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Turtle Cookies

Turtle cookies have everything you want in a decadent holiday cookie. They’re crunchy, nutty, chocolaty, sweet and salty, soft and chewy, and completely addicting!

turtle cookies on counter
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Easy Pecan Turtle Cookies

These amazing chocolate turtle cookies are going to become one of your favorite cookie recipes if you love classic chocolate turtles as much as we do. They are very similar, however, these are less of a caramel and chocolate nut cluster and more of a chocolate cookie.

They’ve got crunchy pecans, chewy caramel, and melted chocolate surrounding a rich chocolate cookie. And that sprinkling of sea salt? Insert chef’s kiss here!

Serve these on any Christmas dessert board or cookie tray for the holidays and make sure to make lots because they freeze well for later on. There are a few components to this recipe but each one is super simple!

pouring caramel onto cookie

Baking Tips

  • Softened butter. Bring your butter to room temperature at least 30 minutes before you begin. It’s much easier to cream butter when it’s soft.
  • Unsweetened cocoa. This cookie dough recipe uses unsweetened cocoa to be able to control the amount of added sugar.
  • Chill the dough. Do not skip the chill time of the dough. It is needed to help solidify the ingredients before going into the oven so that the cookies do not bake and spread too quickly. You want thick, soft cookies.
  • Size of cookie balls. Using a cookie scoop will help ensure all cookies are the same size. This helps with even baking.
  • Indentation. A teaspoon is a perfect size for making an indentation in the cookie dough ball. Some people use a thumb, but I find it easiest to use a measuring spoon.

Melting Chocolate

Check out this post for helpful tips on how to melt chocolate. Including the best chocolate to use for melting, both stovetop and microwave methods, and delicious ways to use it.

Ingredient Swaps

  • Swap brown sugar for granulated sugar for a slight variation in flavor.
  • This Christmas cookie recipe is sweet, but if you love a decadent cookie, try using candied pecans instead.
  • Use a homemade caramel filling rather than melting soft caramel candies or caramel bits.
  • Skip the chocolate drizzle and keep them plain if desired, or add a sprinkle of toasted coconut on top. Yum!

A Simple Twist!

Instead of creating an indent, leave the flatten the pecan-coated balls as you would a regular cookie, bake them, and then drizzle with caramel and chocolate. Same great taste, slightly different look!

turtle cookies on counter

Make Ahead Turtle Cookies

Make the cookie dough balls the day before and keep them chilled until you’re ready to bake.

Storing & Freezing

Any leftover cookies (yeah, right) can stay at room temperature for up to 4 days. Make sure they’re kept in an airtight container with a lid.

Once completely cooled, these cookies freeze well for up to 2 months. To prevent clumping and sticking together, separate layers of cookies with parchment paper.

close up of turtle cookie

More Delicious Desserts:

close up of turtle cookie

Turtle Cookies

5 from 5 votes
Turtle cookies have everything you want in a decadent holiday cookie. They're crunchy, nutty, chocolaty, sweet and salty, soft and chewy, and completely addicting!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Refrigerate: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 16

Ingredients 

Cookies

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Topping

Instructions

  • Beat the butter with an electric mixer for 1 minute until smooth and creamy. Then mix in the sugar until creamy. Next add the egg yolk, milk and vanilla.
    image
  • Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Mix just until combined. Then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
    chocolate cookie dough wrapped in plastic
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chopped pecans in a shallow bowl. Then whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until frothy.
    egg whites in bowl
  • Use a medium cookie scoop or roll the dough into 16 balls. Dip each dough ball into the egg white and then roll in the pecans. Gently press the pecans in along the sides and then place on the lined baking sheet. Use a teaspoon to make an indention in the center of each ball.
    pressing spoon into chocolate cookie
  • Bake for 10 minutes, or just until set. The top should still look a little soft. Allow to set on the pan for a couple minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
    turtle cookies on pan
  • Melt the caramel and cream in a microwave safe bowl at 50% power for 30 seconds. Stir and cook an additional 30 seconds or until melted.
  • Pour small spoonfuls into the tops of each cookie. Be careful not to over fill.
    pouring caramel onto cookie
  • Place the chocolate chips in a zip top bag. Then place in a bowl with warm water until melted and smooth. Then snip the corner of the bag and drizzle the chocolate over the top of the cookies.
    turtle cookies on counter

Notes

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Jamielyn Nye

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