This is, hands down, the most delicious and addictive cookie I have ever created! And by gawd it better be, given that it has been at least 2 years in the works! But consider this a warning... you will not be able to stop eating them (even if you freeze them)!
Butter tarts are amazing not only because they taste soooo good, but because they symbolize Christmas, are quintessentially Canadian and are a classic Canadian treat. I also happen to love anything that vaguely resembles a butter tart, but there really isn't much out there as far as butter tart flavor goes. You've got your basic butter tarts, your butter tart squares and really, that's about it. As far as I'm concerned, that's not nearly enough butter tart options. And that's precisely why I created these Butter Tart cookies. I needed butter tarts in the form of a cookie. They are popular during the holidays but great any time of the year!
Sometimes recipe creation is nothing other than a labor of love.
Nailed it! The creation of this cookie was a very long process. I was able to get the butter tart cookies to taste pretty good at one point, but they still looked hideous. There were times when I wanted to throw in the towel, but instead, I just walked away for a while and focused on other recipes. I have made a lot of batches of these guys, experimenting with different amounts of ingredients (fats, leaveners etc), pre-cooking the filling, then filling the cookie before baking, then filling the cookie partway through the baking process and finally filling it afterwards. And after many trials, I believe I finally nailed it!
I grew up with my Grandma's butter tart recipe and I needed an easy butter tart filling for this butter tart stuffed cookie, so I adapted the filling from her Best Butter tarts recipe and it is perfect! In fact, I love these classic butter tarts so much that I basically wrote and Ode to the Butter Tart and baking in my story: Comfort & Baked Expectations.
For this recipe, you'll need:
- white sugar
- ground pecans
- baking powder
- brown sugar
- whipping cream (heavy cream)
💭To chill or not to chill cookie dough
HEADS UP: There is chilling time involved in this recipe, so you need to budget for it. But if you find you are asking yourself, "Do I really need to chill cookie dough?" "What's the worst that could happen?" Well, I'm here to tell you that, "yes, you do need to chill" or your cookies will spread way too much and they won't be nearly as good or as nice looking. I know this because I am impatient and I tried it. That's also my job as a recipe tester.
So I am pretty sure you will want to budget that extra hour. However, if you're still on the fence and need more convincing, read this article: To chill or not to chill - that is the question!
If you are looking for an interesting cookie for your holiday baking tray, these butter tart thumbprint cookies are the perfect addition.
📖 Variations & Substitutions
- Raisins: If you are not a fan of raisin butter tarts, you can easily substitute pecans.
- Ground pecans: You can substitute ground almonds for ground pecans.
- Leftover butter tart filling: use you leftover butter tart filling to make these cookies!
- Brown sugar - you can use dark brown sugar or light brown sugar for this recipe
You'll need a baking sheet for these butter tart cookies. You will also need and electric hand mixer or stand mixer, mixing bowls, spoons and a whisk.
👪 Serving Size
This butter tart cookie recipe makes 30 cookies. However, you can half, double or triple the recipe by clicking on the blue serving number and selecting the number of servings you'd like. The ingredient quantities will automatically adjust. You will need additional cookie sheet pans if you are doubling or tripling the recipe.
Refrigeration: These cookies have a gooey filling, so I do NOT recommend stacking them when you store them. However, if you need to, make sure you use parchment paper between the layers. You can store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezing: These cookies will freeze well for up to 3 months in an airtight freezer container.
Out of my pure love for butter tarts, I also created Butter Tart Ice Cream, Butter Tart Cupcakes, and these Butter Tart Waffles. (shown below). If you love these cookies, you'll love these other butter tart recipes too!
⭐ COMMENTS & REVIEWS
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📋 Thumbprint Butter Tart Cookies
Cookie dough ingredients:
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup butter
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup ground pecans * if you cannot find ground pecans, just use chopped pecans and grind them in the food processor
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 ½ cups flour
Butter tart filling ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter + 1 tsp
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoon whipping cream (heavy cream)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon raisins *pecans can be substituted -finely chopped
Butter tart Filling:
- In small pot on stove top, add vanilla and whipping cream, heat, then add butter.
- In a medium bowl, combine egg, and brown sugar.
- Add egg mixture to warm cream mixture and simmer on low, then add vinegar and cornstarch. Add raisins here.
- Keep whisking until thickened on med-low heat for about 10-15 minutes. It should be the consistency of gravy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. After 10 minutes, refrigerate.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray.
- In large bowl, with an electric mixer on low speed, cream butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs and mix well,
- In a separate mixing bowl, add flour, ground pecan and baking powder together. Mix with spoon until it becomes to stiff to continue using a spoon, then add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and use your hands to mix the dough together until it's completely incorporated.
- Cover and chill dough for 1 hour
- Roll dough into 1 " (approximately) balls. If the dough feels sticky, make sure you have some flour nearby to flour your hands as needed.
- Press thumb into center of ball to make a pit.
- Press outside edges of cookie with a floured fork, as you would around the edge of a pie.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on the bottom
- As soon as the cookies are out of the oven, use your thumb or the bottom of a teaspoon to reinforce indent in cookie.
- Fill indent with about ½ teaspoon of cooled butter tart filling.
- Continue to cool on rack for 5 minutes
- Store in fridge for 10 days or freeze for up to 4 months