You heard right! Delicious bourbon caramel pear cookies with a totally healthy twist. Rebekah Pizana  and Carlene Thomas  have pulled out all the stops to transform your every day baked good into a guilt-free treat. Captured by Yvonne Rock, there’s more right here!

From Carlene Thomas… I think it’s safe to say that we’re all looking for impressive but easy treats to offer to guests who drop by. Spicy gingerbread is a winter favorite, so pastry chef Rebekah Pizana and registered dietitian nutritionist Carlene Thomas created a healthier version that was light on calories, but not on flavor. By using in-season pears, a pear sauce was used to replace most of the fat in the recipe, but also added a new layer of sweetness to the cookie. Rolled in walnuts and filled with a warm aromatic bourbon infused caramel, these thumbprint cookies are a cinch to pull together with these components at the ready.

Healthy Bourbon Caramel Pear CookiesA healthier version of a classic treat
prep time
15 Minute/s
cook time
30 Minute/s
total time
45 Minute/s
Serves 0Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pear sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • walnuts, chopped
  • pears (to fill large stock pot)
  • sugar (less than 1/4 C for a large stock pot)
  • salt (1 pinch per large stock pot)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (or 8 oz. coconut oil)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Few pinches of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 2 TB Grade A, Medium Amber Maple Syrup
  • 2 TB Catoctin Creek Rye Whisky
  2. Cream butter and brown sugar until well combined and sandy in color. Add 1 egg and mix. Add pear sauce and molasses and mix to combine. Add flour, baking soda, and spices to the dough and mix.
  3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill overnight. Remove from the freezer and use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop dough.
  4. Roll each ball in the palm of your hand to create a ball. Roll in chopped walnuts to coat and place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and use your finger or the end of a spoon to create an indented center. Once cooled, fill with caramel sauce.
  7. Wash all pears and quarter without peeling. Remove core from the quartered pears and place in a large stock pot. Fill the pot roughly 1/2 full with water after the pears are added.
  8. Cover the pot with a lid and cook on medium-high until pears are very soft. You will be able to mash with a wooden spoon. Remove from the stove and mill. Once the pears have been milled, add sugar, and salt to taste.
  9. Store in clean, food safe jars or tupperware and freeze.
  11. Use raw cane sugar or granulated sugar for a lighter color and taste, and substitute cane syrup for the maple if you prefer.
  12. Place all ingredients in a deep pot on medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir frequently. Allow to bubble for approximately five minutes. Try not to cook it any longer or it will get harder as it cools.
  13. Remove from heat and allow it to cool for 10-20 minutes. Pour in whisky and stir until smooth. If you want to make this a few hours before serving, simply heat over low and stir until smooth again.

Photography: Yvonne Rock | Food Styling & Recipe: Carlene Thomas RD, LD | Food Styling & Recipe: Rebekah Pizana | Winery: Greenhill Winery and Vineyard