When I saw this cookie in the last issue of Cook’s Country, I couldn’t wait to try it.

It looks like a perfect Christmas cookie but let me tell you, this cookie is so delicious, I want to make them every day of the week, regardless of the season!

Albeit a little messy from the chopped pecans, these are fantastic and were a huge hit when I made them last week for a group of friends. Not only are they stunning in appearance, but their intense chocolate flavor combined with the smooth caramel will speak for themselves!

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Note: The original recipe says it will make 2 dozen cookies, but I DOUBLED the recipe, and still only ended up with about 28 cookies (and I promise I didn’t eat that much of the batter).


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, chopped fine
  • 14 soft caramel candies
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. Refrigerate dough until firm, at least 1 hour.
  2. Whisk egg white(s) in another bowl until frothy. Place pecans in another bowl. One at a time, roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using teaspoon measure, make indentation in center of each ball. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.
  3. Meanwhile, microwave caramels and cream in bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Once cookies are removed from oven, gently press existing indentations with teaspoon measure. Fill each with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon caramel mixture. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Country

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51 Responses to Chocolate Turtle Cookies

  1. Nancy says:

    This is my 2nd year making this cookie. They were a big hit last year on the holiday cookie platter. My tip (learned from last year’s bit of messiness) is to put only a small amount of the pecans in a bowl at a time to roll the cookies in. The egg white gets the pecans wet, which led to clumps of wet nuts.

  2. Camille says:

    I know these are turtle cookies, but have you ever tried making them with almonds or another kind of nut if you’re allergic to pecans?

  3. Michael says:

    As always these cookies are amazing. I decided to add in some cocoa nibs to the pecans and can’t say it was a bad idea!

  4. Kelli says:

    Mel- These cookies look incredible. I’m quite obsessed with your dulce de leche recipe. How do you think that would be as the filling for these cookies? Thank you.

  5. Jennifer Kelly says:

    I was wondering if I used your homemade caramel recipe how much would I need? I love these cookies and ate way to many last year!

  6. Lien says:

    We made these tonight, and we love them! I doubled the entire recipe and got 54 perfectly sized cookies. I had leftover caramel so I just took care of that with a couple apple slices. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  7. Sheila says:

    I just made these cookies. Wow . . . so delicious!! They will look so impressive on the Christmas buffet table. Thank you!

  8. Sarah says:

    I made these yesterday – so yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I added a sprinkle of fluer de sal on top of the caramel which made them even more delightful. 🙂

  9. Deb says:

    Made these tonight and they were great! Super combo of favors and textures. I doubled the recipe (not the egg whites or caramel) and got 36 cookies. Need to find somewhere to take them so I don’t eat them all myself.

  10. Val says:

    TIP when I doubled the recipe, I was able to get 6 doz at 1 inch size dough balls; also 2 egg whites were plenty and 20 caramels for a doubled recipe. Didnt have heavy cream but regular milk worked. Also substituted pecans with almonds and turned out beautifully.
    These freeze very well and are actually tasty right out of the freezer!!

  11. Laura says:

    1) Double the recipe but don’t double the ingredients for the caramel filling. Also, just bake one batch at a time on one tray at a time. Don’t mess with the two trays switcheroo thing.
    2) When it’s time to add the flour, switch to the flat beater attachment. The whisk-like attachment doesn’t mix the VERY THICK batter very well.
    3) If you like a cookie with a salty finish, add more salt… there’s not enough (in my opinion) in the recipe. Maybe use salted butter?
    4) The doubled recipe makes 24 cookies formed from 1.25-1.5 inch doughballs.
    5) I used dark cocoa.
    6) These are very rich and not as sweet as they look, which is perfect. They would be great with ice cream.

  12. Mel, these cookies are incredible! I love coconut so knew I had to try this recipe. I just baked a batch and am so excited at how delicious and perfect they are! Thank you! I can always count on your for amazing recipes.

  13. […] are our newest favorites once we tried them last year ~ Chocolate Turtle Cookies. I mean they are the favorites for those of us who love nuts which means Wizzy and Scary Baby […]

  14. Colleen says:

    These look amazing! I wonder if mine would turn out as pretty-looking?!

  15. Melissa says:

    These cookies are my new-found favorite! I saw them on your blog first then went to Cook’s Country and read their tips and reviews, love them! Perfect for the holidays.

  16. Amanda says:

    I just made these cookies last night. They were everything I imagined they’d be! This recipe is a keeper! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Maria says:

    What pretty cookies. I love the pool of caramel in the middle. Well done!

  18. Marisa says:

    Yum!!!! These look absolutely amazing. I am such a sucker for anything with caramel in it. I’ll definitely be trying these!?!

  19. annieseats says:

    Oh my gosh, these look awesome!!! Gorgeous, and surely delicious – I’m trying these for sure!

