Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someoneShare on StumbleUponShare on YummlyPin on Pinterest

I know I’m a nerd when it comes to anything food related, but I look forward to Christmas Cookie Exchanges as much as I look forward to Christmas morning!  My mom has attended one with her friends for years, and it’s a tradition I want to carry on each year with my friends!  Last night a few friends and I hosted our first cookie exchange together!  I love seeing the fun variety of cookies that everyone brings, and I, of course, love taking home a little sample of all of them!  My mom would always come home with a huge tub of different cookies. She’d put them in the freezer so that we could take some out each night throughout the holidays and enjoy them for longer.

I brought these yummy Turtle Thumbprint Cookies to our party last night. If you’ve never heard of them, they’re awesome! It’s basically like a brownie bite with a caramel center, coated in pecans! YUM. They look beautiful and impressive but they’re really easy to make! You can drizzle the tops with melted chocolate, or sprinkle sea salt on top. 

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

Yield: 20 small cookies


  • For the cookies:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • For the Caramel:
  • 2/3 cup Kraft caramel bits (or regular caramels, melted)
  • 1/2 tsp water


  1. Combine flour, cocoa and salt. In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolk, milk and vanilla.  Stir in flour mixture, just until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for one hour.
  2. Whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy.  Place chopped pecans in another shallow bowl. Remove dough from fridge and roll into small balls (however many cookies you want--I made 20 small ones).
  3. Roll each dough ball in the frothy egg whites, and then roll and press in the chopped pecans. Place on a greased baking sheet.  
  4. Use the back of a small measuring spoon to make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.
  5. Bake at 350 Degrees F for about 10-12 minutes, or until set.
  6. As the cookies come out of the oven, gently re-press the indentations with a small spoon.
  8. In a microwavable bowl mix the caramel bits and water. Microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until caramel is melted (1-2 minutes). Pour small spoonfuls of caramel into the indented cookies.  *Optional: Drizzle with melted chocolate (or sprinkle with sea salt)!


Adapted from The Kitchen is My Playground


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someoneShare on StumbleUponShare on YummlyPin on Pinterest


      • says

        Hi Lauren…I made these cookies over the weekend for friends. They completely enjoyed them. However, I do have a question. Do you any tips on how to stop the cookie from spreading so much? I had to reshape them when they came out of the oven and indent them, as suggested, a little before putting the caramel in. GREAT recipe! Thanks…Jada

    • says

      You roll the cookie dough in egg whites, and then roll them in the crushed pecans. Then you bake them. Then you add the caramel sauce at the end, after the cookies are baked!

  1. Natalie says

    I have made these before and they taste great. However, I had a hard time storing them gifting them because you cannot stack them. The caramel sticks to even wax paper. Any ideas or solution to this? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Natalie, Have you tried flash freezing them before storing them? Stick them in the freezer (uncovered) for 15-20 minutes. Then put wax paper in between the layers, cover them and freeze. That should work! To defrost them, take them out of the layers while they’re frozen, and then let them come to room temperature.

  2. says

    I also LOVE cookie exchanges! My friends and I started doing it a few years ago and now fight over how gets to host 🙂 And my husband LOVES turtle-anything so I may just have to make these along with other cookies to give away. Thanks for the idea!

  3. Sandy wiggins says

    Turtle thumbprint cookies, I just baked, are fantastic thanks for sharing recipe. I put them in a cookie tin . How long will they last? Other than the loved ones eating them all up. Will they last a week?, should they be in fridge? Can they be frozen. Just its my first time baking ahead for Christmas , I’m making these for our cousin cookie exchange. Testing them out before hand and they are outstanding!
    Thanking you in advance.
    North of Toronto .

    • says

      Hi Sandy, I would stick them in the freezer on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes (called flash freezing them). Then put them in a container and put wax paper between each layer. Stick them back in the freezer until the day you want to serve them. On the day you want to serve them, take them out of the fridge, unstack them, and let them come to room temperature

  4. Sabrina says

    Hi There,

    I found that my caramel firmed up just a bit too much and difficult to chew or bite into.
    Is there any tips and tricks so get it a bit more softer?

    Thanks so much 🙂

    • says

      Hi Sabrina, it sounds like you cooked it too long. Rather than using a thermometer, the “firm ball” method is the best way to test it and make sure you don’t overcook it

  5. Amanda says

    I just tried this recipe and my cookies are really soft. Are they suppose to be like that. I feel like they are going to fall apart when anyone picks them up to eat.

  6. Melissa Ackermann says

    These were fun to make, beautiful and DELICIOUS! Would love a printable version of this recipe so I can keep it in with my holiday recipes… any chance of that??

  7. Rebecca says

    Does the caramel in these cookies harden/thicken enough after they’ve been set for a little while to stack them on top of each other in a container?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge