12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Turtle Cookies

My wife and I had a disagreement after I published my toffee square recipe last week. She said that because the toffee squares had no flour, they couldn’t be considered cookies, and wasn’t I doing a feature called the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies? (For the curious folk, formal definitions of “cookie” say nothing about using flour.)

Nevertheless, I liked her challenge. I wanted to do a recipe that incorporated the elements of a chocolate turtle – namely, caramel, pecans and chocolate. I wondered how I could best incorporate those three ingredients into a proper cookie.

I started with a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe but stripped out the chocolate. I baked those cookies, then formed a small indentation to pour melted caramel. I melted chocolate to smear over the cookie, then topped everything with half a pecan.

I was really pleased with my results, especially the hidden caramel surprise. These cookies look like fancy chocolate cookies, but they have a special treat. There is no question this is a labor-intensive cookie. You have to melt caramel squares and melt chocolate, then carefully spoon and spread the melted ingredients on the cookies. Despite the extra work, I think there is considerable reward. These cookies look beautiful, and are perfect for giving away or bringing to a cookie exchange.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 48 caramel squares (about one bag)
  • 2 tablespoons light cream
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Step 1. Prepare and bake the cookies. Set the oven to 375 degrees F. Beat together the butter and sugars, then add the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet until well integrated. Use two small spoons to scoop spoonfuls onto two cookie sheets. Bake 12 cookies to a sheet, for 10 minutes.

Step 2. Immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven, form small indentations in the center of each cookie with the back of a spoon. This is where the caramel will go.


Step 3.  While the cookies are cooling, prepare the caramel. Start adding caramel candies to a small saucepan over medium heat. I think it’s best to do the caramel step in two stages, 24 cookies and 24 caramel candies at a time, because the caramel cools quickly and it’s easier to deal with smaller batches. Once you’ve added all the caramel candies, add the tablespoon of cream. This will keep the caramel a bit softer when it hardens in the cookies. Stir constantly to break up the candies. It helps to have a non-stick saucepan.

Step 4. When the caramels have melted and the mixture is hot and thin (but not bubbling), take it off the stove and spoon into the cookie indentations.



Step 5. Melt the 2 cups of chocolate chips in another saucepan. This you can do all in one batch because the chocolate takes much longer to cool. Pour a spoonful of melted chocolate onto each cookie (enough to cover each caramel center). Then use a knife to spread the chocolate around the cookie, like icing. Finally, stick a pecan half on each cookie.

Step 6. Pop the finished cookies in the fridge for 15 minutes to speed the chocolate hardening. Then serve and enjoy!




  • Robert

    This is brilliant, creative, and sounds delicious. I hope someone reads this post and brings me a gift of these.

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