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Bear Paw Cookies (Butter Pecan Cake Mix Cookies)

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Bear paw cookies are made with a butter pecan cake mix and chopped pecans for added texture. These soft and chewy cookies are topped with a sweet maple frosting and adorned with chocolate candy melts and chocolate chips for the paw print!

bear paw cookies with chocolate chip prints.

Butter Pecan Cake Mix Cookies

Using cake mix to make soft and chewy cookies are one of baking’s best-kept secrets!

Cake mix gives the cookies a slightly cake-like texture and replaces a few traditional ingredients like sugar and flour making it a 5 ingredient cookie recipe.

I’ve done it with these red velvet M&M cake mix cookies and fudge marble cake mix cookies and so, I knew these bear claw cookies would be foolproof too!

I use a butter pecan cake mix, but since it doesn’t actually have any butter pecan in it, I like to add a bit more pecan for crunchy texture.

The sweet maple topping pairs so well with the flavors of the pecan which is the ultimate combination, especially during the fall and winter months.

Then, to top it off, pieces of chocolate are made to look like paw prints.

They couldn’t be easier or more fun to make, and they are an adorable addition to any cookie tray!

stack of butter pecan bear paw cookie broken in half.

Why you’ll love these Bear Paw Cookies 🐾

Presentation – These super cute bear claws are so much fun for the kids to eat! Adults too, who am I kidding?! They’d be super impressive on a tray for a cookie exchange.

Flavorful – The sweet pecan cookie, maple frosting, plus the chocolate on top is everything you want in a delicious cookie.

Easy and fun – The cookie dough comes together in one bowl, the homemade icing is super easy, then it’s just a matter of chilling, scooping, and baking.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Mixing Bowls – I love these with the grippy bottoms.
  • Hand Mixer – I opt for a hand mixer more often than my stand mixer, but either works. You could even just stir these with a silicone spatula if you don’t want to get out an electric mixer.
  • Cookie Scoop – I have a variety of sizes of cookie scoops. They make the easiest, most uniform cookie dough balls. In this batch, I used a size 50, which holds just over 1 tablespoon of dough.
  • Baking Sheets – I like to use a lipped baking sheet so no dough balls roll off and hit the floor. For the best results, line the pans with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Ingredients

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.

Cookie Dough

  • Butter Pecan Cake Mix – If you have your own homemade cookie recipe you love, use it instead! You can also choose to use a different flavor of cake mix. Chocolate would be amazing too.
  • Baking Powder – A leavening agent that helps give these cookies a lift making them nice and thick.
  • Eggs – A binding agent that holds the bear paw cookies together. Keep them at room temperature so that all ingredients start at the same temperature for even baking.
  • Unsalted Butter – Melt the butter after you measure your butter. When using melted butter in a recipe pay attention to how it’s written. If it says “melted butter” it means to measure the butter once it’s been melted. When it says “butter, melted” it means to measure the butter and then melt it.
  • Pecans – Roughly chopped pecans or pecan chips are an optional addition I like to add for more texture. You can leave them out if you’d like.

Maple Frosting

  • Unsalted Butter – Use room temperature butter that’s nice and soft and will cream easily.
  • Powdered Sugar – Used for sweetness without leaving behind any gritty bits that granulated sugar might leave behind. Also known as confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar, it also helps to stabilize and thicken the frosting.
  • Cornstarch – This is a great optional ingredient to use to thicken the frosting without adding any more sugar.
  • Dark Brown Sugar – Delivers sweetness with a deeper caramelized flavor that pairs well with maple.
  • Maple Syrup – Puts the maple in the maple frosting! You can swap this for maple extract if you have it.
  • Vanilla – Pure vanilla extract is a warm flavor enhancer that tastes amazing in baked goods. Try and avoid the artificial vanilla extract as it doesn’t have the same taste.
  • Salt – Brings out the flavors in the frosting.

Decorations

  • Decorations – Chocolate candy wafers and chocolate chips.
overhead shot of labeled ingredients laid out to make cake butter pecan cookies.

How to make Bear Paw Cookies

  1. Step One: In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix and baking powder. Then, add the melted butter and eggs and beat on low speed using a hand mixer until fully incorporated and a soft dough forms. Last, fold in the chopped pecans.
  2. Step Two: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough for 30 minutes. This is optional, but recommended to help keep the cookies from spreading too much.
  3. Step Three: Use a medium cookie scoop to spoon approximately 1.5 Tablespoon of dough onto the prepared baking sheets a few inches apart. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 8-10 minutes until the tops are just set. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan completely before decorating.
collage of 5 photos showing the process of making butter pecan cookie dough.
  1. Step Four: While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting by first beating the butter in a large mixing bowl until smooth and creamy. Then, add the powdered sugar and cornstarch a little at a time and mix until combined. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and mix until well incorporated and easily spreadable.
collage of 4 photos showing maple frosting being made.
  1. Step Five: Once the bear paw cookies have completely cooled, spread a Tablespoon of frosting over each one, then place a single candy melt onto the center of the cookie. Then, add three chocolate chips on top.
collage of 4 photos showing the decorating of cookies into bear paws.