  20. Melanie says:

    Michele – Ok, you are officially the professional for these cookies now. 168! I can’t believe it and wouldn’t blame you for never wanting to make them again! I hope the cookie exchange went well and hopefully everyone raved about your cookies!

  21. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – I haven’t frozen these cookies myself, but if I were to do it, I would freeze the baked chocolate cookies and then fill with caramel after thawing (but I wouldn’t freeze with the caramel already on the cookies).

  22. Melanie says:

    Michele – that is a ton of cookies to make! I’m very impressed. And thanks for sharing the tip on dipping the tops in pecans!

  23. grace says:

    how glorious! no, a cookie as decadent as this shouldn’t be reserved for christmas. it’s like a rolo in cookie form, with the added bonus of pecans. heaven help me. 🙂

  24. Jocelyn says:

    These look fabulous. I’d rather use homemade caramel. Any suggestions for a good, all-purpose recipe?

  25. Para i familiaku says:

    Oh my! These are so decadent! Thank you so much for sharing! I am definately looking forward to making them this weekend! YUMMY..

  26. Katie says:

    WOW! Those look super amazing! I’m starring to make for the holidays for SURE!

  27. Garrison Family says:

    anything named turtle always grabs my attention… I’ll be making these ASAP.

  28. Melanie says:

    Skinner – I’m glad you liked the recipe. I’m wondering if you found a way to make the pecans less of a mess to eat – either way, I’m really glad you made them and liked them!

  29. Melanie says:

    Annemarie – I don’t agree! I saw your blog post and your cookies looked awesome. Thanks for letting me know they were a hit!

  30. Tasty Trends says:

    those look delicious! they turned out perfect!

  31. Mariann says:

    Where do you get a silpat liner?

  32. Leslie says:

    oh YES..I am soooo making these!

  33. Melanie says:

    Jenn – yes, that is exactly what it means. I think I used the Kraft brand, but any soft square caramel would work (usually in the candy aisle at the store).

  34. Annemarie says:

    These cookies were a HIT! My cookies didn’t turn out as pretty as yours…but they were wonderful!

  35. Melanie says:

    Jocelyn – here is a great recipe for an all-purpose caramel recipe that comes well-recommended by Leigh Anne from yourhomebasedmom.com. She used it for caramel apples but it would work great in this recipe, too, I think. The only tip I would suggest is to scale it WAY back or you’ll end up with a lot of extra caramel (although you could always just pour the extra into a pan and make homemade caramels). 2 C brown sugar1 C corn syrup1/2 C butter 1 can sweetened condensed milkCombine the first 3 ingredients. After butter is melted stir in the milk. Cook to soft ball stage (230 degrees). Stir constantly. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat.

  36. Melanie says:

    Jenn – What a great idea to make treats for a charity – thanks for sharing that! I’m glad that you enjoyed these cookies…

  37. Emily says:

    Oh Yum!!! I am so ready to start baking for Christmas! This cookie has all the bells and whistles . . chocolate, pecans, caramel . . . yeah sounds like a little piece of heaven!

  38. RecipeGirl says:

    Ah, the holiday baking begins! I’ll start closer to Thanksgiving (but then I won’t be able to stop!!)These look really, really good. I was actually looking at a little caramel filled cookie just yesterday!

  39. Jenn says:

    When it says, “soft caramel candies” does that mean the square, Brach’s kind?

  40. Erin says:

    WOW. These look heaven sent. Divine. Oh, my mouth is watering…

  41. PheMom says:

    These are perfect, perfect I tell you! I know I will have to make these soon too! Yum! Chocolate, caramel and pecans are my favorite combination!

  42. Jenn says:

    Made these the other day too. We really enjoyed them! Hope the charity I made them for enjoy them too!

  43. Bennie says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe for such tempting < HREF="http://www.couponalbum.com/category/food.htm" REL="nofollow">cookies<>.

  44. Michele says:

    I actually miss counted. One quadrupled batch made 84 cookies. So altogether I made 168 of these cookies. The cookie exchange is tonight so I’m hoping that everyone loves them. My kitchen was trashed, I think I’m still finding pecans, lol.

  45. Michele says:

    I started making these cookies last night. YUM!!! But really messy with the chopped pecans. Then about 10:00 pm I discovered I didn’t have enough pecans so I tried just dipping the tops in the pecans and spraying my cookie sheets. It worked out great, they taste exactly the same and a little less messy. I quadrupled the recipe and got 72 cookies. I still have to make 5 dozen more for a cookie exchange. I think everyone will love them!!!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Can you freeze these cookies? (Wishful thinking on my part. I’m sure they will be gone the day I make them!)

  47. Sophie says:

    I’ll have to make these for the holidays. They’re so elegant and I love the name! Definitely brings the taste of those turtle chocolate to mind!

  48. Erin says:

    These look delicious! I love anything with caramel.

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