Leftover Pie Crust Cookies

I’m elbow-deep in pie crust for my annual pie party. I’ve already frozen 10 all-butter crusts and two sweet orange crusts. Today I’ll be making four savory crusts for the butternut squash and pomegranate free-form tart. I take great pride in my flaky, soft butter crusts. Thank goodness I’ve learned how to freeze them so I don’t have to make all 20+ crusts on the day of the party!

Making crusts really is easy, but it does take experience to get a perfect result. The ingredients are basic, it’s how you handle them that makes all the difference. I make crusts using very cold, almost frozen, butter, and ice water. I work it as little as possible in the processor to form a ball. It’s exactly the right temperature to roll right then. Many books advise letting the dough chill before rolling. Don’t.

I pat the dough into a flattened ball. I roll it out 1/4 inch thick. I prefer to roll on a flour-dusted surface, not between parchment as is often recommended. But, I have a light touch and my crusts don’t dry out fro the addition of too much flour. If you’re new to pie-making, you might want to roll between  parchment. I then use a large pie plate as a template and cut the crust into a perfect circle. I put the circles between sheets of parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Wrap the whole thing in layers of plastic wrap, label and freeze. When I need a crust, I take it out of the freezer and let it sit at room temperature until it becomes flexible – about 10 minutes. Then the crust is ready to use.

Crusts become tough when overworked. After I cut that perfect circle I have scraps of dough. Good, expensive, butter-dough. I could save them and make one more crust, but, rolling it again will ruin that perfect pie crust texture. What to do? I make pie crust cookies. I form the scraps into a ball and roll it out, this time in something like a rectangle. Then, I dust with sugar and cinnamon. Then I put a single-layer of something, pecans, or chocolate chips, or chopped apples – whatever I have leftover from pie baking, on the dough (leaving the edges empty.) Roll it up. Slice it like you would a sugar cookie log. It’ll look like rugelach. Place on a non-stick baking sheet (I always use parchment paper.) Bake in a 375 degree oven until lightly browning on the edges.

A baker’s well-deserved treat!

These are pecan pie-crust cookies.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

(Just a reminder that if you haven’t yet seen my Goat Notes, to go to my Etsy.com store!)


  1. I LOVE reading about your pie party- thanks for sharing again!
    I always use the leftover crust as well, but never thought to slice it- duh- so much easier to eat!

    I’d love to hear the story behind a collection of pie plates that large…

    • The pie plates have accrued over the years. This year I did an inventory to make sure that I had the right plates for the planned pies. I still needed to buy two more ceramic (I ended up getting two Le Crueset in last years colors, at half price!) I use clear pyrex for the pies that require shells baked in advance. The glass makes for the most even browning, and I can see exactly when they’re done. I like the heavy ceramic plates for fruit pies that I freeze before baking. They can go from freezer to oven (bake low, at 350 and the plate won’t crack.) I use my vintage plates for the meringues and everything in between. Oh, and I have a half-dozen metal tart tins with the removable bottoms, essential for certain recipes.

  2. Umm, I must have missed your email asking for my shipping address for the cookies (rugelach by any other name…).
    How can you eat this and stay so thin?

    • Rugelach would have cream cheese in the crust!
      Hylla, I have a poached egg on toast every morning. That really cuts back on snacking later! I also don’t like sweetened coffee, so no Starbucks high-calorie drinks for me. Nor soda, sweetened or diet. I love veggies – but not drenched in butter and cheese. I don’t eat out a lot. And I run up and down the stairs in my house a lot :)

  3. I received the notecards in the mail and all I can say is WOW! the cards look realy good on a computer screen, but in person they are FABULOUS! All you readers, get yourself over to Etsy and get some! Thanks again, Terry!

  4. Oh my goodness! How yummy for the tummy can you get??!!?? Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Hope everyone has one of the greatest Thanksgiving ever. God bless.

  5. Terry – Do you have a convection oven ? Double ovens ? Just wondering how you bake so many pies…..looks delish ! Wish I lived up near Boston ! Yummy.

    • I do have convection ovens, but I don’t use them for baking. The blowing air dries out the crusts. I bake on the center rack, and yes, it can take all day (several days, really.) I DO use the self-clean option!

  6. Thanks for the mini baking lesson with the different pie plates. While I am known for my fruit pies, I did not know to use the glass plate for the prebaked shell- makes sense.

    Thought I would let you know- we have SNOW out here in the Willamette Valley in Oregon- quite unusual for us, but very pretty!

  7. A friend has been researching pie crusts, and told me that toughness is caused by gluten chains, which form when the dough is worked too much, but that chilling for 4 hours makes the chains dissipate, and you can then rework the dough (briefly), and it won’t be tough. Do you find this so? I haven’t tried it, I’m just learning about the science of pastry dough!

    I’ve been wondering about freezing…if the chilling works, can you roll out the dough, freeze it, and have it work? That sounds too easy, but I’m wondering about the science!

    • Yes, the gluten chains form from over-working. Vinegar in the crust gives you a wider margin for error, which is why you see some recipes with that ingredient. An egg yolk will add softness -also making it easier for the novice. I have taken dough scraps and made another crust – but if you roll out on a floured surface (not between parchment) can get too dry. You have to have a light touch and know by feel whether the dough is still right. It takes practice, but it’s fun practice :)