chilling)
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes
  • Yield: 32-36 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These maple pecan snickerdoodles are soft and chewy with irresistible maple and cinnamon flavors. Set aside at least 2 hours to chill the cookie dough before rolling and baking. See recipe notes for additional information about some key ingredients.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170gunsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) pure maple syrup*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons maple extract*
  • 1 cup (130g) chopped pecans (plus pecan halves for topping)*

Topping

  • 1/3 cup (70g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • optional for topping: 32-36 pecan halves

Instructions

  1. Cookies: Whisk the flour, cream of tartar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat on high until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the maple syrup, vanilla extract, and maple extract until combined.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and then beat on low until combined. Beat in the chopped pecans. Dough will be thick and soft.
  4. Cover and chill the dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator (and up to 3-4 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite hard.
  5. Topping: Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  7. Roll cookie dough into balls, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough per cookie. Roll each ball generously into cinnamon sugar topping and place 2-3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Gently press a pecan half into the tops of each dough ball. (Not too hard or the pecan may break.)
  8. Bake for 13-14 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. The centers will look very soft.
  9. Remove from the oven. If your warm cookies look puffy, lightly bang the pan on the counter when you remove it from the oven. That will help slightly deflate the cookies. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Cover and store leftover cookies at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 5. Make sure that you let it come to room temperature before rolling the dough, coating in topping, and baking the cookies. You can also freeze the cookie dough balls. Roll the dough into balls then freeze the balls for up to 2-3 months. You can freeze the cookie dough balls with the cinnamon sugar topping or without, but I recommend freezing without the topping. When you are ready to bake, remove the balls from the freezer, let sit for 30 minutes, preheat the oven, and then roll into topping. You can also freeze the baked cookies for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  2. Cream of Tartar: You can skip the cream of tartar if desired but you will lose some flavor. Cream of tartar adds a unique tangy flavor to the cookie, which sets it apart from sugar cookies and makes it a classic snickerdoodle.
  3. Maple Syrup: Avoid “breakfast syrup” which doesn’t have the same robust maple flavor that pure syrup contains.
  4. Maple Extract: Pure maple syrup isn’t enough to guarantee mega maple flavor. Without the crutch of maple extract, the cookies lack flavor. I use McCormick maple extract. You can find it in the baking aisle.
  5. Pecans: I recommend unsalted, un-roasted pecans but feel free to use salted roasted pecans.

Keywords: maple pecan snickerdoodles

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Perfect timing. I had planned to gift snickerdoodles because they are universally popular. I love the notion of changing it up and adding maple flavor and pecans.

    You might want to add a note that B maple syrup is now labeled Grade A Dark. And A is Grade A Golden. Crazy the industry changed up the labeling classification we all have gone by for decades.

    Happy Holidays,
    Anne

    1. Thank you for this! We prefer Grade B in our family, even for pancakes, and I had no idea why it couldn’t find it anywhere. Ironically I did start buying the one labeled Grade A Dark, just based on color, but I had no idea that was actually our favorite Grade B with a new name. You learn something new every day!

  2. Love this cookie Palooza for Christmas holiday……in this recipe…what do you think of substituting maple sugar for the white sugar

    1. Hi Ken, I think that would work wonderfully. (Not the brown sugar, just the white granulated sugar as you specified.)

  3. These are going to be a new addition to our family’s standard Christmas baking line up!

  4. I made these tonight and am using every ounce of willpower not to gobble them up! Delicious, easy and fast. Great for a gift. Might be good with a sprinkle of salt on top.

  5. Sally…. you are a Cookie Goddess! Made these yesterday as part of my Christmas Cookie collection. These are amazzzing, the scent of them baking tells you that alone!
    Thank you!

  6. Hi Sally! These look delicious, however I can’t find maple extract in my country (already tried, believe me). Is there anything I could substitute with or should I just leave it out?

    1. Hi Laura, You can leave it out. Keep in mind that while you will taste a little of the maple flavor from the syrup, they won’t have a strong flavor with the maple extract.

  7. Can I leave out the pecans? Wanting to make the recipe for coworkers but one is allergic to nuts. Looks yummy though!

    1. If you are considering making these – do it. Do it RIGHT NOW. I made these on a whim for a cookie swap this weekend and they were the hit of the party. Such a great combination of textures and robust flavors, I started describing them as tasting like “fancy french toast”. They are a perfect level of sweetness and the pecans add a wonderful, buttery finish. I’m already planning on making a second batch ASAP.

  8. I swear I’ve made nearly every cookie in your cookbook and every single one of them has been a winner! Honestly, these are simply divine! Not to mention they are so beautiful with the added touch of pecan on the top. I’m wrapping them in Christmas tins for friends, as we speak! Thank you and Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi Sally,

      All I can find is “imitation maple flavor” I cannot find any maple extract anywhere. Will the maple flavor work? If so, do you think the same amount will do? It comes in a bottle like extract but is not actually extract?

    1. You could try these as bars in a 9×13 inch pan. We are unsure of the best bake time.

  9. I made these Maple Pecan cookies and they are ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS and EVERYONE LOVED THEM!!!! Highly recommend to all they are delicious and easy to make. Thank you so much Sally for this wonderful website I just love it! Happy Holidays and New Year to you your family and all!!!
    Aloha Glynnis

  10. I followed the recipe to a T and even baked them for 12 mins but they turned out dry and cakey. Don’t know what went wrong!

    1. Hi Jumana! Thank you for giving these cookies a try. How did you measure the flour? Make sure to spoon and level (instead of scooping) to avoid packing in too much flour into your measuring cups. You can read more about properly measuring baking ingredients in this post.

  11. These were a big hit over the Christmas holidays but I’m excited to try them again. Love the flavor. They are going in the recipe box for sure.

  12. Maple AND Snickerdoodles? I was determined to make these cookies. We were hooked from the first bite. I made these three times over the holidays. This is definitely a new year round favorite in our house. We loved them!

  13. My people (who are nut lovers and maple people too) loved this addition to my holiday cookie tray this year. Great recipe!

  14. Can I replace the cream of tartar with something else? I know it’s optional but I don’t want to lose out on its effect.

    1. Hi Ward, there’s no substitutes so you can skip the cream of tarter if you don’t have any.

  15. I chose to grind the nuts in my food processor so the kids wouldn’t notice them. It worked, and was so damn delicious. Everything about this recipe is perfect, I had to make 1 adjustment, only having salted butter on hand, but reduced the added salt by half.

  16. Good morning! Thank you for the great recipe. We love it. I have a grandchild who is allergic to ALL nuts, but loves the though of maple flavoring added to snickerdoodles! Can I make this recipe successfully without the 1 cup of chopped nuts in the batter? Do I need to increase any of the other ingredients to account for the lack of nuts in the texture of the cookie?
    Thank you for considering my question.

    1. Hi Trish, yes, absolutely! You can leave out the pecans. No other changes necessary.

      1. Thank you for your very quick reply. I will be making them for him today!

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