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Georgia O’Keeffe’s Pecan Butterballs

This vintage recipe relies on honey and a generous portion of butter.

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Georgia O'Keeffe's Pecan Butterballs

A good cookie recipe can see you through a variety of occasions, from parties to holidays, to times when you just crave a really good sweet treat. There are no shortage of cookie recipes out there, but it’s always nice when one of them has an interesting story. Well, these pecan butterballs not only taste divine, but the recipe comes from the recipe box of one of the most famous female painters in history: Georgia O’Keeffe.

Georgia O'Keeffe's Pecan Butterballs

This recipe was among a trove of her prized cookbooks and recipes that was originally intended to be auctioned off at Sotheby’s. But, at the last minute they were instead procured for the Beinecke Library at Yale University. Among the recipes were recipe pamphlets and recipes cards scrawled in O’Keeffe’s own hand. She was known for liking her meals to be just so, but also for perusing cookbooks before bed to get inspiration.

Georgia O'Keeffe photographed in front of one of her paintings
Via/ Wiki Commons

And, these pecan butterball cookies -coming from a person so discerning about their food as she was- don’t disappoint. The texture and appearance of these cookies is similar to Mexican wedding cake cookies or Russian tea cake cookies. But, these pecan butterballs have the benefit of honey- which really brings out the flavor of the butter in these cookies in a wonderful way.

Georgia O'Keeffe's Pecan Butterballs

To start this recipe you’ll need to first sift together the flour and salt. In a separate bowl combine the softened butter with the honey and vanilla. Then add in the flour to wet ingredients a little at a time. Finally fold in the chopped pecans.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart from each other on a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Georgia O'Keeffe's Pecan Butterballs

When they come of the oven, you’ll need to give them about 5 minutes in order to cool enough to handle. Then while the cookies are still warm, roll them in a bowl of powdered sugar as the final touch.

Georgia O'Keeffe's Pecan Butterballs

These cookies taste heavenly, with the wonderful combination of honey, butter, and pecans and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. You can’t go wrong with a recipe like one!

Yield(s): Makes 20-24 cookies

25m prep time

45m cook time

45m inactive

Rated 4.6 out of 5
Rated by 195 reviewers

Allergens: Gluten

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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups finely-chopped pecans
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 300˚F. In a medium bowl sift together flour and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl combine butter, honey, and vanilla. Add flour mixture into wet ingredients a little at a time and stir until fully incorporated. Fold in pecans.
  3. Form into 1” balls and place on greased or lined cookie sheet about 2 “ apart from each other. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  4. Add powdered sugar to a small bowl. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes and then roll each one in powdered sugar.

Recipe adapted from Open Culture.