To everyone who loves the turtle flavor combination of chocolate, pecans, and caramel, this Turtle Thumbprint Cookies recipe was made for YOU!
These cookies are the ultimate turtle treat and are crunchy, gooey, and rich without being cloyingly sweet. I’m so excited that Christmas cookie baking season is in full swing. What are your favorite cookies to bake during this time of the year?
These Turtle Thumbprint Cookies are a total crowd pleaser. Everyone loves this recipe!
If you take a peek down at the recipe directions, you may notice they are a tad more involved than your average cookie recipe. To achieve that scrumptious array of turtle tastes and textures a little bit of work is involved. Don’t worry! It’s nothing difficult by any means but do plan on spending a little more time on this recipe.
It’s completely worth it, promise! I mean, how mouthwatering does that gooey caramel pull look?!
More Christmas Cookie Recipes:
Be sure to check out my Christmas Headquarters page for more holiday baking recipes! 🎄
This post was originally published in 2013 and recently updated with new photos, weight measurements, and other recipe improvements. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.
For the Cookies:
- 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, separated
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (127 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (28 grams) cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (113 grams) 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 (85 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil or shortening
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 350°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.
Adapted from Favorite Brand Names: Gifts from the Christmas Kitchen via Dawn's Recipes