Turtle cookies are the best Christmas cookies. The recipe uses a chocolate cookie dough, crushed pecans and gooey caramel making each bite taste like the candy!
Cookie season (aka the holiday season) will be here before you know it! I’m getting a jumpstart on my baking and made thumbprint caramel cookies.
Have you ever had the turtle candies? They’re basically caramel, chocolate and pecans arranged to look like little turtles—super cute and really yummy.
So imagine those candies in cookie form. Delicious, right? Chewy chocolate thumbprint cookies rolled in crushed pecans and filled with gooey caramel.
Biting into one of these turtle cookies immediately makes you think of the candies. It has a slightly chewier texture (after all it is a cookie), but all the same flavors.
The actual chocolate cookie is easy to make. Combine the ingredients in a stand mixer and chill the dough for an hour (this step makes the cookies extra chewy!)
Roll the chilled dough into balls and dip the ball into egg white. This will help the crushed pecans adhere to the dough. Once the dough is covered in egg white, roll it in the pecans.
Once the dough ball is covered in pecans, place it on the cookie sheet and use the back of a teaspoon (or your thumb) to make an indentation in the center. That’s where the caramel is going to go!
The cookies will bake quickly (around 12 minutes) and when they come out of the oven you’ll most likely have to make the indentation deeper.
This time don’t use your thumb (the cookies are hot, guys, don’t be dumb). I suggest the teaspoon method this time around.
From there, the rest of the recipe is garnish. Caramel filling, chocolate drizzle, you get the gist.
While these cookies may require a few extra steps than the typical holiday cookies, they are totally worth it.
Seriously though, there’s not a doubt in my mind that these cookies will be a crowd pleaser at your Christmas parties. They have all the textures and flavors of a good cookie.
Chewy chocolate, gooey caramel and crunchy pecans—what more could you want in a cookie?!
So get ready for the holidays and add these cookies to your baking list. I’m definitely making them again come Christmas!
Tools you need to make turtle cookies:
Thumbprint Turtle Cookies
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (40 g) cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113 g or 1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup (133 g) granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup (150 g) pecans, finely chopped*
- 14 soft caramel candies I used Kraft caramels
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Chocolate Drizzle (optional):
- 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon shortening
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.
- With a stand mixer (or hand mixer), beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until combined, one more minute. Scrape down sides of the bowl if necessary. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture until just combined.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
- Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350° F. Lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place egg whites in one small bowl and chopped pecans in a separate small bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, and then roll in pecans. Place balls about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.
- Bake until set, about 12 minutes. Once cookies are removed from the oven, gently re-press the indentations. Prepare caramel filling immediately.
- Place unwrapped caramels and cream in a bowl. Microwave together, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Transfer cookies to a wire rack and fill each cookie indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel mixture (it's okay if the cookies are still warm).
Chocolate Drizzle (optional)
- Place chocolate and shortening in a small bowl. Microwave together, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer melted chocolate to a ziplock bag. Snip a very small hole in the corner of the plastic bag. Drizzle chocolate over the cooled turtle cookies.
Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.