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Best-Ever Turtle Cookies

These thumbprint turtle cookies will become a new family tradition.

Best-Ever Turtle Cookies
Best-Ever Turtle Cookies
This image courtesy of

Turtle candy has to be one of the best chocolate desserts ever. There's something about the combination of gooey caramel, rich chocolate, and crunchy pecans that's just irresistible! We're crazy for that flavor combination, and so it seemed only natural to transform it into a cookie. These easy turtle cookies are everything you love about chocolate and caramel, but they have the crispy, buttery texture of a cookie.

They are absolutely perfect for making around the holidays, although you will probably have to make a second batch right away. They will be gone just that quickly! You can serve these alongside a big glass of milk, a cup of coffee, or, if you're feeling really decadent, a mug of your favorite hot chocolate.

Preparation Time1 hr 30 min

Cooking Time12 min


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For Caramel Filling
  • 1 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 14 soft caramel candies
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Turtle Cookies Recipe

These thumbprint turtle cookies are ideal for your Christmas cookie exchange! They are small enough that you can include 2 cookies in each little package. Wrap in decorative bags and finish with a few extra caramel candies for the perfect festive gift. 

For the Turtle Cookies

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This will take about 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla. Blend one more minute or until well combined. Slowly add in flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  3. Scrape your dough out of the bowl of your mixer and form into a large disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  5. Once dough has chilled, roll it into 1-inch balls and place them on the cookie sheet.

  6. Place egg whites in one small bowl and chopped pecans in another small bowl. Roll each of your balls of dough in the egg whites and then in the pecans, so the pecans stick to the outside of the dough. Return to the cookie sheet, allowing 2 inches between each cookie.

  7. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.

  8. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, or until the centers are set. Remove the cookies from the oven and press down again in the center with the measuring spoon. Prepare the caramel filling.

Caramel Filling

  1. Unwrap the caramel candies and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the heavy cream.

  2. Microwave the caramels and cream, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth.

  3. Fill the "thumbprint" in each cookie with 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel mixture. Let cool on a wire rack.

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