Auntie Crae’s Plantation Chews

Posted on Jun 24 2012 - 10:55am by Barry C. Parsons

Auntie Crae’s Plantation Chews – soft, chewy, crispy, nutty, caramel-y delicious! These flourless cookies are also easy to make gluten free!

Auntie Crae's Plantation Chews

Auntie Crae’s Plantation Chews

These Plantation Chews look quite innocent, don’t they? They look very plain and uninteresting just sitting there on the plate. Trust me, they are anything but plain and uninteresting; they are, in a word, amazing.

This is probably my favorite cookie of all time. I have loved them ever since that first crispy, chewy, caramel-y bite decades ago at Auntie Crae’s Bakery in Churchill Square. The owner, Janet Kelly, later moved the store to Water Street here in St. John’s but sadly for so many folks, closed the business upon her retirement in 2010.

Auntie Crae's Plantation Chews

Plantation Chews ready for the oven.

Fast forward to last week when a reader emailed me asking if I had a copy of the recipe for Plantation Chews which she had heard was being given out freely in the final days of the bakery’s operation. Excited at the prospect of being able to make batches of my favorite cookie at home, I posed the question on our Facebook page and within minutes, it seemed, the recipe was in my inbox! Spouse whipped up this batch a couple of days later and they were perfect; exactly as I remember them as created by the very capable bakers at Auntie Crae’s. I think I ate 6 in the first hour! I don’t ever remember being so happy to receive any recipe. You just have to try these.

The recipe below is exactly as I received it but I have successfully used butter instead of margarine, which I never use in baking. I often use pecans instead of walnuts too. I’ve also made a gluten free version simply by substituting gluten- free corn flakes. Since there’s no flour in the recipe anyway this is a very easy way to make cookies that simply EVERYONE will love!

Auntie Crae's Plantation Chews

Auntie Crae’s Plantation Chews

Auntie Crae’s Plantation Chews
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These flourless cookies look quite innocent but they are anything but! Crunchy and chewy at the same time with an irresistible caramel flavour. It is impossible to eat just one.
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: Makes 2½ to 3 dozen
  • ½ cup margarine
  • 2 ¼ cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups cornflakes, NOT crushed
  • 1 ¼ cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 ½ cups walnut crumbs
  1. Cream margarine and sugar until very fluffy.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  3. Add dry ingredients and beat on high speed in mixer for 12 - 14 minutes. Scrape bowl often.
  4. Scoop out cookies (a little smaller than a ping pong ball) and place on cookie sheet that is either Teflon coated or lined with parchment paper. Parchment (silicone) paper is your best choice. Do not grease pan.
  5. Flatten cookies with finger tips that are slightly moistened. The moisture will prevent your fingers from sticking to dough as you flatten the cookie dough.
  6. Bake at about 350 F for 6 minutes. Rotate pan (front to back) to distribute heat and then bake a further 6 minutes. Remove from oven and leave on pan until stiff enough to handle. They will be very soft when they first come out of the oven.
  7. You may need to alter the baking time and temperature of your oven if you do not get a satisfactory result. No two ovens bake the same, even if you have clones.
I have used salted butter successfully in place of the margarine.
A gluten free version is possible if you use gluten free corn flakes.
Finely ground pecans instead of walnuts are also excellent in this recipe.



34 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Barbara June 24, 2012 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Thank you for posting this recipe! They were always my favourite cookie from Auntie Crae’s, although DH preferred the snowballs. Now if you get that recipe, my hubbie would be in cookie heaven!

  2. Barry C. Parsons June 24, 2012 at 11:40 am - Reply

    I always liked my Grandmothers snowballs better, Barbara. Find the recipe here:

  3. Anonymous June 24, 2012 at 11:40 am - Reply

    What is Walnut crumbs?

  4. Awww too bad I don’t like coconut

  5. Anonymous June 28, 2012 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    It says to beat on high speed for 12-14 min. Is that a typo?

  6. Serene June 30, 2012 at 1:59 am - Reply

    I’m intrigued by this; but we x get sweetened flaked coconut here. Omit, sub with something else or can we use desiccated coconut?

