Holiday Cookie Countdown: Turtle Thumbprints

Turtle thumbprints 1_small
Chocolate cookie. Warm caramel center. Crunchy pecan coating. Smooth chocolate drizzle. This, my friends, is cookie nirvana.

A couple of years ago, I did these Salted Caramel Thumbprints (which I still think are the bee’s knees). But about half my readers got really mad/frustrated/annoyed at trying to make their own caramel to pour in the center. I completely understand; I’ve burnt a batch or two of caramel and it sucks.

This year I wanted a thumbprint cookie as well, and there’s nothing I like better in the center than caramel. So, I decided to make it easy on you and take a little help from Mr. Kraft. Or Mr. Werthers. Or Mr. Whoever-The-Heck-Sells-Soft-Caramels-You-Adore. I think you’ll find this version much easier. And coupled with all the other flavors and textures going on, you’ll never miss the homemade caramel.


Holiday Cookie Countdown: Turtle Thumbprints

Holiday Cookie Countdown: Turtle Thumbprints



1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 large egg, separated, plus 1 additional egg white

2 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

Caramel Filling:

14 soft caramel candies (I used Kraft)

3 Tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Drizzle (optional):

2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I used 2 squares of Baker's semi-sweet chocolate)

1 teaspoon butter


Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla; mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

Whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in another bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, and then roll in pecans. Place balls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball. Bake at 350 degrees until set, about 12 minutes.

Caramel Filling: Microwave caramels and cream together in a small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Once cookies are removed from the oven, gently re-press the indentations. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel mixture. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Drizzle (optional): Place chocolate and butter in a small zip-top plastic bag. Set bag in a bowl of warm water to soften. Gently knead the chocolate with your fingers until melted and smooth, placing back in the warm water for a minute or two as needed. Snip a very small hole in the corner of the plastic bag. Drizzle chocolate over the cooled Turtle Cookies.


Makes about 30 cookies.

Adapted from America's Test Kitchen, as shared by Pixelated Crumb

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