What to serve with Bear Paw Cookies

These are the kind of cookie you want to enjoy with an ice cold glass of milk!

If you’re looking for other soft and chewy cookies to add to your baking tray, you’ll want to check out chewy brownie M&M cookies, cosmic brownie cookies, and peanut butter blossoms. Bear paw cookies will be in great company!

If you want more pecan options, try my Butter Pecan Bundt Cake, No Bake Pecan Praline Cookies, Baked Brie with Pecans & Honey, or simply Candied Pecans.

Tips & Substitutions 🐾

  • You can use a mixing bowl and electric mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to mix the cookie dough, however, you want to just fold in the pecans. That way you’re not overmixing the dough.
  • These bear paw cookies are soft so allowing them to cool right on the baking sheet means they won’t fall apart by transferring them anywhere.
  • Any cake mix flavor can be used but make sure it’s 15.25 oz.
  • Swap the chocolate chips with little hazelnuts!
  • If you don’t have butter, use equal amounts of vegetable oil.
  • For a reverse cookie, use a chocolate cake mix and white chocolate chips, and candy wafers. Serve them both on a platter!

How to store Bear Paw Cookies

How to store leftovers

Store these Butter Pecan Cake Mix Cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

I find them best eaten the same day you bake them.

Can I make the dough ahead of time?

Yes, you can premake the dough up to two days ahead of time and bake them when you need them. This leads to the freshest cookies.

Can I freeze cake mix cookies?

You can! Freeze the cookies for up to 3 months in a freezer container or zip-top bag. Thaw on the counter and enjoy a cookie or two whenever you want!

overhead shot of bear paw cookies on a wire rack.

FAQs

Can I use a different type of nut?

Swap out any nut you like or omit it entirely. You can even swap it with chocolate chips if you want!

Do I have to chill the dough?

Technically you don’t have to. When using melted butter, cookies tend to spread further.

Chilling them allows the butter to solidify again so that when the bear paw cookies are baking, it takes more time to melt, therefore reducing spreading. It’s up to you and how much extra time you have.

Can I make them without frosting?

You can make these cookies with or without the frosting. If you’re making them without the frosting, add the chocolate for the paw onto the cookies just out of the oven while they are still soft.

Need more cake mix dessert recipes? Try these:

Double Chocolate Cake Mix Chewy Bars

Easy Reese’s Pieces Cookies

Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookie Bars

Click here for my entire collection of dessert recipes.

bear paw cookies with chocolate chip paws.

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bear paw cookies with chocolate chip prints.

Bear Paw Cookies

Melissa Williams
Bear paw cookies are made with a butter pecan cake mix and chopped pecans for added texture. These soft and chewy cookies are topped with a sweet maple frosting and adorned with chocolate candy melts and chocolate chips for the paw print!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Chill Time 30 mins
Total Time 48 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 22 cookies
Calories 686 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the cookies

  • 15.25 ounce butter pecan cake mix I used Betty Crocker
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • cup unsalted butter melted
  • ½ cup pecans roughly chopped

For the frosting

  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch optional to thicken frosting without making it sweeter
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt

To decorate

  • 22 dark chocolate candy melts
  • 66 semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions
 

To make the cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cake mix and baking powder.
  • Add the melted butter and eggs and beat on low with a hand mixer until fully incorporated.
  • Fold in the chopped pecans.
  • Cover and chill the dough for 30 minutes. This step is optional but will help reduce spreading.
  • Use a small cookie scoop or a spoon to drop approximately 1 ½ tablespoon sized balls onto the baking sheets. Space them a few inches apart to leave room for the cookies to spread.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the tops are just set. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan completely before decorating.

To make the frosting

  • As the cookies bake, prepare the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the powdered sugar and cornstarch a little at a time and mix until combined.
  • Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and mix until well incorporated. It should be smooth and easily spreadable.

To decorate

  • Once the cookies have cooled, use a small icing spatula to frost about 1 tablespoon of frosting onto each cookie.
  • Place one candy melt and 3 chocolate chips on top of each cookie to make bear paws.

Notes

You can add another tablespoon of cornstarch if you prefer a thicker frosting without adding more sweetness.
Any cake mix flavor can be used as long as it is the 15.25 ounce size.
Vegetable oil can be used in place of butter.
The butter pecan cake mix doesn’t actually have butter pecan in it so I like to add a little bit for some texture. Swap out to any nut you like or omit it entirely. You can even swap it with chocolate chips if you want!

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 686kcalCarbohydrates: 72gProtein: 7gFat: 42gSaturated Fat: 24gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 174mgPotassium: 566mgFiber: 7gSugar: 50gVitamin A: 283IUVitamin C: 0.02mgCalcium: 128mgIron: 6mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  1. Laura says

    5 stars
    These are the best cookies I have ever made. Everyone loves them and asks for the recipe. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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