Turtle Cookies are a baked, bite size brownie, loaded with pecans covering the outer rim then filled with a creamy caramel center for a total mouth watering holiday cookie! These turtle cookies are always a huge hit and gone in minutes of baking them.
The flavor combination of chocolate, caramel and nuts are amazing in a dessert! If you love the turtle combination try this Rolo Pretzel Turtle Recipe, Turtle Brownie, Turtle Pecan Bars, Frosted Turtle Brownies or Turtle Rice Krispie Treats.
The Christmas cookie baking continues over here at our house.
And I am pretty sure that our neighbors love me by now.
I can’t believe that I haven’t made these cookies before!
Turtle chocolates are my favorite kind of chocolates in the box.
And this cookie did a great job at representing my favorite chocolate!
It is a delicious chocolate cookie.
And I loved the pecan pieces that give the cookie great texture and that extra nutty flavor.
But hello! The best part was definitely when you bite into the delicious cookie and get the chewy caramel center.
These cookies look so pretty once they are baked.
A great cookie recipe to add to the holiday collection!
What is a turtle cookie?
Turtle cookies consist of chocolate, caramel and a nutty, usually pecans, combination.
These delicious flavorings are all made from the classic turtle chocolate candy that is found in candy boxes or during the holidays very popular.
The combination of chocolate and caramel just melts in your mouth being Oh.So. Good!
Then adding a crunchy texture can only enhance these turtle cookies to the next level.
We love how the flavors just blend so well and it is naturally perfect making this a sweet and savory cookie.
Add this turtle cookie recipe to your holiday cookie baking list this season!
What you need to make turtle cookies
- Flour: holds it all together.
- Cocoa powder: making the brownie, chocolate cookie.
- Salt: helps the cookies raise in the oven.
- Butter: thickens and adds a soft touch to the cookies.
- Sugar: add a little sweetness.
- Egg: separated, plus 1 additional egg white will help with the batter.
- Milk: smooth and creamy.
- Vanilla extract: just a hint and adds flavoring.
- Pecans: finely chopped and prepared for adding around the rim of the cookie.
- Caramel candies: unwrapped and melted.
- Heavy cream: rich and creamy to help smooth the caramel candies.
Chocolate Drizzle (optional):
- Semi-sweet chocolate: melted and drizzled over top the cookies.
- Shortening: aids in helping the chocolate become smooth and creamy while warming up.
How to make turtle cookies
- Whisk dry ingredients: In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
- Mix together until fluffy: On high speed in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat together butter and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Mix until incorporated.
- Add in dry ingredients: Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- Prepare and make the cookie dough ball: Whisk egg white in a bowl until frothy. Roll cookie dough into one inch balls. Dip the cookie balls into the egg white and roll in the chopped pecans until outside is coated. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. With a teaspoon make a small indentation in each ball.
- Bake and prepare caramel filling: Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes or until set. While they are baking prepare the caramel filling. Melt the caramel and heavy cream in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until it is fully melted.
- Indent each turtle cookie and fill caramel: Once the cookies are baked, make the indentation again and using a teaspoon fill each indentation with the caramel. If drizzling with chocolate, melt the chocolate and shortening in the microwave, and scoop into a ziplock bag. Barely snip the corner and drizzle over the cookies. Yield 24 cookies
Variations of turtle cookies
- Chocolate: milk chocolate, dark chocolate or even white chocolate are fun ways to add some different flavors of sweetness.
- Nuts: try chopped walnuts, almonds or even macadamia nuts for the outer rim. If you are not a fan of nuts, go ahead and leave them out.
- Caramel: don’t have caramels on hand, try my Homemade Caramels recipe that will give you even better results!
- Extract: switch out vanilla extract for almond extract.
- Salt: add in extra sea salt or course salt for a salty and sweet treat!
Tips on making turtle cookies
- For a quicker turtle cookie recipe: Instead of making your cookies from scratch, you can make this turtle cookie recipe with a chocolate cake mix using 2 eggs and ½ cup of oil. Then simply follow the remainder of the instructions to help you complete your turtle cookies.
- Make an indent: Remember to use a teaspoon size to make a groove in the back of the cookie before you bake and then again after you bake your turtle cookies.
- Refrigerate: For best results refrigerate your dough in-between preparing and baking the turtle cookies. This will harden your dough and help the cookies from flattening in the oven. When butter is too warm, cookies tend to become flat and sometimes dry out if it is not cold. The colder the better!
