Browned Butter Pecan Thumbprints with Rum Frosting Recipe

Browned Butter Pecan Thumbprints with Rum Frosting

Makes 4 dozen

2021 Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest Winner

Submitted by Bette S.

These cookies offer a trifecta of fabulous flavors: browned butter, toasted pecans, and sweet rum. Browning the butter takes a little time, but it’s totally worth it! See all five 2021 Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest Winners.


  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 48 pecan halves
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp rum extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • For icing:
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp milk or cream
  • 1 tsp rum extract


  1. Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Allow it to melt, stirring occasionally, until it bubbles, the foam disappears, and the milk solids begin to turn amber and the butter turns gold. The butter should be very fragrant. Remove pan from heat and let butter cool at room temperature until it becomes semi-solid.
  2. Position oven racks in the upper and middle third positions. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Place pecan halves on one of the lined baking sheets and toast in preheated oven for 5-8 minutes or until fragrant. Increase oven temperature to 375° F.
  4. Place 1/4 cup browned butter in a medium mixing bowl and set aside. Scrape remaining butter, including bits of milk solids, into a large mixing bowl. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, rum extract, vanilla extract, and kosher salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Fold in flour and chopped pecans, mixing until a stiff but malleable dough forms.
  5. Remove toasted pecans to a plate and set aside. Roll portions of dough into 1-inch balls and place them 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Use your knuckle or the end of a wooden spoon to tamp an indentation in the center of each ball of dough.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies have golden-brown edges, rotating pans halfway through the baking time if they are browning unevenly. Allow cookies to cool on the pans.
  7. While cookies are baking, make icing. Add powdered sugar to reserved browned butter. Add a tablespoon of milk and rum extract. Stir until smooth, adding additional milk as needed to make a soft icing that isn’t runny.
  8. When cookies have cooled, fill each indentation with a half teaspoon of icing and then top with a toasted pecan half.


Amount Per Serving (based on 4 dozen servings)
Calories: 120
Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 15 mg
Sodium: 20 mg
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Fiber: 1 g
Sugar: 7 g
Protein: 1 g
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