These soft and chewy turtle cookies are the perfect combination of cookie and candy. With chewy caramel, crunchy pecans, and rich chocolate all layered on top of a soft sugar cookie, they get better with each bite
These cookies are one of my favorites to bring to a gathering or bring to a cookie exchange. They are always a hit! One bite and you’ll know why.
- Indulgent: These cookies have all the flavors and textures of your favorite turtle candies, but served on top of a soft sugar cookie instead!
- Easy: A basic sugar cookie dough is all it takes before you melt and layer on all the toppings. You don’t even have to chill the dough!
- Make ahead winner: These cookies stay soft for days and also freeze beautifully for an easy, but impressive dessert another time.
Grab a few items in the candy aisle and you’re on your way to turtle cookie heaven. For exact recipe amounts, scroll down to the recipe card.
- Salted Butter: If you use un-salted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the cookie batter.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is best for this cookie dough, but you can use light brown sugar.
- Egg White: Skip the yolk!
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- Caramel Squares: I used Kraft caramel squares, but these are also delicious with soft and chewy caramels. If you want to go homemade, make a batch of my soft rum caramels, but don’t add the rum extract.
- Pecans: You will need both chopped pecans and whole pecans. You can try other nuts as well. See my variations below in the tips section.
- Chocolate Chips: I use semi-sweet, but milk or dark chocolate would be great as well.
These cookies look complicated, but are really simple to make. Just a few steps and you’ll be licking the spatula while they chill. For full recipe instructions, scroll to down the recipe card.
- Dough: Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the flour and baking powder.
- Form: Roll out the cookie dough and cut into circles. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake: Pop the cookies into the oven for about 8 minutes at 350°F.
- Caramel: Once you’ve unwrapped all the caramel, melt them in the microwave. When it’s drizzly, top your cooled cookies with caramel and a sprinkle of the chopped pecans.
- Chocolate: Once the caramel is slightly cooled, melt the chocolate and add a dot on top of the caramel. Immediately press a whole pecan into the top of the chocolate.
- Enjoy: Serve immediately, or transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely and store at room temperature for later!
Tips For Success
Here are a few tips and variations you can try:
- Prep: While your cookies bake, get your caramel ready by unwrapping the caramels. It’s a great task for kiddos to help with!
- Chill: Though you shouldn’t have any issues with spreading, you can refrigerate the dough up to 24 hours if you’d like.
- Rise: These cookies don’t rise much at all, so the thickness you roll out, is how thick they’ll stay.
- Go Slow: Melting chocolate and caramel may feel tricky. It’s best to melt over a double boiler or use a microwave on 50% power. Microwave in short bursts and stir well in between. This helps distribute the heat and prevents the candies from burning.
- Nuts: You can change up the pecans to walnuts, almonds, or even peanuts.
- Salted Caramel: You can even add a flake or two of large flaky sea salt for a salted caramel twist.
Once cooled, store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.
- Counter: Store in an airtight container with a slice of white bread to keep them soft. Replace the piece of bread every few days or when it feels stale.
- Freezer: I recommend wrapping each individual cookie with plastic wrap to ensure they do not get freezer burn. Then place the cookies in an airtight container and freeze for up to six months. Be sure to defrost them fully at room temperature before biting into it!
- ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg white
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 36 caramel squares, unwrapped
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 2 cups chocolate chips, milk, semi sweet, or dark
- 24 whole pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside
- In a stand mixer, or hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the egg white and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
- Add in the flour and baking powder, mixing until well combined. This will create a soft dough.
- Lightly flour a counter top or large hard surface. Roll the dough out until 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. (Cookies will not rise while baking. However thick they are cut is how thick the finished cookie will be.)
- Use a 2-inch to 2.5-inch round cookie cutter to cut out circles. Transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving a little room between each cookie for spreading.
- Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, on the middle rack, until edges are set and cookies are no longer glossy. (Cookies will not be browned and will set up as they cool.)
- Allow cookies to rest on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once cookies are cool, microwave the caramels and milk in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until smooth and creamy.
- Carefully spoon a few teaspoons of caramel onto the top of each cookie, spreading until it almost covers the cookie. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the caramel layer.
- Microwave the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until smooth and melted.
- Spread a small amount of chocolate onto the top of each cookie (over the caramel/pecan layer). Press a whole pecan into the top of the chocolate on top of each cookie.
- Let the chocolate layer cool and set up before serving.
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