- Avoid sticking: To avoid a messy turtle cookie, I like to use parchment paper or a lined baking sheet to help them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Storing turtle cookies
- How to store turtle cookies: turtle cookies can be stored in an airtight container or ziplock bag placed at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I would recommend if you are going to layer the cookies, to place a layer of parchment paper in between the layers to avoid the turtle cookies from becoming stuck together. These will last about 1 week at room temperature and about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Can you make turtle cookies ahead of time? Yes, these are great cookies to make ahead of time and can be stored at room temperature, in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Can you freeze turtle cookie dough? Yes! This is a great idea to get ahead of your holiday baking schedule. Simply make your turtle cookie dough and roll into balls then place on a baking sheet. Freeze these balls on the baking sheet for about 1 hour. This will harden them and help them from not sticking together. One the dough is completely frozen, place your turtle cookie dough balls in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. When you are ready to bake, simply bake from frozen and continue on with the recipe. Add a few minutes longer to your baking time since they are frozen.
- Can you freeze turtle cookies? Yes, this is a great way to make several and store them for Christmas time. Follow the recipe and bake your turtle cookies. Once they are cooled completely place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. If you are layering your turtle cookies, it is best to add a layer of parchment paper or foil wrap to avoid them from sticking together. When ready to share your turtle cookies, simply take them out and thaw at room temperature. Enjoy!
Here are more cookies recipes to try
- Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
- Cinnamon Roll Cookies
- Chocolate Peppermint Dipped Shortbread Cookies
- Snow Kiss Cookies (Snowball Cookies)
- Triple Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg separated, plus 1 additional egg white
- 2 Tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup pecans finely chopped
- 14 soft caramel candies
- 3 Tablespoon heavy cream
Chocolate Drizzle (optional):
- 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 teaspoon shortening
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
- On high speed in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat together butter and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- Whisk egg white in a bowl until frothy. Roll cookie dough into one inch balls. Dip the cookie balls into the egg white and roll in the chopped pecans until outside is coated. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. With a teaspoon make a small indentation in each ball.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes or until set. While they are baking prepare the caramel filling. Melt the caramel and heavy cream in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until it is fully melted.
- Once the cookies are baked, make the indentation again and using a teaspoon fill each indentation with the caramel. If drizzling with chocolate, melt the chocolate and shortening in the microwave, and scoop into a ziplock bag. Barely snip the corner and drizzle over the cookies. Yield 24 cookies
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
Your turtle cookies look amazing!! Can we make these a couple of weeks ahead and freeze them?
I can’t wait to make these!
can the turtle cookies be frozen for storage
Yes, I usually will bake them all up then refrigerate them laying flat on the baking sheet until they get firm. Next I put them in zip lock bags and freeze them for however long you need. Hope that helps! XOXO
Made a double batch of these for a X-mas party. For one half instead of pecans, I used coconut. Coconut ones were fantastic.
It’s funny– I’m a Pastry Chef, and something about that egg yolk/egg white bit totally confused me as well! Especially in doubling the recipe. I also realized that I never saw the milk ingredient until tonight– and I’ve made them twice! What does the milk do?
HAs anyone froze them? Before you did the caramel or after?
Made these yesterday, per request of my grand-daughter and let me just say they are amazing
ok never mind, reread the recipe and it calls for 1 yolk and two whites, so the one yolk goes in and whites stay out for sticking nuts
Amazing cookies. I made them and was worried because my dough was soooo sticky, but i refrigerated them as the recipe stated, then rolled them with the pecans and baked them, came out awesome. my kids did not even wait for the caramel and chocolate drizzle. I was still confused about the egg part even after reading the comment here. Asks for 1 egg yolk and 1 whole egg. so do two yolks go in and the whites stay for the outside? or just one yolk goes in. anyway, when i made it the first time i made it with one yolk and turned out fine, so i would rather stick to that as my son is allergic to eggs and the one yolk did not bother him. so hurrah for this recipe. Usually my cookies spread out on the sheet to make one big cookie, so i have not been a successful baker, this is my first success and i am sticking to it.
I was wondering, can I freeze the cookie dough and for how long? Thank you
Can I freeze these? They are amazing, may be my new favorite
Has anyone tried freezing these? Do they freeze well?
Great recipe! The cookies turned out beautiful and delicious. The chilled dough helps keep the mess to a minimum. Will make again. 🙂
Salted or unsalted butter?
I just made these and they are fabulous, recipe is perfect as is! I don’t need them for a few days though, do they freeze well? I don’t want to ruin them by putting them in the freezer if they won’t hold up well.
Did you freeze them? If so, how did that work out?
Made a double batch for our Christmas bake sale at work. They were a huge hit and were all gone in no time at all. The only thing I didn’t Include was the shortening in the drizzle. I just melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and it worked just fine. Would highly recommend this recipe.
can the turtle cookies be frozen ?
The original recipe comes from the Great American Brand Name Cookbook: “Choco-caramel delights”
Why can’t I pin this recipe? My printer is not working.
Thank you for recipe. These cookies are delicious, very tasty. I used my own caramel sauce for the filling and it turned out just perfect. Will do them again for Christmas.
Would rolling the cookies in sugar instead of the egg whites work as well?
The egg whites help the nuts to stick to the cookies. 🙂