Turtle Cookies made with a buttery shortbread cookie, rich caramel and smooth chocolate, then topped with a crunchy pecan are an easy and impressive dessert.
We all have that one favorite chocolate candy in the box, right? Unlike coconut (shudders) or the weird one with the creamy filling that you aren’t entirely sure what flavor it’s supposed to be, most everyone can get behind with the one with caramel and pecans. It’s the first one I go for.
Turn your favorite turtle candy into your new favorite Turtle Cookies with this easy recipe.
Why are they called turtles?
Let’s get this out of the way first, right? Turtles are a candy made with pecans and caramel dipped in chocolate, with a shape resembling a turtle. Depending on who you ask, you may get a different variation of a turtle cookie.
For some, it is more of a thumbprint cookie– a chocolate cookie rolled in nuts with caramel in the center. For some, it is a chocolate cookie with the caramel and nuts mixed in. I even saw some that resembled chocolate chip cookies with caramel and pecans added in.
This is the version of Turtle Cookies I prefer: a buttery shortbread cookie topped with melted caramel and chocolate, finished with a crunchy pecan and a sprinkling of sea salt.
How to Make Turtle Cookies
I found it worked best to spread the caramel on with a knife and a use a spoon to drop the chocolate on. It only takes a small amount of caramel because it will spread some. The chocolate stays in a little mound until you smush it down with a pecan. The beauty is in the imperfections.
The only logical step after that is to give the entire Turtle Cookie a generous sprinkling of flaky sea salt. Sea salt and caramel are a match made in Heaven, see my Salted Caramel Blondies should you need any further proof!
I use this Easy Shortbread Cookies recipe as the base for these Turtle Cookies. Here are a few tips when making the shortbread:
- Use a Pastry Blender to cut in the butter. Trust me, it’s so much easier than trying to do it with a fork.
- The mixture will look very crumbly and you will think there’s no way it is going to roll into a smooth dough. It will. I recommend using your hands for this step because the heat from your hands will help to melt the butter and combine the dough.
- Be careful not to overwork the dough. You want it to be combined but slightly crumby.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup caramel bits
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 36 pecan halves
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour and powdered sugar.
- Use a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
- Gently knead into a ball. (Using your hands works best and will help to melt the butter. The mixture will seem really crumbly at first. Keep working it.)
- Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Cut into desired shapes. Roll the dough out again until it has all been used.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Cool for five minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
- Once the cookies have cooled, melt the caramel in a microwave safe dish in 30 second intervals at 50% power until smooth.
- Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe dish in 30 second intervals at 50% power until smooth.
- Allow the caramel to cool slightly. Use a knife to spread the melted caramel on top of each cookie.
- Use a spoon to add a generous dollop of melted chocolate on each cookie.
- Top each cookie with a pecan halve, pressing it down into the chocolate.
- Sprinkle the cookies with flaky sea salt.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week or freeze for up to three months.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 87Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 16mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g