  7. Denise June 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Barry, can these be made with butter, as well as margarine?

  8. Anonymous July 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Where do you get the sweetened coconut flakes? I have only seen shredded coconut. I appreciate your time! Thank you!

    Best Wishes,
    ~ Candy

  9. Paradise reader November 25, 2012 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this, Barry. You are absolutely right about how deceptively plain they look – my fav Auntie Crae cookie. I’ve only had the commercial recipe (they kindly gave it to me when I asked for the recipe many years ago), where all the ingredients are by weight and makes a zillion cookies. Thanks for this more manageable version 🙂

    • Mona December 9, 2016 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Paradise reader,
      If you don’t mind me asking, would you be willing to share the recipe in weight?

      • Barry C. Parsons December 14, 2016 at 4:21 pm - Reply

        You can convert any recipe easily with an online conversion.

  10. Beverly January 19, 2013 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    I’m surprised… No flour? Wow

  11. Anonymous May 14, 2013 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    I had never had these cookies before, until I tried this recipe. It has been a hit with our family and friends. I love these cookies, thanks for posting the recipe

  12. ruch June 20, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply

    can i use powdered almonds/almond meal instead of walnut crumbs?

  13. Anonymous November 16, 2013 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    How many cookies does this recipe make? Do you think I could freeze the dough balls to bake in future(only two of us here)? Also, I saw walnut crumbs at bulk store and they are not the same as ground – they are finely chopped. Thanks.

  14. Barry C. Parsons November 25, 2013 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    This makes quite a large batch. About 4 dozen I think. I’ve never frozen the dough so I can’t answer that question.

  15. Renee January 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Barry, Barry, Barry……just made these awesome cookies. I must say, I was skeptical about the and margarine becoming “fluffy” simply because of the racial. I decided to behave and follow directions. Well “THAT” paid off. Then I was skeptical about the beating time….again I was pleasantly surprised, but the pay off was the delicious cookie (the batter was insane too 🙂
    Just one question. Mine is a little flat and still quite soft even after they cooled. Should they be like that? I’m not complaining, just wanna make sure I do this recipe justice. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  16. Barry C. Parsons January 28, 2014 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    They really should look more like the photo and not wafer thin, Renee. I’d suggest to chill the cookie dough. What kind of margarine did you use?

  17. Renee January 28, 2014 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    I used Imperial margarine. They are still very good and chewy. Hence the name I guess 🙂

  18. Barry C. Parsons January 28, 2014 at 11:40 pm - Reply

    Is that soft tub margarine? That would be a problem. You NEVER bake with tub margarine. It contains way too much water.

  19. Sarah Moore February 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Excellent recipe, just like I remembered them. Came out just like the picture. Thanks so much for including them on your blog!

  20. medina May 31, 2014 at 3:32 am - Reply

    paradise reader could u post your recipe in weight?

  21. Barry C. Parsons May 31, 2014 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    You live in Paradise, NL? Sorry I’ve never done the weight conversions but there are sites that do that if you search for them I’m sure.

  22. Lesley July 18, 2014 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    If I could find ya, I’d kiss ya!!! I love these cookies more than life itself – thank you, thank you, a million times, thank you!

    • Barry C. Parsons July 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      Ah shucks! You sound almost as happy as I did to find this recipe. I ate countless numbers of them from Auntie Crae’s when it was open. Say hi to the crowd at the Registrar’s Office at MUN of you’re down there. It’s my old stompin’ grounds.

  23. Maidre October 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    Can I omit nuts and substitute with something else? I’d love to make these nut-free as well as gluten-free.

    • Barry C. Parsons October 27, 2014 at 9:29 am - Reply

      I’ve never tried it but you could try substituting additional gluten free corn flakes.

  24. linda November 24, 2015 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    It appears that 1 1/3 cute crumbs equals 4 cups uncrushed.

    Appears that they become crumbs as they process for 12+ minutes. have you tried with cornflake crumbs?

Leave A Response

Rate this recipe: