Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

Yield: about 24 cookies

Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes

This Turtle Thumbprint Cookie recipe features a cocoa cookie rolled in pecans, filled with a salted caramel thumbprint, and drizzled with chocolate.

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies are mouthwatering with a cocoa cookie rolled in pecans, salted caramel, and chocolate drizzle!

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: There’s a reason that turtle flavored treats are so popular! That combination of pecans, caramel, and chocolate is heavenly.
Texture: The cookie is rich and soft, the pecans are crunchy, and the caramel is thick and gooey.
Ease: Definitely not as quick and simple as regular drop cookies, but these are well worth the extra hands-on effort!
Appearance: Adorable. These Turtle Thumbprint Cookies would make a great holiday gift.
Pros: Delicious and fun cookies.
Cons: A little messy and requires hands-on time.
Would I make this again? Yes.

Turtle Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

To everyone who loves the turtle flavor combination of chocolate, pecans, and caramel, this recipe was made for YOU! These cookies are the ultimate turtle treat and are crunchy, gooey, and rich without being cloyingly sweet. Now that it is officially December cookie season is in full swing. What are your favorite cookies to bake during this time of the year?

Turtle Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

If you take a peek down at the recipe directions, you may notice they are a touch longer than your average cookie recipe. That is because in order to have a scrumptious array of turtle tastes and textures, a little bit of work is involved. Don’t worry, it’s nothing difficult by any means, it’s just a bit more involved and takes a little longer.

Turtle Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

Turtle Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

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Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

Yield about 24 cookies     adjust servings
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes Total Time 1 hr 30 mins

This Turtle Thumbprint Cookie recipe features a cocoa cookie rolled in pecans, filled with a salted caramel thumbprint, and drizzled with chocolate.


For the Cookies

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped

For the Caramel Thumbprint

  • 16 unwrapped caramel squares
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • Fleur de sel, or other flaked sea salt, for sprinkling, optional

For the Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil or shortening


  1. For the cookies:
    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until well combined and fluffy. Add in the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla extract. Reserve the egg white in a separate container, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake.

    In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat just until combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight, or until the dough is chilled and firm.

    Preheat the oven to 350Β°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

    Lightly beat the reserved egg white. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Dip each ball in the egg white, then roll in the pecans, pressing lightly to coat well. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly press down the center of each ball with your thumb.

    Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until set. Set the baking sheet on a cooling rack and let cool until just warm.

    For the caramel:
    While the cookies are baking, combine the caramel squares and cream in a small saucepan set over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth.

    When the cookies are warm, press down the center of each cookie again with your thumb or the opposite end of a wooden spatula. Spoon about a 1/2 teaspoon of caramel into each thumbprint. Sprinkle the caramel with Fleur de sel to taste. Let cool completely.

    For the chocolate drizzle:
    In a small heat-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and oil in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Remove the chocolate to a small zip-top baggie and cut a small hole in one corner. Pipe the chocolate over the cookies. Let the chocolate set before serving or storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Recipe Notes

About Tessa...

Tessa is a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. She loves to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. She's on a mission to make the world a more unapologetically DELICIOUS place. Tessa lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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15 Responses to “Turtle Thumbprint Cookies”

  1. #
    Diane @ Vintage Zest — December 2, 2013 at 10:48 am

    This looks wonderful! I have only made thumbprint cookies filled with jam/jelly, like the ones I just posted a week ago. I LOOOOVE salted caramel and the chocolate drizzle seems interesting with coconut oil. I have only used coconut oil in a few different recipes, so I’d love to try this!

    P.S. – Here is my thumbprint cookie recipe if you’re interested. πŸ™‚

  2. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — December 2, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    I love everything about these adorable cookies Tessa! My mom loves chocolate turtles and she would be thrilled to have a cookie like this this Christmas. Sending her the recipe!

  3. #
    Gaby — December 3, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I could eat at least 6 of these without blinking an eye. Delicious!

  4. #
    Laura — December 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Need to make these cookies yesterday!!

  5. #
    Sandy — December 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    These were called Choco-Caramel Delights in a Hershey’s cookbook a loonnnnng time ago. I have been making them for years and everyone LOVES them.

  6. #
    Lindsey — December 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    This recipe looks AMAZING and I cannot wait to make them! My only question is, could I use salted butter instead of unsalted?
    Thank you!

    • #
      Tessa — December 18, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Sure, just omit the salt in the cookie part of the recipe.

  7. #
    Kristin — December 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    What kind of cocoa powder did you use? I have Hershey’s special dark, but will that be too bitter? Should I buy regular?

  8. #
    Sarah — December 29, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    I just made these and they are to die for. I now have a new favorite cookie recipe!

  9. #
    martha — February 12, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    pretzels Rollo’s and pecans are easier and quicker recipe is on the back of the Rollo’s

  10. #
    Mimosa — August 3, 2014 at 3:57 am

    I made these today, my parents and sister where surprised that these cookies didnt actually contain a turtle nor that they did not resemble a turtle. The cookie part is nice and dense like a rich chocolate brownie, taking the left overs to school tomorrow for my friends!

    • #
      Tessa — August 3, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Haha! I think I’d be more surprised if the cookies DID contain turtle! Glad you enjoyed, hope your friends do too πŸ™‚

  11. #
    Kristy @ Chocolate Slopes — November 21, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I’ll be adding these to my Christmas baking list this yea. Especially since turtles are my husband’s favorite!

  12. #
    Helen — December 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I looovvve Turtles! Surely going to try these – don’t know if I can squeeze it in for Christmas – so much baking, crocheting, so little time. Going to try for sure though, some time soon. Tk u for sharing yr recipe. Can’t wait!

  13. #
    Rosie Diehl — June 3, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Can u make Carmel sauce instead of Carmel squares?
    Will it work as well?

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