December 20, 2012

cranberry orange pecan chews

With these Cranberry Orange Pecan Chews, I made it to the 10 finalists for VegNews Holiday Cookie Contest 2012! Unfortunately, I did not win (sad face) but I wanted to share the recipe here on my blog. (I'll try again next year!)

Every bite of these cookies is like eating a cranberry pecan pie. The tart cranberry jam goes perfect together with the orange-flavored cookies. The maple candied pecans give them a nice crunch. Go ahead and indulge. After all, eating a cookie takes less of a commitment than having a slice of pie, right? Happy Holidays!

makes about 20 cookies

cranberry filling 
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
2 tsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp agar powder
pinch of sea salt

maple candied pecans
(Although one batch makes more than what you need for the cookies, I strongly encourage you to double or even triple the recipe! They are great for snacking, makes a good addition in salads, etc.)
1 cup pecans, toasted
1 TBS maple syrup
2 tsp maple sugar 

orange cookie dough 
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup oat flour (OR unbleached white flour)
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup safflower oil
2 TBS brown rice syrup (OR maple syrup)
2 TBS freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp orange extract (optional)
1/8 tsp sea salt 
zest of 2 oranges


Prepare the cranberry filling:
Put brown rice syrup, maple syrup, agar powder and salt in a small pot. Place on medium high flame and let it come to a boil. Add cranberries. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the cranberries become soft and the mixture becomes thick. Set aside to cool. 

Prepare the maple candied pecans:
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and spread on a baking pan lined with parchment paper (or a silicone baking mat). Bake in a 350ºF oven (preheated) for a total of 15 to 20 minutes, mixing occasionally to ensure even baking. Let cool and coarsely chop the pecans.

Prepare the orange cookie dough:
Mix the flour, maple sugar and baking powder in one big bowl. Mix the wet ingredients, salt and orange zest in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is well incorporated. You want dough that is slightly sticky and pliable but definitely not wet. If the dough seems to be too moist, add a little bit of flour.

Form the dough into a ball. Roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into round shapes using a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Place cookies on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Use a 1 inch round cookie cutter (or use the other side of a pastry tip - see below) to cut a hole out of half of the cookies. (Use the little round cookies to make smilely face cookies like in the photo above.)

Take about 2 tsp of the cranberry filling and place it in the center of each cookie. Top it with the cookie with a hole and seal the edges by pressing down. 

Sprinkle chopped candied pecans on top. Bake the cookies at 350ºF for 11 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for 5 minutes or until the cranberry filling becomes bubbly. Remove from oven, cool and serve.

*The strength of agar powder may vary depending on the brand. If your cranberry jam comes out a bit on the loose side, fork the edges when putting the two cookies together so it doesn't bleed.

Looking for gift ideas and like what you see here? How about giving a vegan dessert book that features sweet treats without any refined sugar?


  1. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to try these for Christmas eve.

  2. You are most welcome, Angela. Hope you enjoy 'em. Happy Holidays!